What is Industrial Design?
Very simply put, Industrial Design is the part of product design that makes a product attractive and useful. Industrial Design takes four wheels and a motor and turns it into a Maserati that is comfortable and fun to drive while looking very sexy. Industrial Design takes a functional electro-optical device and turns it into an attractive and useful tool that customers want to buy and use.
Industrial Design is what takes a plain product, possibly your product, and makes it attractive and useful to your customers. Done right, Industrial Design greatly increases sales or creates new markets. The history of product design is full of examples of products that became hugely successful as the result of an Industrial Designer's work. People like nice-looking, useful things, and will spend more money for a product that not only works, but creates an image that is compatible with their image of themselves. Would you buy an ugly car that you can't stand to look at, even if it worked well and got great mileage? Or would you buy the best-looking car you can find for the price that does what you want? That is the principle that makes Industrial Design work.
Industrial Design is also a way of taking an abstract idea and turning it into a product. Using a list of requirements or an idea statement, a product can be designed to embody those requirements or illustrate the idea.
Industrial Design is not art or engineering, but involves both in an effort to create useful products with a refined expression of excellence in every meaningful way as it regards a product.
How does Industrial Design benefit you?
If you are producing a product that works, but you aren't satisfied with sales, Industrial Design may be what you're missing. Sometimes a very simple cosmetic treatment can make a huge difference in sales. If a redesign is in order, your product can be redesigned from the ground up to incorporate features that are attractive and useful to your customers while tailoring the design to your production methods. If you want to look at the entire product lifecycle to reduce environmental impact, Industrial Design can help you with that process. If you have a new idea that needs to be given physical form, Industrial Design can help you define your product in a way that best fits your customers' preferences.
How can Sauter Industrial Design help you?
Our particular expertise is electro-optical packaging. See our article on Optical System Packaging for a primer on how we go about designing for optical systems (this article was published in the April 2010 issue of Design2Part). We also understand that a product has to look good and be easy to use, as well as being functional. If you have an optical product that must be attractive to your customers, you can count on Sauter Industrial Design to give you a design that is usable, producible, and attractive. We work with your internal design team to make certain what we do fits your internal systems and production process. We augment your design capability, not replace it. Ken Sauter has designed Military night vision equipment that has been working in the field in combat conditions for years, so we know how to make optical products functional. We're not limited to optical systems, however. We have expertise in many methods of production and have been through the product development process many times. Give us a chance to bid on your project.
VP, Product Development
Airtech Solutions, Inc.
Applied Creativity. Starting with a clear definition of the design problem, we generate concepts to solve your design problem that are attractive, useful, and doable. A concept has to work for it to be any good to you, and we can create innovative concepts in a way that will please you. Our innovative approaches to problem solving are applied throughout the design process.
Creative problem solving. If you have a design problem that seems insurmountable, you may be surprised at how many ways there are to solve it. Perhaps you're limited by a legacy design that you can't change, a vendor that's gone out of business, or a production process that can't produce what you need. This is a discovery process that helps define exactly what the problem is and addresses it in ways you may not have thought of. Our aim is to develop a design for your product that brings your customers back to you, satisfied with your product and ready to buy from you again.
Concept Illustrations. We can take your idea and produce marketing illustrations and renderings that show how your product is used or put together in an attractive way that sells your product effectively. This can be done very early in the design process, since all that is necessary is a visual representation of your product. This gives you a way to show your idea to potential customers and start generating feedback.
Lean design. We design what is necessary to get the job done in the smallest, most efficient package possible. Fewer parts, fewer materials, and defining the job as only what needs to get done, rather than allowing feature creep or lack or originality to complicate the job or make it too big or cumbersome.
Design definition. Engineering drawing packages ready for quoting and production, complete with notes, exploded views, illustrations, and whatever else is necessary for production.
Producible designs generated from abstract ideas. We help you define your idea to match your market and make it producible. This is a creative process that helps you understand your own idea in greater depth and in a way that tailors it to the needs of your customers.
Mechanical packaging of electro-optical designs. If you have an idea that functions electrically or optically the way you want it, but don't have a mechanically producible design for it, we can integrate your idea into a producible design.
Electrical or optical design services are available for your product if you need them. We know people who do various kinds of design or can find someone who can. You can work through us or we can give you references to pursue on your own.