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Today, the world is experiencing one of the most trying periods in recent years where our physical and emotional endurance is being put to the test. The spread of COVID-19 has put millions of lives at stake. Locked down within our homes, we are looking at an unsteady present and a highly uncertain future.

Working from home has become the norm and we are spending hours inundated with every kind of information about the pandemic. Be it in the form of Whatsapp forwards, news articles or Instagram stories, the dissemination of information is at an all time high and we are at leisure to take it all in!

Amidst all the information coming my way, what seemed to pop out was that, even during a global crisis of this magnitude, there was a spurt of new ideas and innovation from every corner of the world. The observation got me searching for more examples of the different kinds of innovative technologies, unique designs and creative communication that was doing the rounds during this pandemic, and what emerged was fascinating.

One such product I came across was the ‘germ trap’ snood designed by Virustatic, a UK based biotechnology firm that apparently ‘deactivates’ viruses after filtering them onto its surface. Meant to cover your neck and approximately half of your face, the Virustatic Shield’s fabric is where the magic lies. It is said to imitate the surface structure of the human oesophagus, with a special coating that is believed to trap up to 96% of airborne viruses, thus enabling users to filter out harmful infections around them!

Another ingenious product, I found, was a hands-free door opener designed by Belgium-based company Materialise. To be attached to a door handle, this makes use of one’s arm or elbow to open doors thus reducing the risk of touching an otherwise potential ‘hot-spot’ for infections. What’s more, it is 3D printed, and Materialise has made the design downloadable for free from their website, making it extremely easy to use for individuals and organisations to print it as and when required.

During the course of this COVID-19 pandemic, the identification of those infected and their movement history has been of utmost importance. The Smart Helmet designed by China-based tech firm KC Wearable was something I found quite fascinating. This helmet is equipped to detect people with a fever up to five metres away, subsequently sounding an alarm to that effect! Featuring an infrared temperature detector, an augmented-reality visor, a camera that can read QR codes, plus wifi, Bluetooth and 5G enabled so as to beam data to the nearest hospital this product truly seems like a thing of the future.

A highly useful yet seemingly controversial innovation, to me, were a series of tracking apps developed by South Korean coders, one of which happens to be the Corona 100m. These applications build on the testing data collected by the government to alert users when they come within 100 metres of a location visited by an infected person. Such advanced tracking devices can definitely be crucial in curbing the incessant rise in the number of infected people. What needs to be considered, however, are the subsequent consequences when surveillance of this level is allowed and the boundaries of privacy become blurry. But I won’t delve into that for now. That is a subject for another blog!

In addition to these product and technology-based innovations, what I realised was that dissemination of important information in ways that are effective and memorable was the need of the hour. And I must say that I have come across some of the most creative instances in communication design during this COVID-19 period! From those that educate us about the crisis, inform us about crucial do’s and dont’s to the ones that turn this grim situation around, into something hilarious. For instance, when I saw this hand-washing tutorial by Iranian mime artist Danial Kheirikhah, where he can be seen furiously washing his hands to the tunes of classical music, it was just the thing I needed to see. Simple, funny and so effective!

Another widespread visual used to communicate the importance of social distancing has been that of burning matchsticks. When I first saw it, the impact was instant and the message was crystal clear. Adapted by various artists, animators and designers, it used such a strong visual metaphor that it became impossible to forget and extremely easy to understand. What’s more, it required no caption, no explanation thus crossing boundaries of language, cultures and education, to be understood by one and all.

I also had the chance to see some of the most creative campaigns from organisations across the world. At a time when business is slow, customers are wary, nobody is moving or buying or stepping out of their homes, advertising is playing a key role in helping brands stay relevant while being sensitive to present circumstances. Mercedes Benz talks about staying at home while Burger King’s quarantine whopper encourages customers to make their own burgers at home! It is amazing to see how these brands have turned around their product or service into a powerful message asking people to stay indoors and stay safe. All over the world, in every field, people are finding new ways to inform, engage and inspire millions.

However, what I realised is this. We aren’t witnessing this phenomenon for the first time.

History has shown us, that through the years, in the face of adversity, turmoil and tragic circumstances, creativity has never said die. Wars, socio-political unrests and economic crises have all invariably led to some of the most path-breaking ideas and innovations in the fields of product design, architecture, technology as well as communication. Take the iconic Charles and Ray Eames’ plywood splint for example. It became one of the most talked-about designs that emerged from the WW2. Not only that, but it has also further inspired many more designs in the years that followed, all based on the principle of problem-solving and ‘less is more’.

