Your questions ?

What does industrial design mean ?

There are many different design disciplines : graphic design, brand design, packaging design, web design, etc.

We have decided to focus on one discipline, one competence, industrial design also called  product design. Industrial design is very often restricted to its aesthetical aspects whereas it is a synthesis : between what is expected/dreamed of by consumers/users, what is technically feasible, economically (and now environmentally) acceptable and aesthetically desirable. Design is not only style, although there cannot be design without style.

The industrial designer is at the merging of  aesthetics, technologies, economics and sociology, with at the center of all thoughts,  the final user of the product.

Why should you care about design ?

To create value. As did Apple, Nespresso and Philips but also SMEs  such as  Mastrad (FR), SIGG (CH), Reisenthel (D) or many others. Design is a way to differenciate and increase companies' competitiveness. The more a company invests in design, the more this company moves away from price competition.

In Denmark, companies that purchased design registered a total increase in their gross revenue of approximately 22% (DKK 58 billion ≈ EUR 8 billion) higher than companies that did not purchase design. Linking performance data with investment in design revealed a correlation between design purchase and economic growth.  In the UK, the Design Council has measured that design boosts business growth. Design increases turnover : For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £20 in increased revenue; and boots profit :  For every £1 invested in design, businesses can expect over £4 increase in net operating profit.

How to start your design journey ?

First identify the right design partner and be prepared to be transparent as designers need to understand completely your issues, constraints and expectations to best meet your needs. Then, define the product and design brief from the start of the project, associate all the project's stakeholders  (R&D, Marketing, Sales and the CEO !), one of the key success criteria being the team multidisciplinarity around the designer.

How to chose a designer ?

Two key questions to answer  : the type of structure you need or you want to work with and  the type of designers.

There are 4 types of design structures : the large consultancy companies (internationally active, typically "agencies" with a focus on brand design ), in-house designers (well suited for industrial companies very familiar with design, such as Philips, Groupe SEB), independent designers and small independendent agencies.

As far as designers are concerned, there are mainly 2 options : on the one hand, designers-consultants,  agency-minded listening to marketing, lacking sometimes conviction and creativity, on the other hand, designers-"creators" with strong convictions and a recognisable signature. We have chosen to work with different small independent agencies, having experience with clients from various domains and recognised for their creativity and their expertise. 

How much does design cost ?

This depends on the project you plan to develop with the designer. Spending money on a well-run design project is an investment in your company, not a commodity cost.  In général, the cost of a design project remains very small, from 0,01% of the product cost, in the case of a very large scale production, to 1% for small production runs.

Your vision of design

The Design Ladder was developed by the Danish Design Centre (DDC) in 2003 as a tool to measure the level of design activity in Danish businesses. Companies were categorised into four stages of design maturity depending on their approach to design investment. The higher a company is ranked on the Design Ladder, the greater strategic importance it attributes to design. As a result of an intensive design promotion campaign between 2003 and 2007, the distribution of Danish companies at stage three of design maturity rose from 35% to 45% and the number of companies at stage four rose from 15% to 20%.

Stage 1
No design No design Non

Design plays little or no role in product or service development. Product and service development is performed by personnel who are not design professionals.

Stage 2
Design as styling

Design is only relevant in terms of aesthetic considerations such as style, appearance and ergonomics. Sometimes professional designers may be involved.

Stage 3
Design as process

Design is considered in terms of a process or method in product or service output but is only employed at the initial stages of development. The design solution is procured externally and is adapted to the requirements of the end-user using a multidisciplinary approach.

Stage 4
Design as strategy

Design is integral to the company’s continuous renewal of  business concept as a means of encouraging innovation. The design process is fused with the company’s key objectives and plays a role at every stage of development.

Position your company on this design ladder : Nondesign Non

Some companies are mentionned as references.