jehan wrote:An "industrial designer" takes a grey box from engineering, makes it black, and adds some chrome trim. A "product developer" figures out what consumers want, why they want it, and works with a diverse team of proffesionals to fill the need, make it work, make it cost effective, and make it look good.
hey, sorry, i think i may not have expressed myself clearly enough in this last comment. I'm talking about the name
"industrial designer" and trying to make an argument for replacing it in some instances. I don't mean to criticize those who call themselves industrial designers. It's the dominant name for our field right now.
However, it seems like maybe it's not the best name because there's so much confusion over what we should call ourselves. Product design, industrial design, transportation design, toy design, furniture design. All of these refer to the art and science of producing new products and bringing them to market, along with the necessary research, conceptualization, styling, plus some manufacturing and engineering expertise. We hardly know what to call ourselves, why should the general public and even potential clients know?
Also, talking about the black box with the chrome trim may have sounded like I'm denigrating the styling side of things. Styling is an important part of the process, and can be a large piece of a product's appeal to the consumer. Many designers though, especially at smaller entreprenurial companies and consultancies, do much more than styling. These people might be better served by the term "product developer".
"Industrial Designer" is a name that is around 100 years old. The concept of "brand" as we know it today hardly existed and independent factories pushed their own generic products onto the market. An industrial designer adjusted automated wood cutting machines to produce parts for an acceptable chair, for instance. Or they drew up plans and instructions for skilled factory workers to partially handcraft products. This is no longer accurate. Worse, it confuses the public so much that most people think we design bridges or cranes.