The 4 Gate Keepers of Industrial Design

When I got into design school, I had this ambition to be the best and design the perfect car. Sadly there are a lot of limiting factors that hold designers back from creating the “perfect” product. There have been many products since the inception of capitalism, and I can guarantee you that there isn’t one that has come close to being perfect. And why is that?


Many parts come into play when trying to design a product, but I think there are four significant factors that designers have to always take into account that prevent them from creating the perfect product:

The Market

I believe that the biggest thing that a designer has to study before designing a product is the market. The market dictates how a product is designed. Even if you had unlimited amounts of capital to fund the product, if there isn’t any demand for the product or if the design is too expensive to produce, then there won’t be any incentive in moving forward with the plan. Some companies will sacrifice some aspects of the design, like the materials in use to keep the end product cheaper to produce, thus giving the company a more significant margin for profit, while keeping the costs down. The primary goal of a business is to profit; you can’t profit if there is no market or demand for the product.

Technology

 Designers rely heavily on available technology for manufacturing solutions of their designs, but technological limitations sometimes stop designers from moving forward with a design. No matter how good the design is, if it is impossible to produce, then there is no reason for such design. We are limited to the manufacturing techniques that we have today, and as designers, we always have to keep these techniques in mind before we start our designs.

Physics

The physical limitations of materials used to create the product; the laws of physics are king; we cannot design a product that is impractical in terms of how it would function in the real world. Designers need to prioritize the things that are physically possible.

Patents

Patents are a good and a bad thing for design. It protects original ideas from being copied and unjustly profited from, but at the same time hinders progress in innovation and techniques. 


Designers bridge the gap between Consumers and Engineers. As designers, we always want to strive to innovate and create the best product, but we also need to incorporate some practically in the designs that we come up with and find a balance in it all. These are some of the challenges that designers have to take into account when designing a product. These constraints limit the possibilities of the final product, but I believe that as time moves forward and technological advances become more accessible, there will always be room for improvement for any product.