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The Power of Design: Part 2 — The 10 Commandments of Product Design


Strong design is an essential part of new product development. In this second article in his four-part series, Sergei Plishka shares his ’10 Commandments of Product Design’.

Part 1: Keep your customers smartly packaged

Developing a successful product requires a firm grasp of several issues, followed by careful planning and implementation. At Outerspace Design, we have 10 Commandments that we believe can spell the difference between an average product and a great design.

I. Product positioning:

Don’t try to be everything to everyone. Target a market niche in relation to other products on the market.

II. Differentiation and innovation:

Set your product apart from competitors with unique technology, features, price and personality. Try approaching the problem from a different perspective to gain insights and unique ideas and solutions.

III. Useability and user experience:

Develop the product from the customer’s point of view, with emphasis on the experience of using the product. Consider consumers’ perception, frustrations and all five of their senses.

IV. Ergonomics:

Consider the comfort and ease of understanding and operating your product, and how to integrate it into customers’ lifestyles.

V. Aesthetics:

Product styling and detailing should meet customer expectations and aspirations. Should it look tough or sophisticated? This is an opportunity to add visual appeal and a point of difference.

VI. Brand and image:

Build confidence of quality in the purchaser’s mind through consistent, professional messages and emotional associations.

VII. Manufacture and cost:

Design for safe and efficient use of materials, energy and assembly labour.

VIII. Communication, feedback and refinement:

Document, present and explain the design direction and details along the way with various stakeholders, including marketers, product managers, manufacturers, service staff and end users. Test the performance and perception of your product early and often.

IX. Global perspective:

Design with sensitivity to social and cultural sensibilities and standards in order to reach export markets.

X. Environment:

Take a holistic view of the product’s life cycle, including the use of renewable materials and design for repair, efficient transportation, disassembly and recyclability.

In the next part of this series, I will explain how good design can boost profits in two ways — increased sales and decreased costs.

Sergei Plishka is an industrial designer with Outerspace Design, a product development and design firm based in Richmond, Victoria.

Image by oseillo