Years later, the Cold War also brought with it one of the most impactful visuals; the Fraternal Kiss by Russian artist Vrubel, that was actually based on a photograph but assumed a completely new meaning when it was painted on the eastern side of the Berlin Wall. The ‘I AM A MAN’ posters held by Memphis sanitation workers during the 1968 strike, was a simple design yet marked a significant moment in the American Civil Rights Movement and remained etched in the memory of the world. Closer to home, India’s own freedom struggle led to the propagation of khadi, spun using the charkha during the Swadeshi Movement by Mahatma Gandhi. Although it wasn’t unknown to the people, its creative juxtaposition against the backdrop of the British raj, made it a symbol of independence and of self-sufficiency and was adopted exponentially, throughout the country.

What I have noticed is that throughout history, difficult times have always led us to new beginnings. New materials are discovered, innovative products become a part of everyday life, art movements are initiated to do away with earlier styles, music evolves, architecture changes the way we see the world and technological advancements redefine the way we live. Every crisis brings with it a modification in circumstances and available resources. This further leads to a significant rise in new needs and unique problems. And with this, comes the drive to invent, to find a better way to deal with the circumstances at hand.

In the book, Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind psychologist Marie Forgeard, (McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School) explains, “Because adverse events force us to reexamine our beliefs and priorities, they can help us break out of habitual ways of thinking and thereby boost creativity. We’re forced to reconsider things we took for granted, and we’re forced to think about new things. Adverse events can be so powerful that they force us to think about questions we never would have thought of otherwise.” Adversity pushes us to find a way out and we turn to innovation and to design, which at its very core, is ultimately a problem-solving process. To mould what we have in the present, into an idea that has the power to change our future.

The article first published on GCD Studio

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Every invention sparks from a problem that needs to be solved. Product designer Uttara Ghodke feels though a good product is simply a unique combination of science, technology and creativity. “But the real job of a designer is to create a solution that simplifies the life of the user, because that makes for intimate and memorable designs.” More on her way of doing things.

Poppin, a board pin dispenser designed by Pranali Linge and Uttara Ghodke
Spepper, a stapler and punching machine designed by Pranali Linge, Uttara Ghodke and Viraj Joshi

Be guided by the holistic approach.

A good product is born when a designer learns to establish a perfect balance between technology and creativity. Since the very beginning of our education we have be tutored to do so. The biggest hurdle every product designer has to overcome is to follow the product design process while always being aware of the technology that could make it better.

Mychai, an electronic tea bag
Good Product
Cubix, a Blender inspired from the design language of Braun products, designed by Uttara Ghodke and Viraj Joshi

Design can be construed as ‘Beautiful Solutions’.

Designs should serve the user’s needs in the best possible way. That means being constantly aware of their needs and behavior and dedicating the smallest of all details in the product to them. One must remember that the recipe to any smart product lies in its technology as well as its aesthetics, and not merely making the product a visually alluring experience.

Clothes Dryer. This clothes dryer and iron, which can be hanged anywhere
Murphies, eco-friendly take-away packaging for jacket potato restaurant from recyclable paper pulp material

As the great dieter Rams says ‘Good design is unobtrusive’.

Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user’s self-expression.

Link Bell, The product is designed to differentiate between room cleaning & personal care. Designed by Pranali Linge and Uttara Ghodke
Link, a live UI/UX and Product Design project in collaboration with Gupte Hospital, Pune. Designed by Pranali Linge and Uttara Ghodke

A designer should concentrate on the simplicity, aesthetics, understandability, innovation and uniqueness in his/her products. To achieve a perfect blend of all of this is a challenge in itself. Also, the design should make an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. A good design is environmentally friendly and a good designer is one who always sticks to this principle.

Good Product
Clinncut, a cutting board slice grater which has a expandable food storage drawer
Good Product
Aqua Grow, an indoor aquaphonic system inspired from the form and functioning of a jellyfish reproduction cycle.

India is a little too technical when it comes to product design.

Not a doubt that product design in India is developing rapidly, however, we tend to concentrate more on the tiny details of every product. We turn more towards the technical aspect of the product. Designers from the rest of the world work more intricately towards the aesthetic aspects of products.

The Smile Vial, a tiny magnetic vase for flowers and small plants designed by Uttara Ghodke and Tom Korzen
The Smile Vial, a tiny magnetic vase for flowers and small plants designed by Uttara Ghodke and Tom Korzen

Published in Issue 21

Branding With Packaging Special! They say not to judge a book by its cover. But they also say that exceptions are always there. There’s no doubt, branding and packaging are the faces of any business and product. They decide the way people will receive the brand; whether they will accept it or reject it. To understand and gain more perspective on this much-unsolved mystery, we invited many branding and packaging experts who throw light on the topic.

