Industrial Design Ideas: The Past to the Present

Amongst the many aisles of a department or grocery store, you will always or more often than not come across that one aisle with objects and whatnots covered in dust and worse, cobwebs. While the most common commodities such as food, candies, and liquors are being flooded by customers, the ones on the back usually are the neglected ones – the rejects. From old fashioned carbon papers, typewriters which I think nobody uses now ever since the age of the computers has begun, to polyester argyle dress socks that hung from plastic hooks.

It is a sad fact but all these products are now considered ugly, discomforting, difficult to use, and so useless that nobody will have ever wanted them – obsolete. But they were also the “in” thing 10 or 20 years ago! And ever since they rolled off the production, you will now see them rotting beneath flickering fluorescent lights, not given prior attention. Does this not make you wonder what makes one product relevant, useful and beautiful that it lasts decades; and yet another a fodder? What is it that makes one industrial design idea good and another bad?

It was taught in basic economics that the good products are the ones that consumers buy from manufacturers; and what makes an item last consists of not one but a lot of factors. It is like a spider web of form and function which allows an item to perform unmet needs, become outwardly attractive, handy, and efficient and effective. The good products have something in them that the bad ones don’t. The earlier items were made to fit the needs of the environment they came from – fishermen made hooks from bones to catch fish, foresters made arrows from wood to hunt preys. And later, as trade emerged between different cultures and countries, aesthetics became an important factor. Nowadays, if a product’s industrial design idea does not appeal to a consumer’s eye, it becomes ignored.

During the Industrial Revolution era, the price of items decreases as manufacturing processes increases. And by 1950, super industrialization has led to better production of goods thus making a more number available to more people. This was when trends ruled the industry. To keep cash flowing in, manufacturers have devised different ways of planned desuetude and created items in timely styles and fashions.

A good industrial design idea of a product revolves on how it works, the organization, manufacturing and thought that makes it feel just right. Before iPod came to the industry, for example, tons of MP3 players came out into the market – some of which are even more powerful than the iPod, cost less but were hard to use, unappealing to the eye and simply just does not make a lot of sense to many customers. Apple, the producer of iPod, took the time to think things over; gathered ideas based on the content of the MP3 players, reorganized them and developed a product that is not only pretty but convenient. The iPod out ruled the mp3 players not because of its technology but because of how it was designed.

If there is anything that we can take from the products of the past and the present, it is that the good ones exceed the physical appeal and the way its parts are put up. A good industrial design idea makes sense, bad ones do not. It is not what a product is made of that makes it a successful item in the market, it is the feel and comfort it offers the user. A product with a good industrial design idea makes us feel good.