Things to be aware of when designing new product.

Product development process

Product development is often an ongoing search for perfection. Designing new product can be a continuous cycle of design, test, improve. Whilst it is commonly accepted that there is not always a “right” answer to design, there is, in our experience, “best” answers that we strive to find through our development tools and design process.

When engaging a design consultancy, a freelancer or developing products in-house you should be aware of a few key points:

1. The development cycle usually doesn’t yield the best answer the first time.

We say this because, whilst we aim for the best solution first time, during new product development we are exploring the unknown and the results are never certain. Depending on the complexity and unknowns of a project, the designs, prototypes, simulations etc. can take a number of iterations to perfect. This is all part of the exploratory learning process that is product development. You’ll of course be part of the entire process, and your feedback and that of your stakeholders will influence the direction a project can take.

2. Prototype, prototype, prototype!

And just once more for reinforcement, prototype! Whether digital simulations or functional hard prototypes, testing and validating a design before production is crucial to ensure the product performs in the field and to mitigate your commercial risks. Producing several rounds of prototypes now is much cheaper than making changes to production tools further down the track.

3. Do the research!

Its along the same line as the saying “measure twice, cut once.” Product development, like every other task, is all about the preparation. The more educated and researched you/we are on a project, the better the outcome will be. This is nearly an exponential relationship, that’s how crucial the research is.

So before pencil goes to paper (or stylus to screen as we do these days), we always start a project with a research stage. This helps us to evaluate the idea, market place feasibility and allows us to set a targeted brief for the project. Without this preparation, we would be flying-blind, and your money might be better spent at the blackjack tables. Do the research.

Lucas Lastman

An industrial designer with 15 years’ experience, working across a broad range of industries, from automotive, to consumer product, retail and packaging, to power tool and hardware. Lucas enjoys working directly with clients to facilitate the solution process and tackle challenges early on in the process.