 

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Product design has evolved from simply taking into consideration the physical dimension and form. It’s now all about using technology and design to give it an intangible appeal that converts into a memorable experience for the user. Studio ABD has mastered this through their designs and here they give us some tips that can enhance this very experience.

Product Design
Wet grinder for the Indian market

Tip #1: Experience Wins Over the Physical Form

In today’s world, what sets similar things apart is the experience it promises and gives to its end user. It’s mesmerising to see how a lamp of one type can be preferred over another simply because of the way it is designed. Hence, product designers all over the globe are focusing on taking the extra step to incorporate solutions in simple and every day things to bring about a sense of wonder when it is being used. As technology and the internet merge, so is the tangible and intangible world. Thoughtful details, user empathy, appropriate application of technology and good execution is key to good design.

Product Design
Titan Nebula Palace Collection - For Rambagh Queen
Product Design
BPL - Studylite- LED lamp design for kids

Tip #2: Bring Back Culture of Aesthetics in Your Designs.

Good design creates culture of aesthetics that can inspire everyday life by sharing the joy of creativity with society.

Product Design
Pure It water purifier

Tip #3: Awesome is Just the Tip of the Iceberg Beneath Which Lies Great Effort and Engineering.

With solid design, intelligent use of material and process knowledge and quick prototyping, comes innovative, cost sensitive and manufacturing friendly engineering solutions while enhancing designs to the very core.

Money Plant - Indian dream of growing money on tree
Product Design

Tip #4: Love the Unknown.

Follow this tip like a religion to make your design journey exciting and refreshing. The trick is to remain positive and optimistic in any given situation and never give up. Always say ‘let’s explore’; make that your mantra.

Valli - celebrating spade used in construction

Tip #5: Respect Natural Resources.

It’s not just designers but people as well these days that are turning to respect recycling and the use of renewable sources and materials. Design has also tapped into this great way of life. Use materials carefully and wisely. Ensure material you use in your designs come from natural sources and that they belong to everybody.

Mum’s Care - expressive baby cereal packaging
Paper Boat - Gift box made of reusable tin

Tip #6: Treat Your Products Like Stories.

It’s key to not treat your product designs like objects. The idea is to tell stories through them; stories of people’s lives, their culture, beliefs, dreams, past and future.

Product Design
Bat installation celebrating Sachin Tendulkar
Bat installation celebrating Sachin Tendulkar

Tip #7: Motivate Yourself With Indian Inspirations.

The whole world looks at India for inspiration, be it Yoga, Ayurveda, our culture or traditions. As designers, it works to include Indian characters in designs to make them appeal to a wider audience.

Product Design
Pupa

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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In today’s world where problems are evolving, so are the needs and desires. “As a product designer, you need to incorporate a solution in your design. And how refreshingly and creatively you can do that determines how well it will relate to the user.” says product designer Aman Sadana. More on what every product design must have and should do.

A Design Process is Like a DNA; it Forms the Crux of Variety 

Irrespective of the product, the process remains the same. A design process is the DNA which infuses the style or approach of the designer in his work. Plunge. This is the time to get inspired and get passionate about the project. Try to develop a thorough understanding of the product, its user and its context. Next, plan.

Take all the learnings and insights from the first phase and transform these into an actionable plan. Define your goals, timeline, deliverables, constraints etc. Then play. Get wild with ideas. Scribble. Ideas are never judged nor evaluated. This is the time to test the limits of your imagination. Finally, precision. Scrutinize all your ideas with the parameters listed in the brief. Mix and match ideas to make individual concepts stronger. Detail out the final concepts, keeping all stakeholders (marketing, engineering etc.) on board. After all the tinkering, testing and evaluation, one gets selected and goes forth.

Form and Function are Two Sides of the Same Coin

As architect Frank Lloyd Wright says “Form follows function – has been misunderstood. Form and function should be one, joined in a spiritual union.” While working on a project, try not to consciously work on the two separately. It is imperative that the form be honest to the product’s underlying purpose and not a false facade to hide it with. Like every designer, walk the tight rope between functionality and aesthetics on a daily basis. It’s a skill that comes with practice.

“A design process is the DNA which infuses the style or approach of the designer in his work.”

