The Enlightener Design for Desires_120101

By: Willis Whiteside, M.S., IDSA

Issue 120101 1st / 2nd  Quarter 2012

Design for Desires

       If you are intent on bringing a new product to the market, there are many reasons you should desire to use an Industrial Designer. From execution of your Design to Prototypes, Industrial Design is about mass production and most importantly Design for the end users that creates desire for your product and new sales.  Designers call it, shelf appeal. Marketers call it emotional branding. Electing to work with an Industrial Design firm is mainly about managing design and branding from the top down. Making sure the core branding theme of a company is always reinforced in it’s emotional appeal to the product design and image.  Industrial Design is branding which is targeted marketing and about getting to the core “feel good” reasons people buy or desire your product.   

       If you want attractive styling or an innovative appearance, an Industrial Designer should be at the top of your list. The role of the Industrial Designer is typically to help develop styling  and artistic form combined with human factors and design for mass manufacturing production.  The goal of working with an Industrial Designer is to develop the ideal expression of simplicity and form with expectations of functional performance and of course, sales success. This is usually where the investment pays off.  To achieve a balance of attractive styling and functional elegance and performance and low manufactured unit cost.

      Industrial Designers are always thinking, not just about the next new idea but often about how to get to the core desires of the users and a product application.  We are looking at what could be designed and what should be designed, knowing that people crave new and fresh but are, naturally resistant to change. Industrial Designers generally perform services on behalf of a client but are they are really in service to the buyers, and ultimate customers or users of the product. The expectation is to craft an eye appealing shelf grabber.

        Industrial Design is about communicating a vision and purpose, typically referred to as semantics and aesthetes. We are referring to semantics or the whole three dimensional form combined with color and graphics which communicates purpose and how to use it.  A handle communicates where to pick it up.  Aesthetics is relating to overall form, geometry, materials and color that impact visual appeal or so called artist beauty.  In a successful product design, form follows function through semantics and aesthetics that will engage and promote proper use and grab the attention of the user.   It will respect history and build upon its parts to make a better product. In Gestalt theory, it called “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” As conceptual-thinkers, we are expected to connect with the customer’s core desires and target audiences in new and innovative ways. 

          Industrial Designers understand the human factors and the importance of the user-product interface, directed to a target audience and what attract them to new design. Striving to understand the base motivational psychology of the end users including the broader social and personal influences to make drives their decision making. Remember, “God is in the details.” Most notably attributed to German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969).  An eye for quality and the mastery of the details is evident in some Product Design today. The Apple product line is a prime example of design for desire for simplicity of form, intuitive function and user interface insight.

     In the 1930s, Viennese psychologist Ernest Dichter used ground breaking, in depth focus group and interviewing techniques, which uncovered that buyers decisions are driven by emotions and subconscious whims and fears, and often have little to do with the product itself. Dichter proposed the core of branding strategies today, understanding “product image”, that products are sometimes not bought merely for their useful purpose, but for the conscious or unconscious values it seems to embody. And the products we buy are extensions of our own personalities, which mirror or reflects our own image. People seek out products that correspond with and individual or the group they want to associate with. Wanting your product to be connected or endorsed by a pop media star or sports figure are prime examples. Dichter had insights that every object has a special meaning—one that often relates to sex, insecurity or a desire for prestige. Dichter’s contribution: figure out the core personality of a product, and you will understand how to market and brand it.

     The goal is to connect to both buyer motivation and logic into a useful form that motivates a customer to want to become associated or part of it. Remember you are designing, building and branding a company, not just a product.  Industrial Designers keep the world fresh with meaningful, new products that challenge the existing perceptions with business strategy.  Inventors are driven but if you work with a qualified and experienced Industrial Designer, who understands to Design for Desires, your chances of maintaining a vision, creating a user friendly product and getting the details right are greatly increased.  And for many, the investment is well worth it.

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