Venturing into the world of industrial design as a beginner

One thing that you very quickly discover when you come up with a new product idea is how little you know about bringing a product to market. That was true in my case, at least. I had what I thought was a fantastic idea to fill an important and profitable gap in the market, and that has since proved to be correct. Yet if I had not found the right industrial design firm I seriously doubt that it would ever have been sold. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the industrial design process was the most important part of creating my product, and yet I did not do it myself.

What is industrial design?

Industrial design is the crucial process of taking your idea, and perhaps your prototype, and converting it into a real, working, saleable product. The industrial design process needs to take into account almost everything to do with your product. This includes:

  • Materials and build quality;
  • Price and value;
  • Safety considerations;
  • Manufacturing considerations;
  • Aesthetics.

Without going through the industrial design process with the care and attention that it requires, your product would almost certainly end up either made from poor quality materials, badly put together, too expensive, unable to meet safety regulation, impossible to manufacture quickly or consistently, aesthetically inferior, or any combination of the above. Even the best product designer, on their own, will almost never be able to come up with a product which is entirely ready for the mass-market without expert industrial design help. In my case I knew for sure which materials were needed and I started off as an expert in the safety requirements, but making a product that could be produced at any reasonable speed and which looked like something a consumer may choose to buy was far beyond my capabilities. That is why industrial design firms exist. They are companies and teams who are not necessarily experts in one particular type of product, they just understand the whole process. They know where to find out all of the safety requirements, they are able to research the manufacturing possibilities, they know how to put the product through rigorous testing and they can perform the necessary market research to make sure that the product is at a price point where it becomes saleable. Very few people have this level of understanding on their own, particularly if they do not have previous experience of the process. That is why when you have your idea, something that you think needs to be made available to the general public, it is crucial to make sure you find the right people to help make your idea into a real-world, workable, saleable end product.

The team who helped me

To turn my idea and prototype into a useful, marketable product I enlisted the help of a Dutch industrial design firm called Alskar. I encountered them through their website, www.alskar.com, after a lot of searching. Once I contacted them and spoke to some of their experts it became clear that they would be able to help me. They were very clear in their communication and interested to know exactly what my aims and ambitions were for my product. For me, this was absolutely crucial in allowing me to trust them with my big idea. Once we reached an agreement over the process they took it over expertly, involving me in every step of the way, and guided me and the product right through to when it finally went on sale. Read more…