Europe VS US

Just wondering what’s the difference between a working environment in Europe and US. How different is the approach of design process, how much time and emphasis do they spend on various stages of design ( concept VS refinement VS whatever).

For you guys who have worked in both sides of the world, where do you prefer and why?

I’ve spent 4 months at the MIAD in USA during my studies (I’m a french designer). I’ve experimented the american approach of design. I think that the most important difference is the first stage. In France (I suppose in Europe but I’m not sure) we think a lot…maybe too much! We do a lot of researches in various fields : sociology, history, philosophy, symbolism, … we never draw during this time. It’s just analysis, and most of the time (for long project) the first presentation is a synthesis of it, with 3 possible orientations for the next stage. Then you have a concepts search and the final design.
I think that the american approach is more in the “action”. You take a lot of time in the research on the perfect shape. (That was my student point of view)
Our approaches are so complementary…!! That’s exactly why I want to work in USA. I think that combining these ways of working is the key to a successfull work. :smiley:

Hmmm… I see what you mean, and that probably accounts for the difference in design between those that come from the 2 sides of the world.

I find European designs more appealing whereas US products have better userability, but not the case with cellphones.


hmmmm E=mc2

American designers should study and internalize the European method, it would clear up a lot of the shlock I see around, but the European designer too can learn a lot from the American effiecentcy.

My first designer director taught me that a designer should be able to see the solution as the problem is presented; today I utilize both schools of thought to solve problems and implement quick solutions.

What you learn today in school will not begin to make sense until 3-4 years after graduation. Be patient.

In my experience with both european and US design markets. I have found the biggest difference being that the average consumer in europe is more comfortable buying “trendy/chic” products. US consumers tend to look but feel uncomfortable buying the same product. I feel that what the consumer market buys dictates a lot about how a company views and places importance on the different stages of design process

The consumer market causes the difference in design process and how that effects the work environment. Perhaps this is the reason why US designers jump into sketching so quickly…to gather approval of the product form instead of the idea? Perhaps the european market reacts more to the thought behind the product in addition to the visual asthetics?

American companies spend a lot of time on research too. But idea generation is an even more important phase too. The more fuel you have in the form of research, the more ideas you can generate.
I agree with AMPs observation. For example look at the power-tool market.
These are some European based companies- Fein, Metabo, Hilti

As you can see, they are very sculptural forms. Europeans have a higher threshold for “designed” products.
American consumers on the other hand seem to be more conservative

Perhaps this is changing. There has been a lot of coverage of ID in Newsweek and Time magazine, so perhaps consumers are getting an appetite for functional AND good looking tools.

When it comes to the U.S. I think a lot has to do with the product. The more technical and utilitarian the more the U.S. consumer is concerned with performance (and less on aesthetics.)

Granted if its something one would see all the time in their home (microwave, dishwasher) then the aesthetics become important as well.

It seems that the U.S. puts a different value on aesthetics. I’m willing to bet that if dewalt made a more organic shaped product, the consumer would think it was for the home market, for women, or non professional use… and doesn’t have as high performance.

Remember when the the iMac came out. Here in the U.S. many thought it looked like a toy (except the designers loved the look.)

I know every company that is conscious about their designs will have a strict design code that they follow to retain the same brand identity on all of their products.

I did ask 2 designers from UK who are working in the US and they don’t find that much of a difference. However I do understand what you guys mean.

So am I right to say that generally European designs spend more time making the product more appealing whereas American designs have more emphasis on it’s performance?

MIAD is more fanatical about sketching, modelmaking and styling than most US design programs because it’s an art school with a BFA degree. Most BS-degree ID programs are more academic and therefore more research-focused.

In Europe, I designed dildos and tested them on real women.
In the US, we tested them on dolls. That’s the difference.

Have a look at the link in my sig

Unlock phones music soccer tv Cheap mp3s get back on ebay even after suspension
Money reading emails
Male entertainers
Improve your golf score in 2 weeks
Stop smoking within a week
Amazing paypal loophole a must for buyers and sellers
Get £5 for absolutely free
Get £4 for joining ebay and bidding absolutely free

… i am still thinking about the dildo argument…

focus groups are widely used in the US, which is not really helping when designing a product…