Many times, we realize that we need to partner with an industrial designer to bring an idea to life. But, usually we don't know when to involve the designer. Should we bring them in loop as soon as we have the idea, or when we have developed the idea as much as we could on our own. In most cases, we reach out to industrial designers only when we have figured out exactly what we want to build, how the product might function, what features the product might have and what we imagine the product to look like.
But what is an ideal time to hire an industrial designer?
To answer this question, let’s understand what an industrial designer does. The role of an Industrial and Product Designer is to increase the desirability of a product. But, desirability does not increase only by focusing on appearance and aesthetics of the product. Desirability depends on certain factors like what value and experience the product provides to the customer, how does it function and how it looks.
When you hire a designer greatly impacts the design process. Let’s look at the following scenarios where one can on-board an industrial designer and study the impact on the design process:
- When you are at the Ideation stage
You know you have a great idea for a product that can greatly benefit your business. But you have not nailed down exactly what the product is and are open to explore other solutions and opportunities. You only have a general idea of what the product might be.
This is the best time to on-board an industrial designer as you get the most out of their expertise. Hiring an industrial designer at this time allows them to study your company and your customers which helps them uncover the most valuable solution and opportunity.
The designer will look at the problems more deeply, conduct a more in-depth product research, explore possible solutions, understand critical product features, study user behavior and user needs to make sure the product delivers the most value to the customer. They would not only create aesthetically pleasing products but also work on how the product functions and how it will be manufactured.
- When you are figuring how the product will function
When you have a general idea how your product will function but haven’t locked it down with a working prototype. Hiring an industrial designer at this stage may not allow them to explore what the most valuable solution might be for the users, but they can still design the functionality of the product to ensure that it provides a delightful experience.
- When you are figuring how the product will look
At this stage, you probably have everything you need from a product development standpoint, but are not happy about how your product looks. At this point you don’t actually need a designer, you need a stylist. A designer can still make the product attractive, but now, the functionality and the experience act as constraints for the designer. Most often the case here is redesigning an existing product.
All in all it depends on what you are looking to achieve from your design partner. You get the most out of your designers at the ideation stage as you can craft some truly jaw dropping products that deliver the maximum value and satisfaction to your users.