At parties and family get togethers it seems I am endlessly explaining what industrial design is, the two most common misconceptions (if there is one at all) are that it’s just pretty pictures and good times all day, or that its engineering and must be boring to do all that math.
Hope somebody comes up with something good… its hard enough trying to explain to someone what you do when you’re on a design course.
I don’t think you can explain it in any way which universally will be understood by everyone you talk to unfortunately.
You people are IDesigners and can’t even explain your passion? No wonder engineers amke fun of you! Remember that question" is ID a passion?" you IDers talked about in the other thread?
Let me make it really simple for you from an engineer perspective:
“As an I D person, for instance when I design an object: I imagine to get my creative juice flowing, I lay out the plan, I draw the object, I crtique the object and make improvements such as ergonomics, aesthetics, materials, costs, consider the market, I talk to engineers to make it feassible, then I make the prototype, and then review to make improvements again, talk to engineers and marketers and then we make the final product. Then we hope it sells and improve the standard of living for humans.”
God, you guys do this everyday and you can’t even explain it to your friends? Where is the burning passion?
Aah that old chest nut. A question that has a variable answers:
To the business man: ID is the physical, useful, usable and desirable embodiment of a brand. It is the marketing promise for-filled. The consumer satisfied.
To the lower/est common denominator: What was the last thing you purchased? “Blah” A product designer made you choose that one by making it look the like something you would want, at the price you could afford, over the other products on the same shelf / shop, etc …
To engineers who think that ID/ers have no credibility then I would suggest that you do not really understand engineerings relative place within business. True, it is far easier / more common place for engineering to be mutually exclusive but that does not mean that ID has any less value … to those businesses at least that understand the benefit of incorporating it into their strategy … which as you (Guest) point out is limited by IDers ability to justify the features and benefits their skills can bring to businesses ability to make money … and in the common language of business.
Good to see yet another potentially interesting and informative Core77 discussion thread hijacked and deteriorate into a waste of time for all concerned - I thought this place was supposed to moderated.
I just drop the “Industrial” and say I’m a Designer. People understand what a designer does. I’ve found that even if I get into a long winded expalnation of what ID is people still don’t get it. If they are truly interested in what I do they tend to ask and I will elborate often excitedly…
One of the best conference events I’ve ever seen was at IDSA’02 in Monterey. Dan Buchner and Katrina Galway (and a bunch of others) organized a workshop on giving the elevator pitch. About 40 people got up on a small stage, with Dan operating a countdown timer, and had 2 minutes (I think) to give their elevator pitch speech about what they do. You didn’t have much time to prepare, depending on how far down the list you were. Meanwhile, we were watching all the people do theirs and giving them a ranking.
The organizers videotaped everything, tallied the totals, and shared the best examples with the rest of the conference.
It was pretty amazing stuff. We had a great discussion at the end of the 40 pitches about what we thought worked and what some of the best principles were.
One takeaway that seems relevant here (if that story isn’t relevant) was that you needed to find a way to really condense the story down to very little - that you didn’t have a lot of time and that editing it down took a bit of work.
I make it real simple, I tell them we make stuff cool. I take old crappy shite nobody buys anymore and turn it into cool new stuff everybody will want.
Or sometimes I’ll say I’m the creative and artistic side of engineering. The easiest way I find is to just show an example. See this product, what don’t you like about it…we fix it, make sure it works correctly for you, and we try to find ways to make it even better and do more things. Then I’ll just show cause and effect…without us, computers would still be beige, bikes wouldn’t have shox, everything would be ugly, uncomfortable, and hard to use.
It is a hard thing to describe shortly mostly because regular people don’t think about it. You tell them you’re an architect, they know…you make buildings, they’ve been exposed to that. But nobody really thinks how products get made, don’t realize somebody made decisions on shapes, colors, and functions.
I think I will just say “Product Designer”. Then if they want to know more, I will say I design a product according to the market’s demand, whether it’s ergonomics, technological or aesthetically driven, and give the product the value that you will be willing to pay for.