If an artist calls themselves a painter, what do they do? A painter looks at something – an object or an idea and they express their interpretation of it using paint. Sometimes it looks real like a photograph, sometimes it is just color. We know what a painter does.
A few less of us understand what a designer does. A designer is given a project or a problem and they need to resolve it using their medium. Maybe that medium is imagery, maybe it is fabric or furniture, maybe it is plastic. The goal is to use the designer’s medium to reach the clients end goal.
As an industrial designer, my title puts me in a place where I am designing for my client’s end goals using the medium of manufacturing. Manufacturing is HUGE! It could be glass or fabric or plastic or wood. It could be hand assembled or machined. The project might be smart or simple, aimed at adults in Asia or children in North America.
The process of understanding problems is what Industrial Design is all about.
What problem are you trying to solve? Do you have firsthand experience with the problem or did you see an opportunity you wanted to take advantage of? What other solutions already exist to solve this problem? What materials have been used? What solutions are consumers accustomed to for similar problems? Are they looking for something new and innovative or would comfortable and familiar be a better solution? How can I help you to understand the problem?
Understanding is the start. At this point, Industrial Design moves on to resolution. Every resolution creates new and often unforeseen problems. Therefore, innovation is always happening and always necessary. It is about choosing the right path to innovate that separates the good from the best. The best path is often made apparent through understanding.
Industrial Design is understanding.