Are you looking for product design? We'll help you to design a great product. A complete product design project, in which we translate an idea into a serious product concept and then prepare for manufacturing, has a number of fixed components.
Strategy for product designDepending on the complexity of the product the different stages are longer or shorter. The first and very important stage is the design strategy stage. Defining meaning and direction for the product, and then translating this meaning into design, interaction and functionality is done by preparing a solid design strategy.
The product design strategy is based on a large number of tools and results in a 60 to 80 pages visual document that helps us to determine the strategic direction to the styling, interaction and functionality of the new product. We take into account both end users and also secondary users, like those who assemble, install, service or dismantle the product.
Product design: not a matter of taste, but a strategyWe believe that product design is not a matter of taste, but a strategic direction, that we already nail down with this Design Strategy. Based on core meanings, user observations and our styling tool we serve your team a styling direction that communicates both your company values and ambitions as well as the meaning a user will give to the product.
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Testing with proof-of-principle prototypesWhether we design a medical product, high performance sports product or a complex professional product, testing functionality with proof of principle prototypes in a very early stage is important.
We run research into potential components and solutions, selecting the best options, building quick rough solutions and then run many tests.
We test how components function together, how well the system performs on ergonomics and interaction and if a robust product is feasible with this solution.
Functionality and ergonomics are essentialBased on the results of the first testing with raw prototypes on users, we do more iterations. We optimize the concept solution, rebuild or change the raw prototypes and run new tests. Until we found a solid solution to continue to further develop the product design, the styling, the strategy and moving forward to 3D development and engineering.
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Development of form and user friendlinessThe process of concept design consists mainly of ideation, sketching, creating mockups, testing on users, making digital presentation sketches, building 3D models and continuously evaluating form and usability, till a perfect product design concept came into being.
From strategy to the best conceptWe use the design strategy conclusions as a start for our concept product design. We use the defined shapes, colors and appearances of the Design Strategy on our sketching wall as guidance and start the creative process of ideation and sketching.
For every product design project we create a small team of 3 or 4 designers that start sketching. They evaluate continuously on ergonomics, shape, fit into the strategy, technical solution, manufacturability and other factors. Some of the promising sketches are translated into foam mockups, to evaluate the shape in 3D.
During this process of concept design we offer you a 'look in the kitchen' session, where we share our decision making and decide on ambition level and best concept to move forward.
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Mockups during the product design processWe are used to build multiple mockups during concept design. In some cases these mockups are made of foam, sometimes from wood, 3D printed plastics, or other materials.
These quickly made mockups help us to evaluate shapes, understand proportions in more realistic environment then with sketches, and helps us to run ergonomic testing.
In other cases we want to test solutions in a very early stage with users. Then we have some parts made that are rough but functional and good enough to evaluate multiple variations with users.
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Robust product engineeringDuring the product engineering, an important part of the product design process, our focus is on functionality, quality and chosing robust manufacturing processes. Many issues are taken care of: selection of types of plastics or other materials, draft angles, assembly solutions, finishing, joints, edges and ribs, choice for the best manufacturing technology, textures, advice on injection points, spots where sink marks or ejector pins are not allowed and in-depth technical support towards manufacturing partners.
MaterialsDuring dozens of very demanding product design projects, both in the sports, consumer and medical fields, we have gained experience with a large set of materials and work closely together with material vendors.
We have experience in using for instance bio-compatible materials like LSR (liquid silicon rubber), medical grade engineering plastics and medical metals. In sports applications we used high performance engineering plastics, like glass filled Nylons, PEEK or simpler ABS / PC types of plastics, as well as high performance TPE and TPU's. Apart from plastics we have experience with metals, like copper, magnesium, stainless steel and lightweight aerospace aluminium like AL7068-T6511.
For other sports applications we gained experience in both natural as well as synthetic leathers and fabrics, both for shoes and bags.
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Product design iterations, the road to perfectionDuring the concept product design stage many small iterations have been made with mockups and shape models. And also during product development a number of iteration cycles are needed to optimize the product. We make high quality prototypes that come very close to the final mass manufactured product.
Together with your team we create a test plan and run both simulations and tests on the prototypes, with real users, impact tests, drop tests, functionality tests, temperatures tests, durability and performance tests. Every product needs its own testing. Each test shows defects or possible improvements that lead to optimization of the design. After a session of testing the design is modified and we enter a new iteration cycle, with an improved prototype that will be tested again.
From prototype P1 to PFMost product design projects have a process of development and creation of a first prototype P1 included, so that we can test basic ergonomics, functionality and usability. This prototype is made in the right materials, with the right finishing, the right coating, all very close as how it will be in manufacturing.
In many cases further development iterations are needed, to optimize the prototype for manufacturing. Based on a test plan we start cycles of testing and optimization. We test new prototypes on general functionality, durability, performance, assembly and run real life user testing. If the product needs to be tested on CE safety norms, MDD or other medical norms, EMC / ESD norms, or specific sports norms, then this is the time to organize that. This is also the moment to select manufacturing partners.
When all testing results are satisfactory, then mostly a final prototype PF is made, which forms the basis for further mould engineering and manufacturing preparations.