Without industrial design our world would also be without the products that we use and enjoy every day. Take a minute to look around you, every product that you see and interact with is a result of the skills of industrial design.
The art of industrial design means understanding the importance of appearance, functionality, usability, user experience and aesthetics when designing products.
As a team we are inspired by the opportunities to create what hasn’t been created. We challenge our clients, and each other, to dream big and recognize the importance of iteration to build something truly different. This requires a diverse team of designers with unique skills and passions working together to attack challenges from every angle to identify and create new product solutions.
In the spirit of National Industrial Design Day today, we have asked our industrial designers to unpack one aspect of the power of visualization and storytelling. Here’s what they said…
A picture (or simple sketch) is worth a thousand words
“I still enjoy the moments when I’m able to share the magic of design with our clients. Designers are gifted with the skills to quickly visualize an idea; whether that be on a sheet of paper or on a whiteboard. It’s rewarding to see a cross functional team get clarity and focus around a quick whiteboard sketch during a meeting. The old saying is so true; ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ and that’s the power of design.”
– Todd Zeilinger, Industrial Design Manager
Promote an active environment that inspires creativity
“I never cease to ‘draw joy’ from collaborating with groups large and small at one of our many floor-to-ceiling whiteboard walls to map out a strategy, evolve a nascent product idea or just calibrate on the essence of the problem itself. Next to these life-size canvas spaces you’ll find markers and erasers in table height champagne buckets. When people ask why, I tell them that their ideas are more valuable than the finest cuvée and we all need to be perpetually reminded of that.
These simple tools are incredibly powerful and the fruit they can bear has infinite potential for stimulating and directing organic business growth through innovation. Watching a team collaboratively wrestle with a vision for their combined future from an engaged, energized, standing posture makes all the difference.”
– Gordon Stannis, Director of Design & Strategy
Provoke emotions through the use of aesthetic design
“When it comes to visual storytelling, a great aesthetic story is vital towards connecting with our target audience. I’m continually impressed with how well human instinct is able to form reactions to complex visual stimuli–colors, materials, form, finishes, and quality of craftsmanship are all evaluated in a blink of an eye. Whether a product is looking to tell a story of strength, of warmth, or anywhere in between, it’s a fascinating challenge as a designer to match these instincts to a compelling, clear, and unique aesthetic story that can motivate a consumer to buy a product, and for them to want to buy it again.”
– Brent Beukema, Industrial Designer
Use animation to communicate an experience
“Visualizing a concept for a customer is one of the primary functions of ID. But, as products fit into a more complicated eco system, or as features need to offer unique interactions, still images and story boards become less effective at communicating what the experience is. We’ve been using brief videos or animations to communicate how the product will work. The simple act of adding motion takes an idea that seems abstract and makes it instantly and profoundly relatable.”
– Kent Pilcher, Principal UX Designer
Bring the concept to life
“In ID, there are various ways to present a design concept, such as sketches, realistic digital models & renderings. These visualizations can seem very attractive but are still strides away from the final product. After 2-D concepts are created, a full-scale prototype is always necessary before final production. Holding the object in your hand allows you to feel its body scale, ergonomic design and see it from different angles within a real environment. This helps designers compare prototypes head to head and continue to improve and calibrate on the final product.”
– Zhenmin Li, UI/UX Designer
Although we are just scratching the surface here, these are a handful of ways to visualize a concept or idea. Each of these approaches are driven by our motive to see what’s possible and build what’s next so companies can deliver what’s valuable to their customers.