Home > What is Product Design? and other FAQs

What is Product Design? and other FAQs

What Is Design?

Design is the art or action of producing a plan or drawing to show the look, function and workings of an object before it is made.

What is Product Design?

Product design is the process of efficient and effective idea generation and development with the goal of creating new products. Product design includes all the engineering and industrial design work that goes into developing a product from the initial concept to production, which ensures that it works reliably, is cost effective to manufacture and looks good.

What is Product Development?

Also called new product management, product development is the conceptualisation, design, development and marketing of newly created or newly rebranded goods.

Why is Product Design important?

The role of design is to create a marketable product from an innovation. Design is often the deciding factor in the success of a product. Many customers make purchasing decisions based primarily on product design, because good product design ensures quality, appearance, performance, ease of use, and reliability. Product design enables product differentiation and clearly communicates the function of the product to the user. Product design effects the maintenance and running costs and cost of production through the choice of materials and assembly methods (Design for Manufacture). It is vital for businesses to provide creative and innovative product design.

What is the Product Development Life Cycle?

New product development is a huge part of any manufacturing process. All products have a limited lifespan, because technology and fashion changes. New products need to be continuously developed to replace them. Thousands of new products go on sale every year, and manufacturers invest time, effort and money to make sure that their new products will be a success.

What is meant by the term Product Life Cycle?

Product life cycle (PLC) is the cycle through which every product goes through from introduction to withdrawal or eventual demise. These stages are:
1) Introduction: When the product is brought into the market, with heavy marketing activity and product promotion to create awareness.
2) Growth: Sales take off, profits begin to come in and market shares stabilise.
3) Maturity: Sales grow at slowing rates, products get differentiated, price wars and sales promotion become common.
4) Decline: Sales drop because the product is no longer relevant or useful.

What are the steps involved in new Product Development?

1) Idea Generation
2) Idea Screening
3) Concept Development and Testing
4) Business Analysis
5) Product Development
6) Market Testing
7) Commercialisation
8) Launch

What is Product Lifecycle Management (PLM)?

Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. It includes the following stages:

1. Conceive – imagine, specify, plan, innovate

This stage includes definition of the product requirements and project scope. Initial concept design work is used to define the aesthetics and main functional aspects. Many different media can be used for these processes, from pencil (or felt tips!) and paper, to card and blue foam models, to 3D CAD industrial design software. Making sure all technology is sufficiently mature for productisation is also an important part of this phase.

2. Design – describe, define, develop, test, analyse, validate

The design stage includes detailed design and development of the product, through to pilot release. This will include prototyping in a variety of methods, such as 3D printing and CNC machining. Engineers from many disciplines will be involved, including: mechanical engineering, electrical and electronics engineering, software development, and maybe even architecture, aerospace engineering, and automotive engineering. Simulation, validation and optimisation tasks are carried out, which might include stress analysis, FEA (finite element analysis), kinematics, computational fluid dynamics (CFD), and mechanical event simulation (MES).

3. Realise – manufacture, make, build, procure, produce, sell, deliver

In the third stage, the method of manufacturing is defined, including any tool design. Casting, moulding, and die-press forming can be simulated for analysis. More modern manufacturing methods, such as 3D printing and CNC machining, may be used for shorter production runs. Manufactured components can be checked against the original CAD data using computer-aided inspection equipment and software.

4. Service – Use, operate, maintain, support, communicate, manage, collaborate, sustain

Support and information is required for repair and maintenance, as well as waste management or recycling. Engineering changes and release status of components must be managed.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial Design (ID) is the art and process of designing manufactured products. Concepts and specifications are developed to optimise the function, value and appearance of products and systems.

Why is Industrial Design important?

Industrial designers integrate and optimise all aspects of form, fit and function. They create the best possible user interface and customer experience, by delivering innovative designs that are functional, manufacturable and cost-effective. Industrial designers offer many options and flexibility to stakeholders across the product lifecycle, including management, marketing, engineering and manufacturing. Working closely with the engineers, industrial designers determine how to reduce costs through different manufacturing techniques, components, materials and finishes.

What do you need to become a Product Designer?

At Oxford Product Design, we require our product designers to possess an iconic sense of form, convey their ideas quickly using free hand sketching techniques, have a talent for producing jaw-dropping visualisations, have a keen sense of Colours, Materials and Finishes (CMF) and most importantly to produce designs which are realistic and achievable.

