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Industrial design shaping brand identity

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Design thinking is now becoming democratic for innovation in any possible field
Anuj Prasad, Founder & CEO, Desmania

Different companies use different strategies to promote and sell their products. However, design and aesthetics of a product could work well in nourishing the brand name and value. Design thinking is a solution-based approach to solving problems and an effective way to meet rising consumer needs in an innovative way. Here, Anuj Prasad, Founder and CEO of Desmania, expresses his views on industrial design and its benefits.

Which are the process of manufacturing you impacted with your industrial design thinking and ideas? Can you share few examples?
Industrial design is a process to design anything and everything that a user needs. By its inherent virtue of being a user-centric process, design-thinking encompasses a variety of field, ranging from physical design to designing interfaces, services, experiences, etc. Our focus has largely been on designing of 3D product designs in the verticals such as consumer durables, medical devices, FMCG rigid packaging, and automotive. Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is an important aspect of design thinking.

Conventional processes of injection moulding, blow moulding, and sheet metal fabrication are commonly used to achieve the desired results. New technologies such as 3D Printing are commonly used for proof of concept prototyping, for early stage evaluation and validation of exploratory work. For example, while designing an air conditioner grille, the process of injection moulding is used and the design has to conform to the needs and constraints of the process. While working with the steel industry, the process of pressed sheet metal and fabrication is used. The manufacturing process chosen is based on the desired product perception, volumes, speed of production, capex and final pricing of the end product.

What are the current trends and practices in industrial product design/ design thinking process?
Design thinking has become borderless. It’s a thought process for user centric innovation to improve efficiency and the customer experience. It is now being used as a management and strategic tool to reach closer to the consumers/users. IT industry and finance function of corporate are using it to streamline the delivery processes.

In product design, companies making devices — medical devices, consumer durables or FMCG — use design as a key differentiator in the offerings. Industrial Design is now being used as a problem-solving methodology. Medical devices industry is using it in a big way to reach out to the base of the pyramid. Companies such as Philips and GE are using it to innovate on devices such as infant incubator, diabetics, etc. It’s a tool that makes us understand the user needs in a given socio-cultural context.

What are the considerations you take while doing an industrial designing project?
Industrial design process starts with understanding the user and this is best done through design research. Design research leads to well-articulated user insights, which magnify the unmet user needs and the problems faced by the users. Also, in a diverse country like India, the socio-economic needs vary across the regions and income groups. This throws abundant opportunities to make products that snugly fit into their requirements.

Price points and supply chain requirements of stakeholders play an equally important role in design. In today’s times, product signifies the brand. Industrial design is a great branding tool for making deeper penetration and developing brand loyalties.

Samsung and Apple have been the leading examples in using design as a strategy to expand user base, create aspiration, and offer user experiences.

The start-up industry is using design in creating User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) trough their apps. We now have celebrated UX/UI designers, too, which was earlier the domain of only automotive designers.

How industrial designs are helping in the growth of India economy?
India is a hot market with multiple brands. Now, consumers have a choice of several products when they shop. All the brands offer some basic values like reliability, technology and after sales support. It is now taken for granted. It is industrial design, which helps in differentiating the product, because it offers the first perception of the brand through aesthetics and later through experience. Moreover, in a dynamic market like India, companies have to keep evolving new products to meet the rising consumer needs.
On the other hand, industrial design is also a tool to give access to the comfort and convenience to the masses/base of the pyramid. Verticals like healthcare have started using design to reach out to this segment by making affordable devices and systems.
Complex problems like mobility and waste management also use design to innovate.

Any path-breaking industrial product designs?
Apple has been at the forefront of design through innovations such as touch screen phone, tablets and Apple TV. They have been able to identify the user needs and aspirations at a different level altogether. The fusion of technology in the products is playing a significant role in achieving desired results. Most of the tech companies use design as a great tool to reach out to the consumers.

Google, Amazon, Uber, all are using industrial design for making devices, systems and UI/UX experiences. Design has been their backbone for success. Airbnb founders are industrial designers and the complete concept has been evolved through design thinking. Design is infinite and it helps in giving delightful experience to people. Design thinking is now becoming democratic for innovation in any possible field.

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