Make Non-Living Things Move the Living

Great products not only fulfill their function and look great, but are also able to evoke an emotional response. Be it the petal shaped medicine, the bee shaped vehicle, or the ball-shaped cart, they are all intended to evoke joy and play in the heart of the user. The key word here is ‘surprise’. Give the viewer what they do not expect. Give them an experience through your product. Make your product do something no one ever thought it could do or be. Like the chair and slide furniture design; it’s bound to make even adults feel like a kid again.

Often, What Seems Non-Relatable fits Perfectly Together

How you assimilate what you see at a particular moment of time, dictates the fate of your design. That’s what sparks an idea in the mind, and a design on paper. Just like the jug design that was inspired by the Devnagri alphabet ‘Ja’ from the word ‘Jal’ (water). Typography is a visual manifestation of the culture it is rooted in. Hence, it was perfect to design a product that looked intrinsically Indian. So always look out for visual cues to contextualize your designs.

Don’t Let Your Best Ideas be the Ones That are Forgotten

One never knows when inspiration strikes. It might be on the drive back home, in the washroom or at the library. But when it does, make sure you have a sketchbook handy. Doodle, write and even keep paper cuttings. As a rule, keep hard copies rather than put them in soon forgotten compute folders. You won’t realize, but over time you are slowly inching towards having your personal ‘Black Book’ of ideas! Refer to this idea almanac constantly.

Eureka moments happen to us all, but most of us just let them slip out of our minds. At the same time, try to keep yourself updated about new trends, materials and technologies. This ‘homework’ not only enriches your work but also vastly improves the chances of ‘connecting the dots’ while working on a design problem.

LG Ceiling Fan
LG Ceiling Fan

Published in Issue 19

A typography special, made up of not only Indian type designers or designers whose first love is type, but also few very talented international designers who open a totally new playground with sharing their insights and inspirations. This issue has exclusive interviews with Lucky Dubz Trifonas from Netherlands, Indian UI & type designer Sabareesh Ravi and Shiva Nallaperumal, who believes, type designers are the material providers to all the creative professionals. Also, includes a special making of Nirlep rebranding done by Elephant Design and an interaction with the ace product designer Aman Sadana.

 

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They were a fad back in the 70s. They are redefining jewellery design now. Beads are adding contemporary sensibilities to classical thoughts to create jewellery for the women of today. Jewellery designer Riddhika Jesrani tells us how beads play a major role in creating elegant and modern jewellery designs

Statement Orange Day Beaded Necklace

Beads Represent an Evolution.

Women are evolving. They are becoming bolder and are willing to try new things. Fashion-oriented jewellery is one of these. Working with beads makes necklaces look grand and glamorous. How light reflects off faceted beads and makes the wearer shine is inspiring. It’s the attraction towards contemporary designs and materials that women are choosing to wear around their neck rather than traditional pieces. However, it’s important to not make the change look so drastic. That’s why adding some semi-precious stones helps bridge that thinking and strike a balance between the modern and traditional. It’s how vintage stories can be told in a young, contemporary manner.

Jewellery Design
Big Bold Gold Beaded Necklace

Jewellery is an Experience.

While designing, one must think about the person wearing it. How do you want her to feel? Once you have the answer to that question, use material, form, texture, and colour to design that feeling in your jewellery. Each piece is a story that can only be expressed with these four key elements. For example, a faceted bead will add a different look in a necklace than a plain red round one. If you’re looking to make the design fun, then just add some felt beads. If you’re working on kids’ collection, keep the colours bright and the textures fun enough for the kids to enjoy.

Jewellery Design
Signature Beaded Happy Buddha Necklace

There is Symmetry in Chaos.

It’s important to first visualise the design, scribble it out if required. Next, think of a colour scheme. Once that’s in place, pick out beads of different shape and size and lay them out. Then start eliminating. In other words, de-clutter. And you’ll realize that in the end, all you’re left with is what you string together. Make sure you take into consideration the colour and size of beads in order to balance your design.

Jewellery Design
Signature Beaded Sunny Yellow Necklace
Signature Beaded Purple Burst Necklace

Jewellery Need not be Serious.

Put some fun in it. Create designs that remind the wearer that it’s not always about being perfect. It’s about enjoying the moment and being comfortable with the way things are. We all know how Indians take their jewellery so seriously. The idea is to get customers to buy a piece because it makes them smile and feel good every time they put it on.

Jewellery Design
Signature Beaded Statement Elephant Necklace
Signature Beaded Disco Necklace

Fashion is Freedom.

