decisions for product housing

I am curious as to who generally makes decisions regarding housing (ie the outside) of products, in your experience. Is it engineers, designers, marketers, or does it depend? How much is usually spent on housing (per part, or compared with the products’ insides)?

I presume you are piggy backing this to the other post. Im my experience it has been dependent on the image or theme that is being depicted through the product or the brand. Generally this has fallen into the hands of the designers, however I have run up against marketing heads who have argued for the cheapest possible reguardless of percieved value and quality of the item. To push past them you need to have strong convictions as to why more attention, time, and money need to be spent on the “Damn Box” as it was refered to most recently, and in buisness and marketing terms…ie what is the impact on sales and brand image.

As for cost it all depends on the cost of the system as a whole, and the intended retail vs. desired margins. I have seen medical products thats housing cost twice that of the internal components and assembly cost, and I have seen products were the housing assembly was cheaper than any one of the internal components. There is no general rule that I have seen.

Most important is that you as well as the company/client have a strong vision of the product theme/embodyment and every component, detail, and finish need to reflect that image. And you need to have the language and guts to convince people who only see the $ and not the $$ that is possible through rethinking some of the —cut costs at all costs— walmart marketing mentality.

If you were to conduct an audit of every commodity product sold at WalMart, I’m guessing that less than 50% of all objects involved a professional designer. More than likely, it was engineering, with input from marketing on color.

At Target, it’s probably 10%.

At my house, it’s probably 5%.

ML, great info, thanks so much. I guess the answer is “it depends.”

cg, Do you mean that 10% of Target products have designers, or that 90% of Target products have designers?

he meant 90. target and design are pretty synonymous these days

This would make a great informal study on the present state of design.

Next time you go to a store, pick an aisle. Of the first 10 products in that aisle, how many could obviously benefit from better design? Repeat in a few different aisles in different departments.

Then repeat at a different store.
Then repeat in your own home.
Then repeat in a non-designers home.