The seven question challenge was started by Jimmy Huynh (Youtube Channel - Jimmy Design). The idea behind this challenge was that designers answer the same 7 questions and pass it on to more designers. Our design partner, Shubham Harish, decided to answer the same 7 questions as well since his expertise is Industrial Design.
I initially majored in transportation design for 2 years in college and had many friends who were majoring in industrial design (more specifically, product design). Often, they would discuss their projects with me and I would help them out. Eventually I started to learn about product design and fell in love with the design process. What I loved most about product design was that there was always something new to research and learn about. I loved strategizing and translating the research in ideas. I loved learning about new materials and getting my hands dirty in the college’s metalworking/woodworking shop. Finally, I decided to switch majors and go for product design.
Whenever I said that I am an industrial designer, people thought that I designed industrial equipment and buildings, like cranes, diggers and factories, or, they just looked at me confused and asked if it had anything to do with engineering. Now, I have completely changed the way I explain what I do. I usually start by saying, “as an industrial designer, I design all aspects of physical products which includes aesthetics, ergonomics, look and feel, functionality, etc.” Sometimes, I like to use products from my surroundings as examples and tell them what the role of an industrial designer is in developing those products. Another good way to explain industrial design telling them that “I am a lot like an architect but for physical products.”
I don’t think I have a specific design style. As an industrial designer, I have to understand and adapt my design to end-user needs, client’s business goals and their brand. But, at the same time, there are things that inspire me and have an influence on me. People I work with inspire me. Usually there is always a team involved in developing a new product. Sometimes, that team can be multidisciplinary. I like to learn and discover how other people think. Nature and all it’s different organic forms inspire me. If you would have asked me what kind of product I like? Then , I would have to say products with simple and pure forms that have some character and emotion to them. For example - Scandinavian furniture.
I have been really impressed by how Microsoft has grown into not just a software company but also a company that makes exceptional hardware. They have done an amazing job with their recent line up of Microsoft Surface products, my personal favourite being the Surface Headphones. I have also been inspired by Microsoft’s leadership. I recently watched a video where Marques Brownlee (MKBHD) interviews Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. At one point during the interview, Nadella said, “We don’t need to be involved in all the cool things in tech. We can empower all the people who are trying to do cool things around the world.” I really liked what he said and would love to work with Microsoft and create something that can empower people to make more cool and innovative things.
I don’t really have a single go - to program. I typically use different programs at different stages of the industrial design process.
Autodesk Fusion 360 for CAD. Fusion 360 has all the tools built in not just for 3D Modelling but also for 3D printing, design analysis, cam, etc. I mostly use only 3 programs from the adobe creative suite lineup - Photoshop, illustrator and Indesign. Other adobe programs are used occasionally depending on the project requirements. I use Keyshot a lot for 3D renderings and animations. I love to play around with different lighting techniques and material graphs to achieve the desired output. Recently I have also been experimenting with Blender. Blender Cycles is an extremely powerful rendering tool with ray tracing capabilities. I have seen a few industrial design renderings come out of blender which looked amazing.
One thing I dislike about industrial design is that it is an umbrella term. Nowadays, industrial design can mean many things like, product design, transportation design, graphic design, UI/UX design, etc. This can be confusing for a lot of people.
Another thing I dislike about industrial design is that there are products that we design that never see the light of day. They never get manufactured and come to market. But we have to understand that there are a lot of other aspects of the product development process that are equally as important if not more. Every aspect needs to come together to bring a product to market. Sometimes, they just don’t line up.
There are many things that need to be considered to make an industrial design good. Obviously, we have the 10 principles of good design by Dieter Rams -
One design principle that I always try to follow is, good design is empathetic. As industrial designers we don’t just create aesthetically pleasing products. To create a good, innovative and successful product we have to understand all aspects of the pain point of the user, client’s business goals and their brand. If we can understand everything about the end - user and the client, a good industrial design should be able answer the following questions -