Following fashion trends is totally out of fashion. What’s in, is to believe in your own style and follow what makes you comfortable in your skin. It’s this freedom that a jewellery designer must pass on. Treat each piece as an incomplete sentence, with a belief that the story becomes complete only when it is worn. After all, it’s not just about what statement the jewellery piece makes, but also about how the wearer wants to make that statement.

Jewellery Design
Signature Beaded Icy Pearl Necklace
Signature Beaded Fiery Tortoise Necklace

Be Idea-Driven Rather Than Technique Driven.

Because, if the idea is in place you will figure out a way to make it. An idea or a colour scheme can be drawn from anything, anytime. It could be a rainbow you spot while traveling or the unique combination of colours in the food you’re having. Inspiration can ignite anytime and that’s why it’s important to keep your eyes peeled and ears perked up for anything exciting. Don’t worry if you don’t know the technique. It can be learned on the job. Just be original and believe in your creativity and creations.

Jewellery Design
Signature Beaded Pitch Black Necklace
Peacock Frenzy

Published in Issue 11

This issue also explored the Jewellery Design & Wedding Photography with some cool techniques to learn from experts in Gyaan section.

 

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“It’s not about the end, it’s about the journey.” Well, for Roopam Sharma, his journey from a model to a visionary is mind boggling. He designed and invented a device that would change the lives of the blind immensely.

A model from Faridabad, Roopam Sharma broke all stereotypes and went on become a worthy entrant in the Foreign Policy magazine’s “100 Global thinkers”. While studying at Manav Rachana Institute, he went on to invent a text-to-speech device that would help visually impaired people understand and learn about the world with much ease. Though Roopam had his eyes set on the ramp five years ago, his abundant talent and certain situations in life led him to a path of inventing products.

Visionary

Interestingly this is not the first product Roopam has created. While distributing cards with his friend in a village of Haryana, he saw an old woman tied to a bed screaming in pain, since the people around her had no measures to take care of her. Although disturbed by that sight, but determined to bring a change, he developed a position tracking device while attending a workshop at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2015. That device would help the caretakers of patients with certain illness to be alert if the patient wandered off too far.

Roopam, a visionary and creator, always had a strong sense of sensitivity towards people with disabilities and a heart – to – heart conversation with a friend who was colour blind, broadened his scope of imagination. It was then that he researched and realized how miserably braille was failing in India, mainly because it was difficult, expensive and there was not much content that was printed in Braille. Thus, only 1% of people could actually use braille as a measure for learning. His persistence to develop a better method of learning for the blind also become a reason for his parents worry as he would often skip classes and concentrate on his experiments of product designing.

The final output was Manovue, a device that could be worn like a glove which was integrated with a mobile app and had a camera attached to the tip of the finger. The camera would capture the text that the person had his finger placed on, and would read aloud the content which would enable the visually impaired person to learn without restriction. A true visionary, Roopam went on to receive India’s National Youth Award (2017), Gifted Citizen Prize 21016 and UK’s Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce.

The first trial of his product was held in India where over 800 people tried his product and their feedback was carefully adapted and incorporated in his design. Now he is working towards the Second trial which will be held in April or May in Washington DC, where he is currently based. The easy on pocket product ranges from 28$ to 650$. Though the device is still expensive, his aim is to reduce the cost to make it more affordable and more accessible for people around the world.

Visionary
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If it was only about needs, everyone would be sitting in similar chairs and drinking coffee and wine in the similar glasses. Desires are just as important. And to make these two meet, a product needs to be balanced, following a rational process. Product design studio, ‘Design Gandhi’, founded by Hardik Gandhi, lists down eight basic elements whose combination ensures people are wooed by its beauty and surprised by its functionality.

Product Design
Product Design
Xcent Multipurpose Stool

1. Define, derive, delight

That’s the process a product designer should follow to arrive at richly thought out designs and products that are just as ingenious as resourceful. Once you have thought of the idea, the next thing is to figure out how to manifest it. That requires a good understanding of material properties and their behavior in various contexts. What you have in the end is a tangible token of what used to be only an idea, something that makes the user smile and feel special.

Product Design
D MUG. Inspired from how one holds the coffee mug naturally.
Product Design
Knowledge Tree. Modified bookshelf that stores books in angles.

2. Keep it less to achieve more

In today’s cluttered and busy life, minimal designs can surely stand out. It’s important to understand that a product is a simple solution to an everyday problem. And minimal in no way means boring. In fact, minimal is something that one won’t ever get tired of seeing every day. In order to achieve that, you have to keep your designs colourful and dynamic, using appropriate materials and processes. That’s how products with an uncluttered and effortless appeal become hot favorites as they reflect clarity of thought and idea.

