Design Theory 5: Does the objective of your design solve a problem?

When ever we work on our designs we often come to a point in the development cycle when we invariably ask ourselves, will our designs sell? Will it appeal to our target marker or users? And very often, we ask will it be a successful product?
Not only that, another example could be when you are stuck in your concept selection phase and are wondering which are the best concepts to pick for management approval or selection?
One of the ways that I have found that helps shore up confidence in your design solution is to ask yourself does the objective of the design or form that you came up with solve a problem?
This can apply to many facets of a product and its design, some include:
1) The product’s function solves a need that people have.
2) The design of the product makes and action or a task easier.
3) Its shape makes the way a product is used easier.
I have mentioned before in my previous posts, that many companies create products by either re-badging, re-shaping or re-formatting designs or technology of other products with the end result of delivering products don’t really do much to improve one’s life by solving a problem.
In the daily grind of concept development and billable hours it is very easy for a designers and design managers to drop into a form creation routine that results in a perpetual styling exercise. Even at on a higher strategic level, low project budgets or a marketing initiated product as a competitive response to defending market share can push product development into a re-formatting mode. So as designers, with (depending on your point of view) “larger responsibilities” we need to be aware of where the project is coming from and where it is going.
The ability to sell your product just on styling alone, is very difficult, save for a handful of “form creation monsters” that can just create looks that are incomparable. Chances are you are like me and thus I recommend that you pull yourself back and look a things from a problem solving stand point. Eventually what you get is a meaningful final deliverable that can be a powerful combination of how I like to call it “problem solving styling”.

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