Why Invest in Good Product Design?
Updated: Jun 7
Criador Labs | Product Design Firm | USA & India
As product designers, we believe in good product design for its own sake. It is our passion, after all! However, why should you care? Why is investing in good product design suitable for your business?
Ease of Use
Good design places ergonomics and ease of use at the heart of development. For example, if you are designing a handle, you want it to sit comfortably in your hand. However, what happens when that handle is being used in a dangerous environment? Can you still hold it comfortably when wearing safety gloves? Therefore, good design takes into account all the details about how the product will be used:
What is the user using the product for?
How are they using it?
Where are they when using it?
How old is a typical user? What age range is it for?
Will the user be wearing special clothing (e.g. safety goggles) that might affect its use?
What Is it robust enough to withstand repeated use – or misuse?
All these things – and more – can affect the product design. For example, a good product designer will ensure that touch-screen control pads that are likely to be used outside in cold weather can be operated even when wearing gloves. If your product designer is not asking these questions, perhaps it is time to talk to one who will!
It has got to look great on the self. It would help if you gave the consumer a reason to choose your product over its shelf-mate. Good design can do this. Every time the user gets your gizmo out of his pocket, it is a potential advertising opportunity targeting his peer group. Have you done enough to make his friends ask, ‘what is that? Where did you get it from?’ Good design should inspire desire in potential customers and give your product a competitive advantage. How can your design give your product the edge over its rivals?
Apple’s iconic design of its iPod, iPhone, and iPad products has defined that brand, played a significant role in ensuring its enduring appeal, and spawned thousands of copycat designs. However, as Apple’s success demonstrates, design can be a significant part of your brand identity if you get the design right.
The design of your product must articulate your brand identity. The look and feel of the product inevitably communicate values about your values – if the customer can connect with this, this will help to drive sales and customer satisfaction.
At its most basic, this is about choosing recycled paper with a roughly pulped feel to it for your welcome letters or packaging to emphasize your product and company’s environmental credentials. Alternatively, perhaps use heavyweight paper with a high-gloss finish if your product is a high-end technology product. How is your brand identity articulated through the design of your product? Will your design create the pull-through to drive sales and, ultimately, increase revenue?
Good design is not only about ergonomics and the external aesthetic. Good design is also about the choice of materials, the construction and assembly methods, and the optimization of resources to protect the environment and reduce production costs. Consider and question every function and material choice: what else could you use? Are you able to minimize unnecessary costs without taking anything away from the product functionality or its ergonomics?
Whether or not you are outsourcing product design or product development operations, it is vital to work closely with your designer. They will be able to suggest alternatives and discuss the pros and cons of each material choice.
Computer modeling will help you to determine the best ways to optimize your material choices and production – and once you get to the stage of a working prototype and the first small-batch production run, you will have an opportunity to test and make revisions. However, the equation is not as simple as weighing cost alone. Optimizing performance while minimizing production costs is likely the most important factor in determining whether your business turns a profit – unless your sales and marketing efforts are remarkably ineffective. It is here that good design has a decisive role to play in determining your profit margin.
Expanding Product Reach
Good design can even extend the reach of a product and open up new markets. We love, for example, how TATA reinvented the water purifier. Its TATA SWACHH is designed to be operated without electricity. This rethink has extended the reach of a water purifier from significant towns and cities to regions without a mains electricity supply – ensuring more people can benefit from clean drinking water.
Where are you in your product design process? Would you like to get a second opinion on an existing product design? Would you like a design consultant's help getting your initial concept designs off the drawing board? Or would you like to talk through how your brand values translate into a design? We are here to help. Contact Us today to start your product redesign project.