Many of us think twice before making major life decisions. One of those decisions is the career you adopt, nurture, and follow for a large percentage of your life, and it’s only natural to wonder if you will be successful. One of those many fields is the world of design which is ever evolving and changing with time, people and trends. A world within this topic is product design. Product design is a field of work focused on creating, producing, and manufacturing all kinds of products. Product designers set the stage where problems are identified in our daily lives, and then solutions are brainstormed, revised, and brought to life. Since almost everything around us is designed to make our lives easier, it proves to be a critical field for the development of people.
All around us are brands from our material world, where each name signifies a designed product or service. Apple Inc. is known for its delightful interface and design, Ikea for its minimalistic aesthetic furniture, Mercedes Benz for its luxurious cars, and many more. It isn’t hard to see how our lives depend on these products, count on them, and cause intense comparisons before purchase.
Product Design in India | Product designers
Although many imagine countries such as Germany, Japan, and America playing the design superpowers, India is an up-and-coming contender. Moving away from the status of outsourced manufacturing, the nation is quickly becoming a centre for design and Innovation. Cities like Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune, and Ahmedabad are gaining popularity as design hubs across the world. A community of designers was in the works for many years, but the monumental change brought by the COVID-19 outbreak brought attention to digital design for online transactions and opportunities. It held a severe change in our lifestyles and required designers to step up to the challenge and design alternatives and solutions as quickly as the nation needed. A season of Shark Tank made people aware of the many design possibilities that were being developed in their neighbourhoods, and suddenly there was an air of creativity and Innovation everywhere.
Now, the community of designers is more highlighted than ever, with innovations in every sector, such as toy design, electric technology, security solutions, personal care, the food industry, and more. Studios such as Future Factory, Grey Space, Criador Labs, and Paul Studio create seamless interactions and more interesting experiences for all kinds of users.
The scope of product design critically depends on which industry and design role is discussed. The design and industry trends follow suit to the rest of the world due to the globalized nature of product distribution. Some industries are dying, while others, such as Digital Design, are rising. On the other hand, design roles can be separated into three parts; the system, the process, and the interface.
The Roles in Product Design
The design of a system through which a user has infinite choices and possibilities. It is the process of interpreting requirements and then arranging and assigning them to components to create seamless interaction.
An example of this is when a company like Mattel needs to make sure all the toys it produces can be traced back and identified to its brand. They create a set of elements, modules, and components that are to be used across the board to create a design language. Another example is when a company like IKEA wants to emphasize their unique selling point (USP) of minimalistic Scandinavian furniture and, in return, use the same material for all products, which has similar finishes, corner treatments, and dimensions.
This becomes important for a company since the product designer is tasked with the duty of conceptualizing and symphonizing a working and effective system. In India, there is an intense start-up culture, and many upcoming businesses require specialized designers to create such systems for branding, as well as marketing solutions. However, this would require a clear understanding that a product designer, although tasked with one design, is still required to have flexibility and adaptability to work and innovate in many aspects.
The Process | Product designers
Any design which includes a flowchart of activities comes under this category. It may be the flow of a customer shopping online to reach the payment page or the technique needed to assemble a toy set. Each step is designed to be intuitive and easy to understand for the sake of accessibility and effective usage.
For example, the design of a cinema has a very clear flowchart from entrance, ticketing, security, food bar, and theatre. This flow is designed for maximum exposure and monetization, as well as the visitor experience.
It is necessary to have product designers ready to tackle such projects since each culture has its mentality, culture, and understanding. To cater to the Indian public, it is necessary to understand the psychology of the Indian user, as well as what they need, require, want, and desire. These cater to the identification of problems and suitable brainstorming before solutions are proposed to be installed.
This is the aesthetic and visual appeal of a design and perhaps the most impactful element at first glance. It has a human-first approach because this is the point of interaction between the user and the product and its usability. It guides the user to solve their real problems and makes them feel like they can use it instinctively.
Many designers have hypothesized that most of the tech products people will use in the coming years will be due to style and how it makes them feel rather than pure utility. Social media apps are often looked at for this. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and such serve little purpose other than communication but still retain users due to the feeling of involvement and participation that is created.
For users who are deeply in current apps and tools, it is necessary to create more effective interfaces to create healthy competition within the Indian and global atmosphere.
Opportunities and Possibilities | Product designers
With the advent of technologies, there are many growing streams of design where there is a lot of scope for exploration and Innovation. New mediums such as Metaverse, a platform for virtual and mixed reality, augmented reality, electric vehicles, and such are on the way to pulling in many companies to invest research and development energies in them.
The Metaverse platform will require the translation of many objects and products already existing in the physical world to create an immersive experience for users. Alongside that will be the Innovation of what this platform can offer. Custom design systems for users, interactive elements, and the creation of absolute freedom within the realms of the medium. The mobile and desktop design space will still exist since these are devices that most across generations are used to, but they will become obsolete and discarded eventually. Alternative mediums such as augmented realities and immersive realities will be where the challenging and investigative design will occur.
In India, there is an abundance of businesses that are at various stages on a scale, from farm to factory. With a new platform, it gives a blank slate to any business that wishes to jump onto the potential of an online universe. Product designers would work in tandem with managers and entrepreneurs to create systems and new possibilities for a newer generation and new set of users.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Due to leaps in AI technology, our devices now have the capability of becoming agentive designs. It provides the opportunity to create products and designs that directly respond to the user and their lifestyle, introducing a level of customization without much effort or work. Such products would then be able to work on behalf of humans, such as automatic bird feeders, autoplay of recommended music, or automated scheduling systems for offices.
Similarly, AI assistants can become commonplace in the office, providing easy solutions to several tasks. Up till now, most of our technology has been focused on digitalizing the work that was previously done by hand. But now, those tasks can be minimized altogether with the help of AI, giving designers and employees the chance to focus on the value added to consumers. For example, colour sampling is already replaced by online colour palette generators. Similarly, AI generators such as Mid Journey are also giving a portal into unique ideas and potentials to tap into.
Incoming mediums | Product designers
With each designed product come several projects related to the other aspects of said product. New design mediums are stepping up with technology and other developing products. For example, with the Innovation of electric cars, and the development of their technologies, there is now a need for designers to design the interiors, the dashboard, interface, and more.
Similarly, the advent of technologies such as flip phones or 3D printing provides many worldwide opportunities for design for people to dip into and explore.
All in all, the world of design is truly a rising star and will cause constant ripples worldwide. India especially should hope to see lots of growth and improvement in design systems due to their transition to a design hub. This provides many opportunities to aspiring product designers and any people who are aiming to enter the market with creative pursuits.
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