What is Machine Design?

A machine is made up of mechanisms that work together. Mechanisms can be used independently, but a machine controls energy as well as motion and forces. Machine design includes defining goals and requirements, benchmarking, evaluating different options, creating an in-depth design, testing a prototype, and manufacturing the machine.

What is Process Design?

Process design is the determination the workflow, equipment needs, and implementation requirements for a particular process. Flowcharting, process simulation software and scale models are typically used. Small changes in the design of a product can have profound changes on the method of production. Process design constrains the product design, and vice versa.

What is a Design Brief?

A design brief is a written document developed by the design team and their client detailing aims, objectives and milestones. It outlines the deliverables and scope of the design project including function and aesthetics of the products. Design briefs are used to keep the project on track and on budget and to evaluate the design after it has been produced. A good design brief develops understanding between the client and designer, and ensures that important design issues are considered before the designer starts work. It is much more likely that the designer will be able to produce something close to your aims if you write a detailed design brief.

What is in a Design Brief?

1. Overview of your organisation – What does your organisation do, make or sell? Who is your target audience? Who are your main competitors? What are your key differentiators?
2. The history of your organisation – What product design work have you done before?
3. Your goals – Why are you seeking design services? Are you developing a new product or is this a rebrand?
4. Your requirements – What is your product? How does it function? Do you know what technology it will use? Do you require any specific components, shapes, materials, or colours in mind?
5. Budget and deadline – How much money you are willing to spend? When is a realistic deadline for the project? Remember, there are many stages to the design process, and each stage will take time.

Which factors affect good Design?

The design of a product includes the form, features, performance, conformance, durability, reliability, reparability and style. Design must evolve with time or your product risks becoming obsolete. A good designer will consider function, user, cost, production method, production volume, aesthetics, fashion, culture, ergonomics, materials and operational environment.

What are the Aesthetics of a Product?

Aesthetics is our perception or opinion of an object. Aesthetics is the study of how our brains interpret something as being beautiful or ugly. It is crucial for design because our first interaction with almost anything is based on how it looks.

What is an Aesthetic Design?

Is your product attractive? Why and what makes it so? There are many aspects that contribute to overall perception of a product, and whether it is aesthetically pleasing to you. Visually and ergonomically attractive products are much more appealing to your customers.

What is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering is the discipline that applies engineering, physics, and materials science principles to design, analyse, manufacture, and maintain mechanical systems, equipment and machinery. Mechanical engineering requires an understanding of mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, structural analysis, and electricity.

What is Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineering optimises complex processes or systems. Industrial engineers work to eliminate waste of time, money, materials, man-hours, machine time, energy and other resources to improve quality and productivity. Underlying concepts overlap considerably with operations management, operations research, systems engineering, manufacturing engineering, production engineering, management science, management engineering, ergonomics, and safety engineering.

What Skills do you need to be a Mechanical Engineer?

At Oxford Product Design, our CAD Mechanical Design Engineers all have a mechanical engineering or design engineering degrees. They have high proficiency in 3D CAD, have experience with simulation and analysis tools, skills in complex assembly work and advanced surfacing. They all have industry experience in a range of fields and with high specification electromechanical, optical or medical device design, demonstrate autonomy and responsibility, work well as part of a team, have a keen eye for detail and the patience for precision.

What is Electronics Engineering?

Electronics engineering is an electrical engineering discipline to design electronic circuits, devices, microprocessors, microcontrollers and other systems. Electrical engineers utilise passive electrical components based on printed circuit boards, and non-linear and active electrical components, such as semiconductor devices. Electronics engineers design and test circuits that use the electromagnetic properties of electrical components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes and transistors to achieve a particular functionality. Electronics engineering is the implementation of applications, principles and algorithms developed within solid-state physics, radio engineering, telecommunications, control systems, signal processing, systems engineering, computer engineering, instrumentation engineering, electric power control, and robotics. Analog electronics, digital electronics, consumer electronics, embedded systems and power electronics are all part of electronics engineering.

Have you still got more questions? Feel free to contact us.

© Oxford Product Design Ltd +44(0) 1865 58 20 80 | Legal Notices