Industrial Design or “ID” has been around ever since the earliest invention. It can sometimes be considered as an overlooked art. Industrial Design is the design of objects. It ranges from the simplest tools to automobiles, from tape dispensers to computers and so on. It is a field that is always in demand and is always looking for talented designers to fill the ever growing need for good, solid design. Why is it so overlooked? Well, this may be simply answered by the fact that Industrial Design is everywhere. Think about all of the objects that you interact with on a daily basis. Do you ever stop to think about the design process behind it’s creation. The answer is probably not. But the designer of those objects has labored over how it will be used by you. They have spent hours, days, perhaps months considering how you will use their design. They have crafted their design to be as perfect as possible. Unfortunately, there are quite a number of products that are imperfect. So what makes good design? While this could be argued, there are a few characteristics that good designs share.
#1-Functionality- Quality Industrial Design requires that the product be functional. I know that this sounds pretty obvious, but think of all of the products that are sold that just simply lack functionality. The product must work. It can look as pretty as it wants, but if a product doesn’t work then it is worthless. Functionality should be goal number one to the Industrial Designer. In fact many designers look to find ways to make existing products more functional. I know that I can think of several products in my life that could use some tweaking in the way of functionality.
#2-Simplicity- The best ideas are often the most simple ones. How many times have you said, “I wish I thought of that.”? If your like me then you said that phrase too many times to count. The fact is we are acknowledging that those ideas were so simple that anyone really could come up with them. The best ideas really are the simple ones. The same is true when it comes to Industrial Design. The best products are often the most streamlined The best products are often the simple ones. Want an example? How about the Post-it note. So simple yet so functional.
#3-Aesthetic Appeal (Beauty)- The aesthetic appeal of an object is often the reason we buy it. In fact, some products are driven by the aesthetic appeal alone. This is unfortunate because it leads to product development that is lacking in the other areas. It is only when all three (functionality, simplicity, and aesthetic appeal) are combined in harmony that quality Industrial Design results. Aesthetic appeal is important, but only when functionality and simplicity exist as well.
For a look deeper into the fascinating world of Industrial Design, I suggest you watch the documentary “Objectified”. It is a pretty thorough look at the world of contemporary industrial design. It also takes a look at a few well known companies and how they approach creating quality design. It is well worth a look. If you have Netflix, you can stream it instantly.
One more note on Industrial Design. Many people just can’t define design. Often times, it is confused with style. Design and style are clearly different things. I cam across this video on YouTube. It is old. It was produced in the later 1970s, but I do feel that it explains Industrial Design well. It also has a segment in it that clarifies the difference between style and design. (Plus I’ve always loved that style of animation)
So where does Industrial Design-The Art of Objects Design fit into your life? Do you give it notice? Do you appreciate quality design? What products do you feel exhibit quality design? I’d love to hear what you think.