Why should you care about the design of your electronic device?


When creating a design for an electronic device, we need to focus on many aspects, of course, one of the basic elements of an electronic product is a PCB with components that, in the right configuration, can be controlled by software created beforehand. Looking at most of the electronic devices around us, we usually do not see the electronic circuits, and of course we do not see the software loaded onto the device's control circuit, but we do see the housing, which is the basis and most important design element for the user.

Perfectly refined design is the basis of devices from the world's largest technology companies such as Apple or Samsung, if these companies have achieved success largely through the fantastic and user-pleasing appearance of the device then we can see this as a clear signal to other electronics manufacturers - it is definitely worthwhile to ensure good design in the product and order a design project for our device.

Why industrial design is a good choice?

At the outset, it is worthwhile for us to answer the question - what is industrial design? It is a set of activities involving the design and creation of a product that will meet the needs of users. But what does the process of designing industrial forms consist of? This process is very advanced and usually takes a very long time, which is due to all the enormous amount of work on the project, such a project consists of several main stages.

  • Research user needs
  • Checking the principal's requirements and adjusting the appropriate features of the target product to them
  • Development of several design concepts
  • Making corrections in the concepts based on the principal's comments
  • Develop visualization of the concept selected by the principal
  • Create a design for the construction of a given device
  • Execution of prototypes
  • Testing of prototypes
  • Supervising tests with testers
  • Making corrections based on the comments of those testing the product
  • Drawing up design documentation
  • Supervising the implementation of the device into production

In order to better understand each of the processes and the task an industrial design designer has to perform, we will detail and describe each of them.

Survey of user needs

During this process of the designer's work, a research is carried out to determine what kind of product the user may require and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the current products on the market. Based on this research of the industrial mold designer, we can determine customer requirements and draw up a list of functionalities worth implementing in the final product.

Checking the customer's requirements and adjusting the appropriate features of the target product to them

Once the market research process is summarized the designer can move on to analyzing the requirements from the principal, here the design product specification provided at the beginning of the design project by the principal is very important. This specification should include all the important features of the device that will be implemented during the design process. After analyzing the market research and the specification, the design team looks for solutions to combine the principal's requirements to the market requirements.

Development of several design concepts

Depending on the client's requirements and design needs, product design can consist of one design concept as well as ten, in case you expect a design project for new products you will usually need a little more concepts than if you want to modify a design that has already been on the market for several years and do not need to create a product design from scratch. The number of design concepts is usually determined during the first studies of the project, when the first required design features of the product are determined. This stage of work is usually the most interesting for the customer himself, as he can see what his product will look like, and he also receives several completely different designs, which he must analyze and choose the one he would most like to develop. Very important is the fact that the pricing of the design project varies depending on the number of concepts required.

Execution of corrections in the concepts based on the comments of the principal

After reviewing the concept design provided in the form of 3D models or drawings, the client can draw attention to possible improvements to the product and ask for changes to be made to a particular version of the product.

Development of visualization of the concept selected by the client

Once the concept that the client thinks is the most appropriate for the industrial product project being created is selected, the industrial design designer begins to create the visualization of the device, at which point we receive the marketing materials that will allow us to start selling the product we are about to launch.

Creation of a design for the construction of a particular device

On the basis of previously made concepts, the design team creates a complete design of the device, during this stage of work a professional design project of the product is created, including all the necessary visual and mechanical elements.

Making prototypes

During the implementation of a new product, a very important part of the designer's work is the making of prototypes of a specific design, we can confidently assume that every complex design project should have this stage of work. If the product specification assumes the use of components purchased from external suppliers then the designer, in addition to making a prototype, also deals with temporary coordination of the supply of components for the device. Due to the difficulty of this process and the huge amount of work involved in building prototype versions of the product, it is usually this stage that requires the largest budget. Of course, a great deal depends here on the customer, as he determines the number of prototype products he wants to receive.

Testing prototypes

The next step in the design process for a new product is testing of the device, the designer performs the tests according to the product specifications, verifies the correct operation and tests the prototype for proper performance characteristics. Testing usually takes place after one prototype has been produced so that if there are errors or problems with the design at low cost, corrections can be made and another improved version of the prototype can be created. Once the designer has done the testing then he can move on to handing over the prototypes to the principal to evaluate the quality and design solutions, which at this point we can see for ourselves.

Supervising research with testers

A very common move during the development of a new product is testing with external betatesters - they help to identify possible improvements to the overall product concept. During this stage, the designer collects information from the product testers and, based on this information, can make improvements to the design.

