Finding equilibrium among all aspects composing a successful product

this is what a designer does

There are so many kind of equilibrium settable among so many aspects in developing a product or any kind of designing process: colours, features, shapes, communications policies, marketing strategies,...
A designer try to synthesize, crystallize, through his creativity all those aspects, giving to each one the relevance agreed at briefing time.

From a speech held at "Product Design Days", Chennai India, in November 2012

addressed to all entrepreneurs leading a Small or Medium Enterprise

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Good morning to all of you, this speech is mainly addressed to all entrepreneurs leading a Small or Medium Enterprise. So when I will tell “you” I mean one of them. Ok?

Now, what can help you set aside from your competitors? Design, of course, but let’s first spend few words on why you may want to set aside from your competitors.

Setting aside from your competitors will help you sell your products easily or at a higher price or both. The Apple example is right in front of us. No question, Apple does top quality products with a minimalist design. They are perfect. Essential, design wise, they are awfully rich in technology, software, performance. But, if you were able to put on the market the same awfully rich products in technology, software and performance but with a rich appealing design; wouldn’t you be able to steal a portion of their market? Do you see?

Investing in design you give value to your brand and this value come back into your pocket when you sell your products.

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What you need is to set up a relation with your designer. There is a flow of data that has to go from you to your designer and then back to you, in a loop, until you reach the best, or one of the better, design possible for your product.

Behind a product there are many aspects to be considered: functions, form, colors, of course but also communication policies, marketing strategies, production procedures.

Let’s see a simple example.

Some time ago I came across a Medium Enterprise. They manufacture furniture custom made and interior decoration. I asked one of the boss what was the more representative product to start with. He told me the “bed”. But when you say “bed” it can be anything. You know...

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...really anything...

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You see what I mean! But anyway going on with the story, knowing they mainly handcraft with wood, I made my first proposal.

Something simple to start with the discussion.

Well, I could see he was almost embarrassed, but without any comment he took a book out of his shelf and show me something he liked.

So after a while I was ready with my second proposal.

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He wasn’t enthusiastic but it made some impression. “You are going in the right direction” was his comment.

Challenged from his hermetic communication, after a deep immersion in the world of imagination I was ready for the third proposal.

“Very well done! Now this is called a nice design” now was his comment. I was finally been able to sort some enthusiasm!

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I went on with a rendering image

And then I played a little enriching image with lights and so on.

The message is: you have to communicate all possible information to your designer, during briefing, by words by images or even miming! But if there are missing data don’t panic, you’ll find them in a step by step way. The designer may help you find the best possible design for your product.

It may helps if you start doing a priority list of properties that you think needed for the product you are creating. You know: materials, functions, price, and so forth, if possible trying to give the right place in the sequence, I mean at the top the most important matters and then those less important.

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you see that to get the best from a designer you have to push datas into the “DBM” giving them the right weight. But if you still are not completely aware of what you want or need, you can always reach your goal step by step.

What I am suggesting to your mind is that giving more relevance to a requirement rather then another one may result in a completely different shape although having the same functions.

The whole creative process it’s a mixture of reason and creativity. Informations scientifically determined mixed with the imagining talent and intuition of the designer.

Let’s see another example.

Here we have three chairs. The function is the same: sitting. But giving more importance at essential design with a touch of sculptural, wood and easy manufacturing you have the first.

putting on top of your priority list metal and metal production technic and a new classic italian  decor you get the second one. The third is an office chair where the needs are comfort, adjustability to all body size, safety of five wheels.

But if you look deeper each of them has less visible properties that may be useful for production purpose for easing shipping or stocking, for your marketing strategies or communication policies to give more appeal to customers.

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Phi57 (this is the name of this chair) for instance has an adjustable seat that goes up and down through the back. You can even keep it all the way off the back and change the seat with a different size one or different shape of it. Also it constitutes of only four pieces and it is easy to assemble and is also good for do-it-yourself market if this is your strategy. Then you may also play on colors if it is part of your communication policy.

Magoo. Magoo has the peculiarity that legs are all the same. So you only need to produce one leg and that is good for having a stool with three legs or four legs. And again you may use this feature as marketing strategy giving customers the choice to customize their item and also as communication policy if all your production is customizable. Also giving five legs to the chair you make it safer. And you may also add other legs for decor purpose and have a chair with six or seven legs!

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Office chairs are usually pretty standard. Still you may add a touch of eccentricity playing with shapes. Even more then that.

Equilibrium. Equilibrium is the key word in the designer job. I think this is what a designer role is all about. He has the task to synthesize, to crystallize all the informations, data, properties into the product. We can see that through the equilibrium of all elements composing the product a designer can reach the right communication target.

Communication as very much to do with the design role. Communication is an Art and also Art may be defined as a means of communication. A means of communication for emotions.

In fact when a product gives emotions to customers it’s very easy to sell no matter the price.

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Now I ask you to see through the designer point of view. He also is investing time and ideas in your brand. In fact the way you manage his ideas will affect both his visibility and his pocket. He needs you to realize his products ideas the same as you need him to give value to your brand.

Designer and business man both have to cooperate to build a relation that is of mutual confidence and appreciation. For they have the same target, the same goal.

In fact this relation may also start from the designer side when a designer come to you trying to sell one of his ideas he think you have the right characteristics to manufacture and distribute.

Yes, so it is. The contract with a designer is generally speaking (unless otherwise agreed) based on royalties. The percentage on sold product depends on the quantity, and is due each an agreed span of time on what you have really sold. The only amount you pay in advance to the designer is a task fee and the covering of his expenses. Which is a very affordable amount of money.

Note that the work of the designer allow you to be able to make many evaluation and even market test with photo style images (what is called render images) without having manufactured any prototype or test or anything.

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Let me spend few words on this event.

I deeply believe in this kind of event, in all cultural exchange.

Taking the best from each culture we will surely achieve better results.

So, thank you from my heart for inviting me to this exhibition!

Filiberto Maria Festa

Nazim Beltran

Nazim Beltran

nice site

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