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  • The basics of industrial design & appearance design?

    Discussion in 'Industrial design' started by MechEngineer, Aug 31, 2009.

    1. MechEngineer

      MechEngineer Member

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      Would anyone care to divulge the basics of industrial/appearance design? Are there any basic rules or fundamentals that should be observed, or is a basic matter of making products look nice as well as being manufacturable and doing the job they're intended?

      Sorry to sound a bit ignorant, but as a mechanical engineer I haven't come across this discipline in my field, and I'm not used to such subtleties. :)
       
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    3. sirgabe

      sirgabe Member

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      Hi MechEngineer-

      I'd say like any other design discipline, it is important to remember 2 things-

      1.Design of any flavor is NOT going to save the world. (Although it may make life more interesting/easy/profitable.)

      2.A great book put out by William Lidwell called Universal Principles of Design-
      http://www.amazon.com/Universal-Princip ... 749&sr=8-1

      Basically put-use nature as opposed to brute force to design your solutions.
      There is no magic fairy dust though. For every complex problem there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong-H L Mencken.
       
    4. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      Hi MechEngineer (like the name!)

      I agree with sirgabe's comments but could add some thoughts that I have had over the years when working with mechanical engineers. A bit basic but may help...

      1. Always have a review of the design and try to simplify the shape or assembly. Simple is best for me and usually means a better part for production and assembly. example is a hifi product we did some time ago http://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/hfw/reviews ... cameo.html

      2. Little things - look at the rads etc and try to 'tie them in' with other features/areas of the product. Ie make sure the size is consistent. Had this on a stage light recently where the base had to relate to the light itself. A simple but very effective approach.

      3. Try to keep features common in the horizontal or vertical. This may or may not work depending on the product. Useful where you want to emphasize height or width.
      example - this Fluke PAT we designed has large rads on the vertical but very small (2mm) on the horizontal (This product also has a step to 'lift' the product off the desk). This also illustrates point 2.
      http://www.test4less.co.uk/details.asp? ... oductID=98

      4. If physical changes are difficult then look at colour and materials / textures. A cheap and quick solution if the budget does not allow for anything more extensive. example from black to light gray graphics and a new logo http://www.wharfedalepro.com/Home/Produ ... fault.aspx

      5. Its all in the detail.

      The list could pobably go on....
      Hope this helps.
       
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    5. vrkartik

      vrkartik New Member

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      hi,

      i think the basic thing in design is that the purpose of the design problem should be fulfilled. The design should serve the purpose it has been designed for.
       
    6. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      I think this may help -

      Dieter Rams' Ten Principles of good design:
      Good design is innovative.
      Good design makes a product useful.
      Good design is aesthetic.
      Good design makes a product understandable.
      Good design is unobtrusive.
      Good design is honest.
      Good design is long-lasting.
      Good design is thorough down to the last detail.
      Good design is environmentally friendly.
      Good design is as little design as possible.
       
    7. garnettools

      garnettools Member

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      Similar to Mech Engineer, I too am concerned to make my designs look better and attract the users.
      We have tried many a things in doing the same for example - changing the colours, changing the paint, improving the quality of fabrication, deleting welding, cleaning casting with sand blasting etc....
      But still would like to have some more regions are left untouched like beautification of safety measures and electrical/electronic gadgets using ergonomics etc...
      If anyone can consult me in the same, I will be grateful.
       
    8. BigJoe

      BigJoe Member

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      Industrial design is about taking disparate and often conflicting constraints and synthesizing them into a beautiful, functional form. This is incredibly difficult to do well.

      The Universal Principles of Design book mentioned by sirgabe is a great place to start.

      For some insight into the meaning of form have a look at this post: On Form, Curvature, and Emotion
       
    9. mvalenti

      mvalenti Well-Known Member

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      Let me first say that I got my start in the field working for an industrial design firm. I had no idea that this field exsited before this. We had the advantage over most other Industrial Design firms due to the fact we had an in house mechanical/manufacturing engineer. Most industrial designers bring beautiful aethetics to products but sometimes fall short when it comes to manufacturability. Our clients were not huge companies with deep pockets, this was good in that it forced us to come up with simple yet elegant designs that could be produced in low as well as high volume.

      Jumping forward I have used many styling cues that I picked up from the designers and engineers I worked with at that firm. For instance, plastic bezels went from simple boxy shapes with minimal draft to sexy curved faces.The advantage of being a curved face is that it has build in draft, better manufacturability, as well as a sexier look. other ways industrial designers can bring is ergonomics and intuitiveness. A well thought out product should not require much thought from the user. My mantra when comming up with a new design is, can a 9 yr old child as well as an 80 year old lady use it.. Well this is my 2 cents on the subject. Great post!
       
    10. Camid

      Camid Well-Known Member

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      HI garnettools

      If you are feeling brave (and you are allowed) ... Maybe you could upload an image and we could all say how it could be improved (maybe we will think its perfect and you don't need to change anything!). It could be interesting to read designers and engineers view on what makes a great looking product. Rather than talking in the abstract. Cold hard reality is always best - well most of the time :)
      Just an idea....
       
    11. BigJoe

      BigJoe Member

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      Great idea, camid.
       

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