Making adjustments based on comments from those testing the product

After testing and gathering information from testers and discussions with the principal, the designer makes adjustments to enable the new product to be developed and adapted to a wider range of users, often principals opt for re-production of prototypes and further testing in case of significant changes in the design.

Preparation of project documentation

When the results of the work on the project are satisfactory and we conclude that we have achieved the right design project, the designer creates technical documentation that allows us to begin production of the device, at which time the person who orders the product design receives the entire set of materials necessary for any modifications in the design and analysis of production costs.

Supervision of the implementation of the device into production

When a customer expresses a desire for further cooperation with the design team, the team can also take over supervision of industrial work and support the customer during the start-up of production of its own equipment.

As we can see, the design process for interdisciplinary design projects is not just a few drawings and one 3D model, but a whole set of work related to the implementation of products on the market. Although there is a lot of work on the project, multiple verifications of design assumptions and numerous consultations ensure that we get a product that is well thought out, refined and designed in accordance with current trends in design and functionality.

How long does it take to design a product?

Glancing at the above paragraphs, we can easily conclude that the design of a device's design takes a long time due to the amount of work, but there are several criteria that determine the time it takes to get a complete design when implementing a new product.

The target audience to which the product is to be aimed - for products aimed at large audiences such as DIY fans, cat owners, car owners or computer gamers, it is easier to determine the real needs of users through surveys and interviews than for very narrow target audiences such as airplane pilots, owners of professional CNC equipment or store furniture manufacturers. The smaller the target audience, the more time it takes to find people with whom to conduct a survey, for example, the results of which will help customize the design.

The number of design concepts required - if the client requires only one design concept then it will take far less time to draw up than if the requirement is five different concepts that an industrial design designer must meticulously develop.

Size of the device - although this is not always an indicator of the duration of the project, we can assume that the larger the device we want to design, the more components it will have. The naked eye can also see the difference between an advanced beverage dispenser and a refrigeration sensor housing. Each designed component means more hours required for design, visualization, prototype construction and, most importantly, testing.

Testing with testers - this is a range of tasks, the duration of which is usually completely independent of the designer, but we include it in the duration of the project. If the client wants to test the functionality of the device among a group of 20 people for a week, then just coordinating the tests and collecting data will take far less time than if a group of 200 people test the device for a month.

In addition to the above-mentioned points, there are also many other dependencies that very often arise already during the work on the industrial design project. Depending on the project, we can adopt the terms:

  • 1 to 3 months for a simple project that does not involve more than two design concepts and does not provide for testing with users
  • 3 to 6 months for an intermediate project that does not assume more than three design concepts and anticipates testing with a small number of testers in no more than 2 weeks
  • 6 to 9 months for an advanced project that involves no more than three design concepts and anticipates testing with up to 100 testers in no more than a month
  • 9 to 12 months for an advanced project that involves three design concepts, production of advanced prototypes and testing with up to 150 testers in no more than a month.

However, it is worth remembering that these are only assumptions and determining the estimated duration of an industrial design project is possible only after knowing all the necessary information about the project.

Pricing of a design project - what does the cost of the project depend on?

When pricing the work of a design team, the scope of work that needs to be done to get the final design is of great importance. In the paragraphs above we can find information about the design dependencies that affect the duration of the project, again, the pricing of the design project depends on the criteria listed above, as well as the number of prototypes, the advancement of the design of the device itself, which particularly affects the design of the product, and the methods of the target production of the device. It is very difficult to give price ranges due to the fact that the creation of a design project proceeds differently in each project.

Jak przygotować się na rozmowę na temat projektu własnego produktu?

In order for the project team to quickly and as accurately as possible price and determine the duration of the project related to the implementation of products, information such as:-

  • planned time of product launch
  • list of target audience for the product
  • planned target cost of the device
  • detailed description of all product features
  • required number of design concepts
  • information on the required number of prototypes
  • information on the willingness to conduct tests

Once the project team receives the information listed above, it will be able to create a project quote and determine the possible duration of the project.

As we can see, the process of designing a new product is a very advanced process that will allow us to start production and later sales of a product aimed at specific target groups. Let's remember that product design is an element that can give us a huge advantage over our competitors and it is not worth giving it up in favor of universal solutions.

If you are interested in creating a design project or a full electronic product, feel free to contact us, we will be happy to give you ideas and design a great looking and working product!


Marcin Lesiński