need iinfo from designers for a project in school

hi im doing a project in school that has to do with the life styles of young industrial designers in their 20’s. We have to design a piece of furniture for the product that fits into the lifestyle of our selected group. I just need to know what piece of furniture is the most important piece in your daily routine. where do you spend most of your time at home? do you live in a house or apartment? What draws you into buying a piece of furniture? if it looks good but expensive, will you still buy it? Any information will be useful.

Thank you

no offense, but that’s a pretty weak criteria base. sounds like you are designing for a group of people you already know, which would require the least amount of effort.

maybe you might want to reconsider your target. 20-something, college graduate, “i have arrived” sort of people. they are done with school, employed, have a little money to spend, yet they are looking to demonstrate their taste and maturity through a purchase like this.

you need to consider the scenario, start doing some REAL research, which would involve actually turning off the computer and start visiting stores and looking for trends in the marketplace.

most importantly, you need to break out of your comfort zone and design for the unknown and use some analytical thinking to move beyond.

if you’re asking designers in a “furniture” forum what they look for in their furniture buying decisions, you’re really asking the wrong people. personally, i typically deconstruct most furiture i buy to check the quality of it’s manufacture. this happens after i am please with the design and functionality. if i am looking for a a quality piece, i am willing to shell out the $$. then again, i’m 34 and i don’t like spending money on crap unless i need to.

the criteria is from my teacher. we have to choose a group in their 20’s that have real jobs out of school, young professionals.they have to be design conscious. the piece has to be RTA. sorry if i confused you. just dont know anyone out of school in their 20’s that have a real design job. i dont want to look at trends. i want to be original. i just really need to know what piece of furniture you use the most at your house/apartment, or is used most in your daily life.

again, you’re missing the point.

if you look at trends you can see these key points to help you in your design:

the design conscientious of the average consumer has been raised.

seeing what is currently in the market allows you to see what is already done and improve on that. NOT doing this runs you the risk of inadvertantly designing the same_thing. also, by introducing a trend board into the concept, you are communicating an awareness and forethought about the end-user. originality is one thing, being lazy is another.

What a terrible basis for a project. Not to pile on, but do you really need us to tell you what piece of furniture we use the most? Surely you live in a furnished house or apartment yourself. 20 something designers sleep in a bed (just like you), sit at a chair and table to eat (just like you), sit on a chair at a desk to work (just like you), and watch TV on a couch (just like you). In terms of hours used, for most people the bed is going to win, with the desk coming in a close second.

you dont have to belittle me and stuff. i posted the criteria my teacher wants. first off i am a college student living in student housing and second i need to know what is the most important piece f furniture in your life if you are a professional designer in your mid or late 20’s. since i do not have a design job and not in my mid to late 20’s i came here looking for help. i mean do u live in an apartment. Do you spend most of your time in your office. I just need to know your lifestyle as a designer to and/or what you would consider the most important piece of furniture in your daily routine. i did not make the criteria, my teacher did, so dont put me down and everything. just looking for help

you can lead a horse to water.

Hey Kung Fu Jesus,

I am not trying to high-jack this thread but I was wondering if you could put your professional view on something related?

I am in the mid-west and the stores in this tend to stock just about the same thing in different colors and fabrics. Armed with the thought that the instore referance is little help (and I have looked at most of them) where would you reccomend looking forreferance about the current trends for different demographics?

Also how would you reccomend getting information on what future trends might be? For example I understand that most of the roundness in the auto industry in the early 90’s came from the boxiness of the 80’s and such. Now that the housing market is slowing down and from what I have read the remodeling has also slowed where would some one turn (fashon, environmentalist, industry, culture)? I also understand that this could be controlled by the style that someone would be designing in but how much.

Do you have any suggestions on where to start looking for trend information for any product line (ie a series of books in a good library, access to a marketing referance, a person in the marketing profession (and how someone might find out whom they are?) When I tried to talk to sales people in the stores I get the brush off once they realize that I am not looking to buy a $399 sofa that looks the same as the $350 one.

I understand what you are saying about the other request but I was interested in looking deeper and I am not sure where to get real good info. Marketing trends were not something that was taught for me in school and I never understood the business side of business anyway.


market and trend research in furniture is a little trickier than most other areas of design. there are specific markets, age groups, styles, and trends you are always trying to appeal to. you live in the mid-west, which is where i’m from and i understand your plight. middle america is the profit honey-pit for most furniture manufacturers. appeal to the masses, you hit the sales bell curve, so to speak. in terms of the furniture you are looking at, think of them as camrys, accord, and tauruses: they don’t do anything particularly well, but they are comfortable, relatively moderately priced, and don’t offend in appearance. that’s what sells to the market (in north america).

the key to a sucessful furniture design, in my experience, is hitting the target function. after that, the segment of the market, then cost. the company i work with has no marketing department, so i partially rely on their sales statistics to see what is successful for us. this is NOT the only indicator, tho. i have to rely on my experience with branding, segment research, consumer perception, and design skill to MAKE my concepts stick.

for trends, i look all over. i watch all consumer markets. my main feelers are on electronics, automotive, fashion, home and garden, and architecture. fashion and color is among the most important to me. materials, fabrics, color trends, etc. can really sell a concept i have or kick it to the curb for future consideration. i have a co worker that maintains our materials library. i listen to her input and new findings. you can find similar information by attending seminars by major fabric or materials suppliers (like dupont, for instance). colors and color trends are easy to pick up on if you are perceptive to them. magazines and advertisements are on top of them. you just need to pick up some magazines that appeal to the market you are attempting to design for. a while back, i was designing a desk for children 7-16. the best trend information i found was buying magazines that were targeted to male and females of that age. as insipid as some of these were, i was able to pickup on fashion trends, color trends, and lifestyle. of course, it’s a generalization, but it helps to get you into the head of the end-user.

as for books, i suggest you start with Robyn Waters’ books. search her on amazon or at your library. she writes excellent, easy to understand books about trends, trend forcast, and market analysis. from there, good data can be found in American Demographics Magazine, Fast Company, and so forth.

Designing for furniture, you rarely get to design for yourself, so you have to be unselfish in your concepts. Don’t be afraid to go out and look for help. A lot of industry magazines are free (Furniture today), and offer online subscriptions. a lot of their information is dry, but occassionally, a nuggeet of information appears and you can run with it.

Lastly, i can’t tell you how important trade shows are. you can get a year’s worth of information and inspiration from one good show (like NEOCON, for example). interacting with other designers casually is also a huge help to me. don’t be afraid to admit your ignorance to others in these aspects. it helps create new avenues of thinking and information sharing.

i hope this helps a little. feel free to pm me and we can discuss it over email if i missed some points.


First thanks a million for all of the great info! I have to absorb it and then make sure that I understand before I can ask more questions but belive me I will be asking them. Also thanks for the offer of the PM for more help I will be taking you up on that once I get some more questions.