One area that has had its share of change is product design. The technology advances in both materials and methods seem to have been matched by client and customer expectations of product performance. It is an exciting time in product design – of that there is little doubt – but it is also challenging.
Across our March issue we will assess some of the changes in the world of product design and hear a wide range of views, from the very experienced to those just starting out on the product design road.
With the ever-increasing use of social media and the sharing of images, how do designers both keep their ideas fresh and deal with copying?
David Fox (David Fox Design): ‘I guess there are always things that have been done before, it is what twist you add to it, by experimenting on paper or 3D or trying new permutations – or it could be that you wake up in the middle of the night, suddenly influenced by something non-furniture related, such as how a building joins. So, to keep it fresh, keep refining the shapes, and trying different things.’
Craig Jones (Jones & Partners): ‘We are always looking for a set of USP’s in any design solution. This may appear in the form of materials, manufacturing or the ingenuity of a specific problem solved. Currently, for us, technology is playing a large part in our new innovations and we have had to learn quickly to satisfy our clients’ requirements. One of our philosophies over the past 10 years has been to broaden our involvement in the development of things outside of the furniture industry. This allows us to bring a fresh approach to all of our projects as we have different levels of challenges for each one.’
Barry Jenkins (BroomeJenkins): ‘There are obvious examples of products that deliberately copy another. However, in the vast majority of cases, new products are more likely to be derivative rather than deliberate copies. Being truly innovative in any sector is difficult. For a host of commercial and technical reasons, it is especially so with furniture design. That said, all product design is about application and execution. Although any new product will inevitably conform to type, there is scope to innovate with both the application and the execution to make the design ‘original’.’