Hey folks. I hope I’m not stepping on any toes here, I will admit I only took a cursory look to see if there were any sticky topics I should peruse. The design community looks really interesting! And I can’t say I’ve even dipped my toes in, in fact, I’ve just learned that this ocean exists.
I came here because I wanted to know: if I wanted to make a toothbrush(and this isn’t entirely hypothetical), where should I start? Should I start playing around with DIY projects? Should I buy an industrial design book? I just graduated from school, but this has absolutely nothing to do with my major.
Like, from an entrepreneurial standpoint, what kind of timeline from product conception to creation are we talking about in both optimistic and realistic senses? And in general, if I wanted to supplement being an entrepreneur with a basic knowledge of industrial design… well, is that something I could do? Read some “Bibles” of Industrial Design?
Lots of questions, so I apologize. But it’s a pleasure to meet you all!
When you say you want to make a toothbrush:
Do you want to make 1? 100? 1,000,000?
Do you want to make one or design one? And by make, do you mean contract the manufacture of, import, sell, and ship them?
Lastly, but most importantly, why do you want to make a toothbrush?
If you’re looking at it from an entrepreneurial standpoint it’s important to realize that industrial design is only a small portion of going from an idea to a thriving business that sells toothbrushes. Heck, in many cases the core industrial design is only a small portion of the product development effort. Not to mention the manufacturing of the product.
If you’re a bit of an entrepreneur and want to get a grasp on industrial design, I’d suggest The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman. It’ll give you a scope for the importance of industrial design (specifically interaction design) in a very obvious and not glamorous way. DIY can be good but will ultimately force you down a path, the reality is that manufacturing capabilities are far beyond what’s possible in your kitchen. With that said, having a knack for creating prototypes and quick proof of concepts is really useful. Take things apart to understand how they were made. Also trying sketching out ideas. It’s an invaluable skill to communicate your ideas and will force you to think through an idea and build on it.
Tell us more about yourself, we may be able to give you more relevant info!
From an entrepreneurial standpoint, I would not be on an industrial design board.
Your question, a rather large one, is about business. I would start on amazon.com in their books section.
Like somebody said, there are 2 aspects to your question. A) Design & B) Business.
If you want to design a toothbrush then you need to learn as much as possible about the materials for the handles & bristles and the manufacturing processes for making them. To design it you need to make multiple prototypes. Get creative and play with foam, sculpey, cardboard, wood, existing toothbrushes, bondo, clay, plaster, etc. whatever you feel comfortable shaping and modifying. With each prototype you’ll learn something. Once you have a “final” design and prototype you can start looking into how to commercialize it.
The timeline for making a toothbrush is about one afternoon
What you really want is a sustainable business, based on an original idea. And then comes the toothbrush. How is it going to differentiate from the already existing ones? How are you going to get your brand to be recognized? How is it going to appeal to a specific population? You need a business plan first, even if it is only 5 pages. Once you have an idea based on initial user research/brainstorming/mindmapping etc you can start materializing it, which will infuse your creative thinking as well. I posted an idea to get you going. If you want to design it yourself I suggest to read up on the history of industrial design so you can place your design in a socio-cultural context, on materials and on form/3D design. Burdek’s ‘History, Theory and Practice of Product Design’ gives a good introduction of the field and Rob Thompson’s books are great for getting an overview of production and prototyping methods.