If you’ve ever noticed the quality of products around your home, as a familiar place to start, or in the marketplace when shopping for items like consumer electronics, automobiles, appliances, writing utensils, clothing, shoes, jewelry, bedding, furniture and so much more, you’ll notice trends in design features across the years, from bulky and classic, to more sleek and contemporary, with accompanying color schemes that tie in with the overall theme of the era they were designed and produced within. Think neon from the 1980s, and Avacado green from the 1970s as a popular recollection.
Product designers can work in small scale operations the feature their work in crowdfunding platforms and small shops, or on a grander scale with household brands that change the way we live and operate within our homes and workplaces. Product designers create the very way we interact with material items in the world.
The curvature of a mouse to make it more user friendly for those with wrist pains or arthritis, for instance, was added as a design improvement to enable longer functionality and more comfortable use with reduced pain for people that use a mouse for long periods of time. This is one of the seemingly infinite design improvements that have been included from the beginning of humans using tools and material items.
Some that enter into the field of product design do so by going the traditional route, of pursuing a degree from a product design school, then entering the career field post-graduation. Others enter the field of product design in a less straightforward manner, by necessity or frustration with a current design system. For example, if you look across popular crowdfunding platforms, you’ll find lots of products aiming to achieve full rounds of funding to put their product into production with either partially or newly designed features.
From coffee making apparatuses to paper products, community building facilities to wallets and bags, the possibilities of better-designed products are endless. Practices such as incorporating better materials into the production of an item, like using vegetable-tanned leather instead of genuine leather, or using real wood in items in place of composite wood in items like furniture, can enable items to last much longer – for centuries possibly, than their counterparts made from less superior materials, that can fall apart after a few uses.
I don’t know about you, but having thoughtful and intentional product designers in charge of the quality of material items we use everyday is paramount to how our hard earned dollars are utilized. Choosing a career in product design, whether on a small or grand scale, can improve not only your life but the lives of everyone to ever use the products for years to come. Revolutionary design can be as subtle as adding a single feature into an age old product, or removing features and functionality that’s extraneous. For as long as humans will be consumers of products in the marketplace, we will always need great product designers.