So you have a great idea for a new product, or at least you think it’s amazing and you can’t get it out of your mind! It’s exciting but also very intimidating. There are so many things to consider before you release a consumer product to market.
So Watt is founded and run by Industrial Design duo Jonathan Biet and Sophie Bain, who both have a bachelor of Industrial Design gained from QUT, RMIT, UNSW and complimented by a 6 month program at TU Delft in The Netherlands. They want to share their tips with you! Here is their step by step guide on being a modern-day inventor.
Start by listing your ‘non-negotiables’. Create a hierarchy list of design elements you are not willing to negotiate on, such as $RRP or material choice. This is important to check back on at every fork in the road so that you stay on target and are happy with the end result.
Research, read, observe, test. There is a saying that ‘there is no such thing as a new idea’. It may seem depressing, but it actually means ideas are born from inspiration gained by seeing something similar. Get out there and interact with product similar to yours and become a specialist on them.
Create a list of fixed parametres that your product will need to work around based on your research. For example, the dimensions of any other complimentary off-the-shelf components, or materials that your clients or retailers dislike. For example, don’t design a drinking vessel that relies on a plastic straw, thankfully these are being banned world-wide!
The most satisfying and valuable thing you can do before engaging a professional is to get crafty. Rapid prototyping teaches us physical boundaries we won’t have considered while writing and sketching. Make several short 'sprint' prototypes using cheap materials like scrap paper. Make sure they are not anything time consuming or expensive so that you are comfortable with cutting them up and doing it again or throwing them away. Try to make as many as possible, even if you make one that you don't think will work as you might discover something in the process!
By brainstorming and even storyboarding a scenario of your customer using your product, all the way from seeing it on the shop shelf to throwing it out at the end of its life, you may come across a few other things to consider in your design, i.e. carry handles. Also consider cleaning of the product and what will happen to it at the end of its life. This is also known as the cradle-to-cradle approach and plays a big part in sustainable design.
By now you will have learnt a lot and it’s time to re-focus. Compile all your most valuable learnings into a portfolio or research document that you can take with you to meetings with Industrial Designers or manufacturers. They will be able to understand your project instantly and intimately allowing these professionals to give you the best possible advice or production quote.
Budget and $RRP
It’s really important to remember that designers and manufacturers cannot guarantee, or even estimate, the success of your product in today’s competitive markets.
Build in check-points along the way where you can stop and asses how you’re tracking, for example a once per month review
Assign a budget allowance that you are comfortable with never seeing again. Once you start this journey you may find it’s just not feasible and you have to put it on ice after already investing funds.
Prototyping is always disproportionately more expensive than mass-producing products. This is mainly due to the hours of set-up and testing of machinery and materials.
If you’ve ticked all these boxes and you are pumped to get started on your road to be the next big thing, give us a call.
We offer free 15-minute phone consultations with either Sophie or Jonathan to get you started.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a general summary of your project and we will assign the best person to advise you.