in my experience, the role of industrial design is always a little different from job to job but generally, i have always regarded my primary role as an industrial designer to be that of consumer advocate within the product development process. one, because no one else is doing it, they all have other concerns, and two, because i am the least unqualified to do it. i synthesis divergent concepts from ambiguous information and champion solutions that converge within project parameters. i also attempt to keep engineering and marketing from mucking things up in the end, with varing degrees of success.
“The industrial designer is the advocate for the user in the product development process.”
I heard this somewhere and I liked the sound of it. The ID guy is the only person in the process that looks out for the needs of the user. Everyone else is concerned with selling it, reducing cost, manufacturing it, etc…
you might check out the IDSA.org for the ‘official’ job description, but fitting engineering criteria into marketing demands (or vice versa) or, the “art of compromise”. I know that’s simplistic, but it’s almost too complex to accuratly describe without using case studies.
I think that is well put. The designer is also the only person on the entire product development team who is tasked with being creative. It is our job to push the other functions out of their collective comfort zones and show them what the product COULD be vs a styling excersize over what is the current norm, based on what we believe the consumer will want/need by the time the product comes to market. If we don’t push things, no one else will.
it’s very difficult to define the role of ID in business because sometimes it’s minimal other times vital depending on how or why you come across design as a solution to improve your product. when i say product i’m talking in a broad sense not just an object or service, but maybe even the way you design the format or conduct in an organization.
so in that way design is more helpful at a theoretical level than a concrete worked out model as business people are used to.
so it’s better either to look at ID as a possible parallel process which is integrated into a system (like brand for instance) or as a module that can fit with the rest of subdivisions in a network ( like a facilitator).