Product Design

Many people hear a phrase such as "product design" and wonder what it actually means. Actually, product design affects each of us every day as we pick up the telephone, sit at our desks, or use any number of freshly emerging technologies: the twenty first century is a hotbed of new product design in both tangible and intangible ways because of the inclusion of new software products. Imagine the business world without Google or!

In both marketing and product design, industry eggheads admire Apple as an example of strong new products paired with inimitable branding. Somehow, products made to resemble Apple's originals never quite blend in, and Apple's products occupy their own place in the business world. However, an equally important aspect of product design is functionality, as exemplified in the rise of ergonomics. Imagine the person who first decided to attach a piece to the telephone handset so that it could comfortably sit on the shoulders of office workers all over the world. Suddenly, a billion backaches and neck pains were alleviated! The same can be said of the gel-filled or padded wrist rests to counter the potential for carpal tunnel syndrome in those who spend their days typing.

So, what exactly is product design? Well, in essence, it is the process from beginning to end of thinking up, drawing out, and prototyping a new product. Usually, the product is seen as the solution to a problem or an appealing alternative to an existing product. (Creating knockoffs of existing products is less demanding and therefore less illustrious.) If you have a mental picture of a roomful of people in smart business suits drawing ideas on a whiteboard, this is sometimes the case. If you have a mental picture of a bunch of twentysomethings in jeans and t-shirts with dogs under their desks using Photoshop to draw ideas, this is more often the case as time passes!

Of course, these designers usually do not recognize the initial need themselves -- this is left in the hands of development or executive positions who have more of a big picture view. If you suspect that compartmentalizing these parts of the process is a bad idea, think again: most of the time, introducing a new person without preconceived notions or biases means an even broader, more creative pool of ideas. As a result, companies keep their development offices separate and make sure the creative minds are not burdened with trying to dredge up new products out of the blue.

What can you do if you see a need that is not being addressed by an existing product? Well, some people attempt to design a new product themselves, but usually unqualified people have somewhat clumsy results regardless of their best intentions. A team of experts can identify the best materials, aesthetics, and engineering for your product. For this reason, many aspiring entrepreneurs turn to product design firms for their needs. Luckily, the internet has broken down many of the economic and social barriers between everyday people and these creative minds: online product design eliminates any middle man and lets you stay in direct contact about your idea.