Monday, January 31, 2011

Product Design For Everyday Items

We are proud to feature some new articles here on The Rural Stops blog site.  Today we feature an article from Anna Stenning.  We hope you like it.

Take a look around you and every single thing that you see will have been through the product design process. The process is a lot more complicated than you might think. Simply coming up with an idea and having somebody just make it is never that easy. 
Self proclaimed inventors have come up with myriad ideas over the years, all ones they thought would be great ideas. Some have taken off, some have been ahead of their time and been in need of refinement and many more have fallen by the way side.
There has also been some, lets say, unusual items developed from product design that have actually made it into production only to become objects of awe that anybody would bother to make them!
To begin with, an inventor would need to come up with an idea. This has to be something useable, marketable and saleable. It ideally needs to be either something unique or a better take on something already in existence. For example, the vacuum cleaner was a marvellous invention. 
It saved housewives untold amounts of time and energy cleaning floors.
Over the years, this technology has been developed further to create ever more effective vacuum cleaners until today when a recent invention bought us the robotic vacuum cleaner that you can just switch on and leave to do its thing.
The vacuum cleaner is, again, the ideal example for the next stage of the process. The idea needs to have a target audience, it needs to be needed. It can be a solution to a problem or an entirely new idea that serves a specific task.
Design solutions will follow. The initial idea will more than likely need adjustment to meet the needs of the consumer. It will need initial problems smoothing out from the look of the product to developing the technology to make the idea a working prototype and choosing the right materials.
Producing the prototype (the first working model) is next. Fabricating and manufacturing a new product is a lengthy and expensive part of the process. Machinery has to be reprogrammed and set up and mistakes will no doubt be made along the way.
When you finally have your prototype, you will begin the even longer process of marketing the product. People are innately suspicious of new products. They question whether they need it, whether the marketing spiel is all hype, whether it is worth the cost, whether or not there is a further market they can sell it on to in order to make money, all types of issues that you will need to get over. Will you be selling direct to individual customers or to a manufacturer who can then sell it for you?
This article is not meant to put you off from venturing down the road of product design but simply as a warning that the road is complicated. That said, if you have a great idea then go for it. It is the only way we ever get these great inventions that make our lives easier.

Anna Stenning is a budding inventor and knows the difficulties of the product designprocess. For more information please visit

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