Product Design
Product Design
Zigzag Floor Covering. Multisegmented floor covering.

3. Observe, observe and only observe

Getting ideas is no big deal if you have your senses open. Inspirations can come from almost anything around you. From a roadside ‘jugaad’ furniture to a tree to a flower petal, India is a beautiful source of ideas. Sometimes really insignificant objects are the most inspiring. As a designer, the next job is to transform them into something beautiful, and there you have your design.

Product Design
Product Design
AER CLICK
Product Design
Home and Car Fragrances

4. Form and function go hand in hand

Marrying form and function might seem to be a tough part only if you consider them as two separates. The relationship between the two is not linear and one doesn’t come before the other. They come together in the form of an idea, when you are thinking of something new. Design is art with a purpose. Therefore, holistic thinking is the key to an innovative idea. Well, that’s also the difference between a designer and a decorator.

Product Design
Product Design
Product Design
Product Design
Jaipur pottery

5. A canvas means opportunities

Space is a very important aspect of product design and you must ensure the product demonstrates the best utilization of space. Space is your context and also the content. As designers we should realize how people love it when a design manages to do a lot in less space.

Product Design
Jaipur pottery

6. It can do this, this and this! 

Multiple usage of a product is a fancy bonus for the consumers. So think of ideas and designs that can be re-arranged to cater to multiple wants. After all, who wouldn’t be amazed at something that’s a bookshelf, a stool and a great looking storage space? Remember, people like to be unique and that’s why they buy things that are unique.

Product Design
Product Design
Product Design
Product Design
Aquarius

7. Show your funny side

Adding an element of humour in your designs helps create works that are more interactive, refreshing and young. Because you’re not giving your design just a utility, but also an experience. Incorporate an element of fun in your designs and consider them sold.

Product Design
ZigZag Modular Unit
Product Design
Kings Rolls

8. It’s common sense that’s not so common

Product design is no rocket science that involves design fundamentals or elaborate researches. At the end of the day, you are also a consumer and a human. And it’s common sense that helps generate newer ideas for spaces, thereby giving vent to intelligent creations.

Product Design
King’s Rolls Environment Graphics

Published in Issue 12

The first interactive issue of Creative Gaga with Augmented Reality features. This issue focuses on the transition of Advertising from real to virtual and blurring the boundaries of both at the same time. Also bundled with lots of interesting articles and interviews.

 

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It needs passion. It needs commitment. Patience as well. Product design requires a designer to make a promise with one’s own self in order to create promising designs. Products might be non-living things, but according to industrial designer Subinay Malhotra, they do have feelings and emotions of people living in them. More on how you can turn that little crush for product design into a full-fledged relationship.

Product Design
Product Design
OQLAR - Personal Sir Sanitizing System
Product Design
Product Design
Flasso – Milk Flask. Made using borosilicate glass, PC plastic, glass blowing and injection molding techniques

For most Designers, it all starts very Young 

Most design journeys start from childhood, whether it was drawing or dismantling toys in order to know what’s happening inside. Product design is all about growing up to understand the needs, target clients, various environments and create a customized solution so that people learn and discover their own demands in a very unique manner. It’s that end result which matters all the time and drives you towards it.

Product Design
Product Design
Retro Rubik’s

Something new makes Hearts beat Faster

It’s something new that gets people excited and sweeps them off their feet. Focusing on form and function will not quite get you there. Research is what forms the base of it all. After a concentrated research has been performed, only then one can start to apply ergonomics and take the project towards the best material approach. Research allows a product designer to stay updated on what has already been created in that niche, and work towards new possibilities and creations. Of course, human psychology and trend is another thing a product designer must be constantly conscious of while creating something functional yet aesthetically appealing.

Product Design
Product Design
Product Design
Lash – Portable night light for Graffiti artists.

When Design Software play Cupid

They help materialize what you have in mind. They help your ideas meet their materialization. For product designers, the concepts of physics and dynamics are definitely a must to know, but through the use of prototyping and 3D printing software, one can work virtually with their ideas. The only way a designer can benefit from such software is when they practice. It allows you to tease the limits of your imagination, giving you a future never imagined.

Product Design
Product Design
Plexus – Protection Gear for Skateboarders.
Product Design
DUSK. The portable device uses ergonomics and wireless technology.
Product Design
Product Design
Drill Master – A designer mechanical device

Half a heart won’t keep the Designer in you alive for long

It’s important to be passionate and interested in what you chose to do and learn. Give it your hundred percent and learn with the best of concentration. Keep in mind that one either needs to be really happy with what they are working on or be very angry with it, to reach places.

