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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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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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Creative Gaga - Issue 49