Product Design – Innovative Trends on Design Philosophies, Approaches, Processes, Techniques, Methods & Standards – Part 1
Article by Guest Author: Dr. Subhash Dev Hiwase
Modern Era Designs are nothing but an art of creating something which has never been, and very importantly, has got substantially very high customer value associated with it. A design cannot just be a thought; it must be expressed in some material form, kind of, art, sketch, drawing, blueprint, graphics, artifact, article, fashion, clothing, game, music, text, product, building, skyscraper, engineering, plant, machines, mine, science, computer, management, corporate, business, process, method, service, system, application, etc. Design has different connotations in different fields. In some cases the direct construction of an art/object/artifact/product, such as, sculpture, pottery, house, shop, software code, graphics, engineering etc. is also considered to be design.
To be ‘design’ or a ‘design’ the expression must be creative and it cannot just be somebody imagining over. If the creative expression is one of ‘emotion’ then we can say it is an ‘art’. If it is an expression of ‘knowledge’ then it is a ‘design’. Now a day, most of the modern creative expressions are a combination of both ‘art’ and ‘design’. For example, a sculptor will use his ‘knowledge’ of clay and casting to ‘design’ his sculpture, so that his or her intended ‘emotion’ can be conveyed to the viewer as an ‘art’. Similarly, a manufactured article (a product) will be mainly a manifestation of ‘knowledge’ (design), but still with an ‘emotional’ input to the form, aesthetic, look, appearance, packaging and marketing (art).
Due to the presence of several consensually accepted definitions that reflects the breadth of the topic sufficiently, two discrete, yet interdependent, definitions are needed: one that explicitly defines ‘design’ in reference to the artifact, the other that defines the ‘design process’ in relation to this artifact.
Hence, once again afresh, ‘Design’ can be defined as the set of properties of an artifact, consisting of the discrete properties of the form (i.e., the aesthetics of the tangible good and/or service), fit (i.e., integrity and anti-failure) and the function (i.e., its capabilities) together with the holistic properties of the integrated form, fit and function. And, ‘design process’ can be defined as the set of strategic and tactical activities, from idea generation to commercialization, used to create a design. In a systematic approach, designers conceptualize & evaluate ideas, turning them into tangible inventions & artifacts. The designer’s role is to combine art, science, and technology to create new artifacts that people can use. Their evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that now allow designers to communicate, visualize, analyze and actually produce tangible ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.
Designing often necessitates considering the aesthetic, functional, reliable, economic, sociopolitical, legal, environment and safety dimensions of both the ‘design object’ and ‘design process’. It may involve considerable research, thought, modeling, interactive adjustment and re-design.
Design is sometimes confused with (and certainly overlaps with) product design and/or industrial design and/or engineering design and/or mechanical design, and has recently become a broad term inclusive of service, software, and physical artifact design. Product design includes engineering design and/or mechanical design, particularly when matters of functionality or utility (e.g. problem-solving) are at issue. While the industrial design is concerned with bringing artistic form & usability, usually associated with, craft design & ergonomics, together in order to mass-produce goods, though such boundaries are not always clear. In other words, we can also infer that the product design consists of two types of designs, engineering design and industrial design. Mostly, engineering design in product design has been referred to as mechanical design. Engineering design in product design is responsible for designing internal parts and its result is sub-system & system layout design. Industrial design in product design is responsible for designing the outside of a product and its result is an outside form along with the related user facing interfaces. Because the two designs are core parts of product design, manufacturer focus on incorporating engineering designers and industrial designers to develop successful products.
To understand ‘Engineering Design’ further, the subject of ‘Engineering’ has to be studied in detail along with its two major activities of analysis and synthesis. Analysis (& research) is really ‘Science’, which includes the study of materials, actions, life etc. to better understand our world. We can call it ‘Engineering Science’ if the study focuses on materials, processes and material actions. However, when we start taking this knowledge and applying it to improve the quality of life, we are synthesizing knowledge. We are now being creative with our knowledge. This is ‘Design’ and is Fundamental to ‘Engineering’. Hence, we can conclude by narrating that the research & analysis is ‘Science’ and utilizing this scientific knowledge is ‘Design’ which is fundamental to ‘Engineering’. Both ‘Engineering’ and ‘Science’ are important for ‘Design’; but knowledge alone is of no consequence to the future of life if it does not manifest itself into material significance through ‘Design’.
The person who designs is called ‘Designer’, which is also a term used for people who work professionally in one of the various design areas, usually specifying which area is being dealt with, such as a fashion designer, concept designer, product designer, graphics designer or web designer. A designer’s sequence of activities is called a ‘Design Process’. And, the scientific study of design is called ‘Design Science’.
With such a broad denotation, there is no universal language or unifying institution for designers of all disciplines. This allows for many differing philosophies and approaches toward the subject.
Every design imagination starts with an idea. Design process is all about using certain plan/strategy to shape that idea into a real artifact. In other words, it is essentially the efficient and effective generation & development of design ideas and converting those ideas through a design process that leads to new artifact design. Hence, design process is nothing but the human problem solving process, where the problem is transformed into a solution through the design process. It also helps designers formulate their product knowing the constraints beforehand. This process is usually completed by a group of people, i.e. industrial designers, field experts, prospective users, product designers, etc. depending upon the products involved. The process focuses on figuring out what is required, brainstorming possible ideas, creating mock prototypes, and then generating the product. However, that is not the end of the process. At this point, designers would still need to execute the idea, making it into an actual product and then evaluate its success by seeing if any improvements are necessary.