Product Design
Product Design

Published in Issue 20

Pencil or stylus? Paper or touch screen? This is just a start to the long list of questions that are swimming in every designer’s mind today. They say change is the only constant but has digitalisation really taken over the traditional methods? Would there be a time when the pencil will be forgotten forever like writers have forgotten a fountain pen? We discuss the issue with famous Indian designers and try to understand what they think. This issue also has some very talented and unique designer like Sachin Puthran, Raghava KK, Ramanjeet Kaur and Pavan Rajurkar got featured along with much more. Mr. Xerty and Amrei Hofstatter came with unique interpretation in our MadeIn section.

 

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CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

Why does your soap dish look the way it looks? And why do you hold a spoon the way you do? You probably wouldn’t have lost any sleep over these questions, not even when these everyday objects doesn’t work right!

E veryday products, they are so numerous and ubiquitous. They form the material framework of our existence, enabling it to function, not only in practical or utilitarian terms but also in ways that give pleasure, meaning and significance to our lives. But why don’t we notice them? Most of us travel by the same route every day, do similar tasks every day, go to same places and although we are awake and seeing things around us we are not actually looking at them consciously. Hence, such products are frequently taken for granted.

Design, to my understanding, is much about having an eye for such details and bringing back life to mundane objects. I would like to emphasize on the act of “Observation” as a necessary tool to design useful products.

 

For quite sometime now I have been deeply intrigued by the everyday mundane objects lying all around us. The market is flooded with a plethora of redesigned products but very few redefined objects.

When one re-designs a product, one tends to retain the essence of it’s being…the soul. However gives its body a complete make over…without even hitting on the mind. When we re-define, as the word itself suggests, we work on the soul of the product, we question its very existence. Thus, giving the product a new mind and a fresh body.

 

A beautiful body is as important as a beautiful mind. An aesthetically balanced product drives the customer close to itself. “Form-material” relation is one of the demanding parameters of a good-looking product. It makes it desirable. Color adds the oomph factor!

Mind is that aspect of the product, which interacts with the user/customer. Sometime it directs the user to handle the product in a particular way and sometime it doesn’t.

Soul is the essence of its being, its purpose, satisfying the user’s wants/needs.

It brings about the WOW! Factor. A good product is which is a perfect balance of BODY – MIND – SOUL.

Tips to design Everyday Objects


Step 01

Empathise

The first step is to gain an empathic understanding of the problem you are trying to solve. This involves observing, engaging and empathizing with people as well as immersing yourself in the physical environment to have a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved. Empathy is crucial to a human-centred design process and it allows designers to set aside their own assumptions in order to gain insight into the user’s mind.

 

Let us take the example of a regular multipin electric plug.

We all use them probably everyday at our office, home and even while in transit. It is such a mundane object that we do not even notice it most often. However, I am sure you would have sometime felt if the product could be improved. As a designer of everyday objects, I took this opportunity to elevate the experience of using a multi-plug.

 

The pain point I identified with was that the pins of a 2 pin plug get loose and tend to fall off when plugged into the multi-pin electric plug, causing sudden switching off of any gadget in use.

Step 02

Define

Next step is to analyse your observations and synthesis the pain points in order to define the core problem that you seek to solve. In my project, the exact problem was that the regular multi-pin electric plug had a flat bottom and there was nothing to stop the loose 2 pin plug from falling off due to gravity.

Step 03

Ideate

At this stage, we generate a lot of ideas. No idea is good or bad. I had this idea that by slanting the bottom side of the regular multi-pin electric plug the loose 2 pin plug might get self-locked due to gravity. My idea was to capitalise on the root cause of the problem to create the solution. Gravity caused the plug to fall off, now gravity will help it stop.

Step 04

Prototype

There is no shortcut to success. It’s time now to produce a number of inexpensive, quick models of the product so that we can investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage. This is an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages.

 

The solutions are implemented within the prototypes and, one-by-one, they are investigated and either accepted, improved and re-examined or rejected on the basis of the users’ experiences. By the end of this stage, the design team will have a better idea of the constraints inherent within the product, the problems that are present and have a better/more informed perspective of how real users would behave, think, and feel when interacting with the end product.

 

After several iterations, I arrived at an angle of 40° for the slant which now stopped the drop of 2 pin plug due to gravity.

Step 05

Test

The final product was tested for all electrical and safety compliances and launched in the Indian market as the Angular Multiplug. It has become an iconic best seller for the brand.

