25 Bad Habits of Industrial Designers

By Brian Ling December 26, 2007

Image: Thumbs Down by CraigPJ

About time I got to this one and I though it makes a great post to face the year end with!

I also hope to keep this as a living document that gets constantly updated (with additional input from all my readers), and a good reference guide for industrial designers that want to learn to rule the world!

1) Looking at other products for inspiration.

2) Not creating or studying the design brief.

3) Not checking if the concept fulfils the design brief.

4) Spending too much time on the computer.

5) Not improving their sketch communication skills.

6) Not improving their verbal communication skills.

7) Not making a concept model because they were lazy or not wanting to get dirty.

8) Coming to work late.

9) Not understanding that a design is not theirs but the company’s.

10) Getting too emotionally involved in their designs.

11) Not being friends with Engineering.

12) Forgetting to compromise.

13) Not being friends with Marketing.

14) Mistaking arrogance for confidence.

15) Forgetting Industrial Design requires multi-disciplinary skills.

16) Being disorganized in mind and/or space.

17) Poor Time management.

18) Not planning a 3D construction process before doing 3D modelling.

19) Designing in a 3D program.

20) Forgetting to document their work.

21) Forgetting that there are costs impacts to design decisions.

22) Not including draft angles and part lines in 3D models or design files.

23) Forgetting to save work or worst deleting it by accident.

24) Not thinking through a design to the very end and it gets ripped to shreds.

25) Forgetting that a presentation board is also a design element.

Edit: User submitted content!

26) Over satisfied with the first design. (by Design Monkey)

27) Sketching the same design over and over again. (by Design Monkey)

28) Making things that can be produced instead of creating “insanely” great products. (by Idris Mootee)

29) Forgetting the goal of design is to improve not just make something different. (by Dave Pinter)

30) Being apathetic to sustainable and green design. (by Dave Pinter)

The following four are by Raghuraj Ananthoj with some editing on my part.

31) Not understanding if the form inspiration is appropriate to the form being created.

32) Failing to understand the brand philosophy of the company.

33) Not building a good relationship between fellow designers by sharing knowledge and work.

34) Avoiding critics, which can help improve the current design and other product features.

Brian Ling

Brian is the Founder and Design Director at Design Sojourn, a Design Led Innovation Consultancy. He is a multi-award winning design leader, and specialises in strategic design and innovation programs that drive successful organisations. Brian’s 20-year career in design, driven through a deep understanding of human behavior, spans over multiple domains such as consumer electronics, government, healthcare, non-profit agencies, hospitality, F&B, retail, online solutions and best in class service experiences.

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52 Comments on "25 Bad Habits of Industrial Designers"

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Also: Designers must be able to objectify themselves, and be able to step outside personal style to investigate totally different perspectives

Antonio Rojano

That is why Industrial Designers are like gods!! :)

Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)
Brian Ling (Design Sojourn)

Haha, no way!


almost everything is true…

Ozan Bulut

forgetting to design-for-all (inclusive design)
forgetting to design for cradle-to-cradle (product life sourcing)


Truth story..totally agree, especially 19)Designing in a 3D program. this is because sometime those software will create some nice shape & form .


This article make me laugh ,, but it’s true..


[…] Design Sojourn has created a list of 25 Bad Habits of Industrial Designers. I find it helpful to remind me of typical traps to be aware of and it helps to use it to assess the current state of whatever project I am working on. I have it at my desk within glancing distance and recommend you do to! […]


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