Product design

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The service product design , and industrial design (engl. Industrial Design ) called, is concerned with the design of serial and / or industrial products .

In general, a distinction is made between two areas of work: the design of consumer goods and the design of capital goods . As a result of the division of labor, the designer often works in an interdisciplinary team. Depending on the field of activity, his tasks include form-finding, for example under the aspect of formal coherence, manufacturing justice or the needs of a target group.

The designer is not the creator of unique items, but of products that are manufactured in a serial (mass) production.

Stamp pad with classics of German product design

application areas

Consumer goods

Products for personal use are summarized under the category of consumer goods:

  • Household appliances (coffee machines, mixers, washing machines, lawn mowers, electric razors, lights, etc.)
  • Tools
  • Vehicles (cars, motorcycles, scooters, bicycles, skis)
  • Furniture, see furniture design
  • Fitted kitchens
  • to shine
  • Toys , play equipment design

Capital goods

  • Production machines (sawing, milling, etc.)
  • Electronic devices for industrial use (e.g. measuring devices)
  • Medical technology
  • (Commercial) vehicles ( trucks , buses , tractors , forklifts, pallet trucks, rail vehicles, etc.) see Transportation Design

Designing products

Design of an office chair on a drawing board (1987)
Explanations on a model (1989)
Industrial design faculty at the TU Delft

The creation of products , the product design, basically takes place as part of the development of these products. The degree of design freedom that opens up the possibility of finding a shape is very much dependent on the type of product.

In the case of very technical products, the design tasks of a designer concentrate on their function, so that this is usually the responsibility of only one engineer. Likewise, a decorative vase can rarely be a field of activity, because this task is primarily aimed at artists.

Design process

The process begins with a definition of goals or a task. Depending on this task, concepts are developed, sketches for construction and design are made, first drafts are built as models (in original size or as a scale model), or often only built as a virtual model in the computer, from which views are then calculated.

Depending on the project, the response can be checked using market research . After the design has been completed, the construction is completed as a CAD model. Technical knowledge, as taught in the job description of the technical draftsman , is of great advantage here. The implementation of the idea for the technical design nowadays often takes place entirely on the computer. Models can then be created in almost every intermediate step using a 3D printer .

The designer uses the first ideas, sketches and drawings to visualize variants and details of the product. This originally creative process is usually carried out by hand even if the computer is otherwise used extensively. Often, however, the first sketches are then already scanned and digitally processed for further variants using image processing.

Analysis aspects

A design product can be differentiated and analyzed according to its functions:

Practical functions

Functionality, ergonomics , safety, usability ( usability ), ease of use, maintenance and care

Product language functions - sensual functions
- Formal aesthetic functions
- Characteristic, semantic functions
- Sign functions - haptic , olfactory and acoustic signs
- Symbolic functions - social, cultural and religious aspects, status , peer pressure, target groups
Ecological function - sustainable development
- Life cycle (durability, technical availability)
- Disposal
Economic function
- Manufacturing effort, complexity
- Manufacturing techniques
- Number of manufacturing steps
- Materials
- Material diversity and complexity
- Transport, storage costs - size, stackability, foldability, weight, etc.

The term product design

Industrial design, product design or product design are synonyms. Departments at universities of applied sciences and universities of applied sciences bear corresponding names and award the diploma (or Bachelor / Master) "Diplom-Designer" or "Diplom-Designer (FH)" after graduation.

The term product design is not protected. The introduction of an apprenticeship called " Technical Product Designer " can easily be misleading. This largely corresponds to the previous occupation of the technical draftsman and has nothing to do with the creative activity of the product designer in the field of "machine and system construction". The subject area "Product Design & Construction" deals with sub-areas of the product design course. This includes the topics; Ergonomics, material and color theory, sketching as well as rendering and constructive elaboration of products and goods in various CAD applications.

The job description of the industrial designer

The industrial designer's field of work has changed significantly in recent years. Two trends are driving this change significantly. A greatly shortened survival time of products in highly dynamic markets, particularly in the consumer sector but also in the capital goods sector, leads to a greater importance of marketing in general and of product development and design strategies in particular.

Design will successfully counter this change if it succeeds in equipping designers with the appropriate technical, analytical and theoretical knowledge and in positioning them in the market. The focus of the work is the planning, conception and design of products. Modern technology, innovative design and the value of experience for people are the core themes of the job. Today, industrial designers are also increasingly working at interfaces with other disciplines. Linking basic skills with scientifically substantiated strategy and process skills are therefore essential today.


See also

Acoustic design , automobile design , design , designer , Dutch Design Week , instructions for use , graphic design (= communication design), information design , new German design , universal design


  • Michael Schulze: Concept and concept of work, plastic design in architectural education, 1st edition 2013, Zurich, vdf Hochschulverlag AG at ETH Zurich, 2013, ISBN 978-3-7281-3481-3
  • Bernhard E. Bürdek: Design. History, theory and practice of product design. Basel 2015 (4th ed.)

Web links

Commons : Product Design  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. IQSH curriculum portal. Retrieved May 31, 2017 .