Despite reading industrial designer recommended books and websites and talking to as many people as I can, I’m still vague on what kind of jobs and roles exist in the design industry. I thought of a specific example that I’d like to present here to see what “kind of designer” you guys think would do something like this.
My idea is to redesign a cyclery business. This would involve process design, POS system design, store layout, (retail design?), incorporation of other business models, etc. The goal is kind of two-fold: first fix research-identified efficiency problems in the existing business model, then diversify services to increase foot-traffic and grow a clientele base. Somewhere in between those, elements of the store will be thoughtfully designed to help achieve those goals.
So what kind of designer would do something like this? what kind of company would they work for? is this even “design”? In my efforts to explore parts of design beyond pretty pictures, I feel like this is design, I just don’t know what kind.
Most of what you described is “Retail Design”, but also could be considered Experiential Design. This sounds more like AD/Marketing agency type work than anything else, but projects like your example would most likely include other disciplines in addition to design.
QBP has (had?) a division that did almost all of what you described. The store layout was done by an Interior Designer and the other business/process related things were done by business/marketing types.
It’s certainly a cool concept. Trek also has a nice POS system (and store design for that matter) done in house.
I would suggest that perhaps you want to be an “Environment Design(er)”.
One of my profs at Purdue set himself up within an architectural firm that specialized in hospitality/restaurant projects; his niche was taking care the development of miscellaneous furniture, and hardware that was beyond the scope of an “interior” designer. He later went off on his own. If I’d been smarter, I would have followed him to Boulder in '84 when he invited me to become his “nut’s & bolts” vendor liaison guy … but I digress.
The goal is kind of two-fold: first fix research-identified efficiency problems in the existing business model, then diversify services to increase foot-traffic and grow a clientele base. Somewhere in between those, elements of the store will be thoughtfully designed to help achieve those goals.
There have been several shows on Discovery dealing with the “convenience store” market; how stores are laid out to direct customers to specific areas of the store; even to the point of which side of the door is hinged on a “soft drink” case to cause customers to proceed in a desired direction. Who designs convenience stores, and what areas of study do they pursue … probably not too hard to find out, if you’re motivated.
Thanks for the good information guys. Definitely helpful!
NURB - I’ve been looking at the retail services that specialized offers, but I didn’t even think to check QBP. I’ll definitely give it a look.
LMO - very interesting! I’ll have to drop him a line! The work on his website is definitely more of what I think of as just retail design, but it is certainly a piece of the puzzle. Good point on the convenience store design. I’ll check that out.
As a generalist, it breaks my heart to try and stick myself into only one role. I think that initially, I saw design as an overarching practice that provides the tools and methods for designing anything… and I still think so… Unfortunately, I don’t think that really translates to the job market. One of these days I’ll figure out where I fit! (lets hope it’s not too far away)
Q’s services may have been dropped due to lack of interest as they dealt with all kinds of shops. But I could be wrong.
Continuum has a Service Design discipline that touches on a lot of the motivating aspects of what you described. The physical elements would be done by other disciplines.
Whoa! that seems exactly like what I was envisioning! Thanks so much for the link!
BTW: I checked out your portfolio - love the kestrel stuff. I’ve seen a couple of the older sans-seat tube designs come through the shop I work at, but didn’t realize that there were new ones.