What is a product designer?

By JORDAN O'CONNOR
23/10/19

One of the most interesting things I’ve learnt being a product designer is that a lot of people don’t  actually know what a product designer is. The usual response to “I’m a product designer” being “so what’s that, graphics and the like?” has always intrigued me, simply because, I thought, the clue was in the name. 

It’s completely understandable of course, when I think about it. The term product in this day and age means so much to so many different people, anyone in software fields for example, refer to products even if it’s lines of code that create a type of service. But to a product designer, it usually is reserved for a very specific thing, a physical object, something of value, that takes its shape in the physical 3D world. 

PROD-UCT 

noun
  1. 1.
    an article or substance that is manufactured or refined for sale.
    “food products”

Take a look around you, I bet that most of the items you see, whether it be the chair you sit on, the table in front of you, the phone you use, the pen you write with, the speakers you’re listening to, the… you get my drift, have all been designed or influenced by a product designer. 

One of my favorite ways of characterizing the profession was how a previous lecturer of mine once described it, you see an engineer on one side, and a fine artist on the other, we sit somewhere in the middle of this spectrum bridging the gap between logic, creativity, expression and beauty. 

“Our role is to imagine products that don’t exist and guide them to life”

Christopher Stringer

And so that is, I think, what a product designer was, someone that could conceptualize ideas, and turn them into physical entities, ready to enter the market. Now though, that blurry line of physical vs digital design resembles more of a cloud, sorry I couldn’t help myself… and as product designers we look at far more than just the design process of a physical object. 

 

We have become multidisciplinary, jack of all trades, master of some! To be relevant in today’s market, and design a stand out product we need to know everything from trends today and tomorrow, route to market strategies, the accompanying brand that will allow it to flourish, sales channels, business design, website design, and why not! if we didn’t do this, can you imagine how many different agencies you would have to go through to get everything covered for a new product launch. 

 

With this new definition of a product designer encompassing so much more than I ever expected when I first entered the field, I guess my new response to “so what’s that?, graphics and the like?” is now a resounding “Absolutely”.

DONT LEAVE IT TO CHANCE

If you find yourself lost in confusion with getting an idea off the ground, or don’t know the necessary steps in moving from concept to reality, get yourself a good designer, they have tried and tested processes, and are natural problem solvers!  

 

Got a product idea in mind but unsure what’s next ? Drop our product designers a call or email for a free chat on what to expect. 

 

+44 (0) 7593 709 713

contact@island8.co.uk

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