Hence, in a very broader sense, most of the product design & development processes covers the stages, includes, capturing customer voice, competitor product analysis, benchmarking, product planning, concept development, product design & development, DFMA, DFSS, value analysis & value engineering, should costing & cost control, manufacturability, serviceability & maintainability analysis, 3-D modeling, detailing & drafting, proto development, market testing, final costing, product sales, market feedback and re-designing & continuous improvement. While the product design process typically includes the stages, such as, conceptual design, embodiment design, detail design, planning for manufacture, planning for distribution, planning for use, planning for retirement of the product.
There are several design disciplines and depending on the discipline, the design processes used is also distinctive in specific way. For example, an engineering designer calculates tension for a beam to verify structural safety while an industrial designer collects many colorful images to capture the user taste on product style. Further observation depicts that almost every design process has common elements. That is, it starts with a perception of a problem and ends with some kind of related solution, but rest of the design process differ distinctly from one design discipline to another design discipline. For clear understanding of the design disciplines, few are listed below, includes, Arts & Sculpture design, Architectural design, Building & Skyscraper design, Automotive design, Aerospace design, Biological design, Business Process, Communication design, Computer Design, Computer Aided Design, Corporate Strategy design, Configuration design, Engineering design, Environmental graphic design, Fashion design, Game design, Graphic design, Information architecture design, Industrial design, Instructional design, Interaction design, Interior design, Landscape architecture design, Lighting design, Machine design, Mine design, Military design methodology, Modular design, Motion graphic design, Plant design, Product design, Process design, Project execution process design, Rural design, Service design, Software design, Sound design, Systems architecture design, Systems design, Systems modeling, Transition design, Urban design, User experience design, Visual design, Web design, Financial design etc.
To accommodate such wide & varied design disciplines and their unique design processes, the design experts have developed and classified several design process models, some of which are from the engineering design field and some of which are from other design fields, highlighting mostly on various distinct aspects of design processes. Still there exists various differences among the design communities & experts on the effective use of all such design process models, concerning, how designers in many disciplines/fields, whether amateur or professional, alone or in teams, produce design using such generalized models.
There are numerous design process models available in the design field, which are based on one-or-other prevailing design philosophies. The detailed study implies that these models can be categorized majorly into two fundamentally different groups, and both of which have been referred with various different popular names in the design community. The prevailing model has been called ‘The Rational Model’, ‘Technical or Creative Problem Solving’ and ‘The Reason-Centric Perspective’. The alternative model has been called ‘Reflection-in-Action’, ‘Evolutionary Design’, ‘Co-Evolution’ and ‘The Action-Centric Perspective’.
About Guest Author:
Dr. Subhash Dev Hiwase, Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), IIT Kharagpur, India
Dr. Subhash Dev Hiwase, is a Global Professional Leader, doctorate from IIT Kharagpur, India, in Mechanical Engineering, and having 25 years of Extensive Experience on Global Product Development, Strategy & Operations – broadly in the area of New Product Development, Continuous Product Improvement, Technology Innovation, Lean Transformation & Performance Optimization.
He enjoys Designing, Developing & Introducing New Products in the Market, which are having very High Customer Values and has a successful record of creating large/small Product Development Programs, Developing Strategies, Cultivating High Performance Teams and Fortune 500 Client Relationships. Additionally, Subhash has an extensive Financial background and significant International Business Experience.
If any organization/individual is willing to design & develop New Product, which should be Cost Effective, High Quality & within Specific Timeline in India or Abroad, please feel free to reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
He has got very strong product design & development credentials and has already developed/worked-on several New Product Development for Automotive, Aerospace, Industrial Product, Heavy Engineering, Consumer Goods, Medical Product, Energy & Power, Oil & Gas, Special & General Purpose Machines Industries for Indian & International OEM’s, such as, In Automotive: He has designed & developed Car, SUV, Bus, Truck, Tractor, 2,3-Wheeler, engines, power transmission, Steering, Clutch, Brakes, Suspensions, Chassis, etc; In Aerospace: He has designed & developed Primary, Secondary & Tertiary Structure, Critical Load-Bearing Structures, Wing Spar, Fuselage Keel Beam, Empennage, Control surfaces, Crew & Passenger Seats, Pressurized Cabin Doors, Fairings, Cowlings, Baffles, Non-Load-Bearing Structures, Un-pressurized Cabin Doors, Access Panels, Armrests, Instrument Panels, Pneumatic-Hydraulic-Electrical Lines, Brackets, Clips, Hooks, etc; In Heavy Engineering: He has designed & developed Cranes, Track Type Tractor, Wheel Loaders, Excavators, Compactors, Motor Graders, Mining & Off-road Heavy Machines, etc; In Industrial Product: He has designed & developed pumps, compressors, fans, blowers, engines, power transmission, gear drives, bearings, couplings, industrial chain, torque limiters, clutches, locking & clamping devices, brakes, backstops, freewheels, and solid-state motor switches, switch-gears, conveyor components, etc; In Consumer Goods – He has designed & developed Mixer, Grinder, Washing machine, Vacuum cleaner, Electronic Toothbrush, Epilator, Trimmer, Massager, Refrigerator, Suitcase, Television, Table Fans, Table Phones, etc. In Medical Product – He has designed & developed X-ray system, Leproscopic surgery products in plastics, Surgical Imaging, Surgical Equipment, Angiography Equipment, Electrocardiogram, etc; In Energy & Power – He has designed & developed ESP, Design Safety, Na Combustion, Cement & Minerals, Building Material, Filter Bags, Reverse Bag Filter, Boilers, etc; In Oil & Gas – He has designed & developed oil rig design, development & quality inspections, etc; In Special & General Purpose Machines – He has designed & developed special purpose, general purpose, lathe machines, and several other machines widely used in the industries etc.