These are the steps to go from the ideation stage to the final product.
Humans have been creating things for thousands of years. First for survival and then for trade. The way of creating things has been changing from time to time. Today we will talk about how to make a successful physical product. Many of us have a brilliant idea about a product at one time or other in our life but it remains an idea and never comes to life.
To create a successful product, first you need to have a working physical and tangible product, then you need to find the customer, then the customer has to easily find the product, and finally to have a good after-sale service to retain the customer. I am not an expert in all of these areas but as an industrial designer, I can share my workflow of how to proceed from an idea to a product.
Every good thing starts with Research. Here you have to do research about User and Product Technology. Start with the research about current products in the market, Analyse their shape, size, working, material, function, features, their Advantages, disadvantages (everything you can get to know about them), This process is called Benchmarking, You can research & select 5-6 or how many you want, make a comparison of all the things listed above, This will give you a clear idea of what other people an doing right & what they are doing wrong.
For the user survey, you have to make a questionnaire regarding the questions or the confusion that comes to your mind regarding the product after the research. You can either use an online survey or google forms etc. or you can go for personal interviews and questions. Now both are completely different interactions with users and there are different sets of rules for the type, number, and order of the questions but that is a completely separate topic which we will cover in a different post.
Now after the result of the survey, you have insights into the features and the needs of the user.
So you can create two or three imaginary personas. Personas are imaginary people with the characteristics of a potential user. You have to define his or her demographics, what he does, how much he makes, and what are his or her challenges and objectives. you can also create a storyline for how the user normally uses the product and find the pain points he or she faces while using the product or around it. This will give you a more clear view of what problem to focus on more and what to focus on less.
After analyzing all these different scenarios you should be able to summarize your design brief in one sentence sometimes also called a need statement. It clearly defines who wants what and how etc.
After clearly defining the brief, now you have an objective to achieve and a direction to go in. Now you can start focusing and studying deeply about the technologies and start thinking about some concepts about what the product will look like, and how will it work. Now here the material, shape, aesthetics, usability, features manufacturing process, everything goes hand in hand.
You can use Post-it notes with different sorting methods or you can use the Miro app or website to collect and organize your research.
2). Concept Generation and Refinement
For the first concept generation process you have all the freedom, try to put out all the ideas and shapes onto the sketch paper. You can do ideation by sketches or using rough 3d models, it's all about giving your ideas shape. If you are not comfortable with sketching, do modeling, if not that do scribble. It's all about giving your ideas a visual shape. From there you can start defining and developing the ideas that you like and that look feasible. Prototyping is a good method of refining the shape, size, and textures of your concepts. You can use clay, foam, wood, or 3d printing to prototype the concept.
3). 3D modeling and Rendering
After developing a rough idea on paper, you can go to any 3d modeling software and give your concept a 3d visualization. Now if your product has multiple components and subassemblies, always make sure to model the components and subassemblies, and assemblies individually so that you can finally combine them into a single product assembly. This will also help you in creating manufacturing drawings of single components and subassemblies. You can also use these 3d models for a quick prototype with 3d printing.
Along with the 3d modeling you can create rough renders in keyshot to see how the material and shape will look on your concept. You don’t need to create a cinematic render at the start. Just apply materials and have a good lighting environment to see how it comes out. For final renderings for marketing and branding, you can spend more hours on rendering, textures, and render time.
For 3d Modeling, you can use Rhino, Blender, 3d max ( for organic shapes) and Solidworks, inventor, and fusion 360 ( for parametric and assemblies). For Product Rendering, Keyshot is widely used by professionals.
The next thing you have to do is document your design. It includes making manufacturing drawings of all the components, sub-assemblies, and assemblies. There are certain standard rules that you need to follow for the drawings. You can find the rules anywhere on google or in any youtube video. Or you can go to a manufacturing company with the 3d models and their design engineer can do it but it always helps to have a little knowledge of how to do it. Other important documents are the Materials report, Manufacturing Report, Technical Report, and Bill of Materials.
After Product Development
After all these steps to manufacturing, you finally have your product. Now you have to make the consumer aware of your product. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU DESIGN OR WHAT YOU CREATE IF THERE IS NO ONE TO ACTUALLY BUY AND USE IT. So you have to do marketing and product placement for your product. I am not an expert in marketing and branding but today you have social media, which can start organically and tell people about your product. This was not possible 20 years ago, so if you are just starting out, use it.