CURRENT ISSUE
Creative Gaga - Issue 49

 

What once was simply a carpenter’s job has now become an entire field in designing. Furniture design has evolved from the regular chairs and tables to more sophisticated forms. Redo Design Studio from Poland, believe the evolution is due to the discovery of new and the unique materials that solve the functional problems. Here they reveal their concepts and beliefs to give a better understanding of furniture design.

TAO Set - Creative Gaga
TAO FURNITURE SET. Inspired by Japanese calligraphy, the sturdy legs and arrangements establish a balanced form
PUFFI UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SET. Designed for residential interiors, inspired by bean bags
PUFFI UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE SET. Designed for residential interiors, inspired by bean bags

CG. Kindly tell us about your journey; how did Redo Design come about? What were the challenges involved in starting off designing furniture? What is your design philosophy?

RedoDesign. The design has always interested me, and furniture design was something that stood out the most because my father was a carpenter. Hence in 2008, a co-founding initiative called Timoore was started which was dedicated to children furniture design.

 

But once Timoore started acquiring numerous projects, the need for a sophisticated and a dedicated design studio came about and that is how Redo Design Studio was first launched.

VI-CHAIR. The design is characterised by a simple and extremely compact form
VI-CHAIR. The design is characterised by a simple and extremely compact form
Base Light Armchair

CG. Your designs are simple and minimalistic. What do your designs communicate? What emotions and reactions do you instil in your audience?

RedoDesign. How one’s designs manifest has a lot to do with what the project demands. Projects that are intelligible, precise, clear and logical are appealing, not only for the designer but for the audience as well. People are surprised not only by form, shape and colour, but also by the way they’re perceived.

MAGH. This collection makes a wise choice of material with a base made of wooden legs contrasted with white lacquered MDF surfaces

CG. What are some of the things you need to be mindful of while designing furniture? How do you balance functionality and aesthetics?

RedoDesign. The material is the fulcrum of the balance between functionality and aesthetics. Everything from knowledge of the material, its possibilities to its limitations depends largely on the success of the project.

 

Properties of the materials used definitely play a vital role in the overall aesthetics of the design. It is the primary problem that needs to be solved wisely. For example, in a design by Benjamin Hubert, he makes use of wood veneer to design an ultra-light table.

 

When designing furniture, it’s an asset to be familiar with various properties of options available, everything from its structure and surface to texture and colour.

Boo Sofa
TAO FURNITURE SET. Inspired by Japanese calligraphy, the sturdy legs and arrangements establish a balanced form
TUBE LIGHTS. This lighting design uses a minimalistic approach to make these lights fit into any space

CG. Would you say your designs have any Polish influence? How do your designs appeal to the international segment? How do you give them a modern touch?

RedoDesign. If all the designs have any Polish characteristics, it’s entirely due to subconscious actions. Frankly, while designing, it’s hard to keep such things in mind. One is very much focused on the brief, the project and technicalities that style becomes an effortless task. It can be said that style and character develop over time through continual experimentation with material and form.

Ortho Pillow-SHELL
Ortho Pillow-PLUS
Ortho Pillow-TRIPLE
Ortho Pillow-VIEN

CG. What’s the story behind your contrasts add to the appeal of your designs?

RedoDesign. Every designer has their own private niche that they use as signatures in every design they create. Likewise, Redo Design loves using intense, pure colour contrasted with white, grey or black. It has a major impact on the visual perception of the whole project.

 

Of course, this depends largely on the specific project. Again, ‘something new’ is what we all work towards, and hence experimentation with flashy colours or even interesting nuances and shades is always happening.

WOOD SHELF. This colourful and concept based book shelf design has the potential to make reading space the favorite place for kids

CG. What advice would you give to those who would like to take up furniture design? The research must they do? What should be their motto?

RedoDesign. That is a difficult question. It is important to continually practice, improve skills and simple curiosity about the world. Don’t be afraid to be different.

Wing Armchair
NYMPHA. This is inspired by water lily leaves and has an essential element of a triangular pin welded to the top and the base of the furniture
BASE ARMCHAIR. This seat concept is based on the reduced form to a few basic organic solids
Product and Automobile Design

Published in Issue 27

This issue explores one of the widely discussed product design and automobile #design which is very close to our heart. We spoke to few leading names to find out the future of product design and understand the Indian designer sensibilities and practices. Everyone believe that it’s not just functionality but also the visual appeal of the product which plays a crucial in the success of a product. This issue is a bundle of inspirations and insights from the well know product and automobile designers. A must read which you will enjoy for sure.

 

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