Design has most definitely been adopted by business as if it had never been questioned - business and product design now walk hand-in-hand. But in it's adoption, design and indeed the designers have had to adapt. The early noughties illustrated designers as one of the greatest uses and benefits for governments and businesses. Designers no longer serve one innovative propose. Over recent years, the role of product designer has progressed in leaps and bounds, introducing a myriad of new angles to the entire designing process. There's a lot to be considered from the point of simply an idea for a product, social aspects now playing a huge part in a product's success, speciafically the commercial product designing sector.
Before our modern day, designing was wholly established by the design craftsmanship and exhibition of sketches in which the finest would be chosen; the manufacturing course to follow and then there exists the end product. The designer would often hold a pioneering role throughout the entirety of both the design and the manufacture. What is the unique selling point of your product going to be? These key specifics would be decided on within the early stages of the design process, all now taking into account thorough social research.
In spite of that, with the mindset of today's society, 'user-centered' approaches seem a lot more appropriate. There's now a certain degree of responsibility taken on from the designer's part to research the wider picture and social systems in which the product will be soon to emerge. Consequently, there has been an arrival of 'Design research' within the process. Sketch presentations have simply become part of the fabric rather than previously existing at the core. The new business acquisition demands ethnography and consumer insights, ergo the process of design had to change and become more informed in terms of relevance for the end user.
In terms of connecting with what our society calls for, businesses are now utilising their designers to great advantage, the question being asked to contribute in solving societal problems through their products. This could sometimes blur the primary purpose of the product, although the research essentially would add more value to its overall quality. The design-research approach will connect with the end user on a deep and emotional level, take apple for example. It's strange to think that before the iphone, mobile apps were non-existent seeing as there's now such a giant cash cow market for them.
About Author: This article is written by Rebecca Woods, who regularly writes on the topic of design and the process of designing an innovative product.