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Why Planning Is Key To Successful Product Design

ByJoe Connector

May 21, 2015

When it comes to designing and delivering new products for the market it’s not just enough to have a good, robust idea that fills a gap in the market. Good ideas alone should underpin every successful product design but it’s unlikely that they will carry the project through on their own.

The key to realizing a concept is having a thorough plan so you can prepare for every eventuality and overcome all of the hurdles in your way. Put simply, you need to be prepared to be able to identify and answer all the ‘who, what, where, when, why and how’ questions about your design. Being able to do that rests with the planning process. Here’s our guide to some of the areas to look at to ensure you make a success of your overall design…

Market: All successful products should serve a purpose or solve a problem. How do you identify a purpose or a problem? By knowing your market inside and out. Every business should know its field, its competitors and its customers thoroughly and should use that information to work out where the opportunities are for new products and services. It’s then important to marry up bright ideas with those opportunities for a successful relationship.

Style: You can’t design a successful product unless you work out what it needs to look like. Planning this out is vital. The color and shape of your product sends a powerful message and, even once you’ve settled on that, you need to assess how you achieve the look. Does your product need specialist treatment? Large items of machinery or transport don’t just need a tin of paint, you might well need the expert equipment from Airblast AFC Abrasive Recovery Systems to allow you to prepare and paint. Equally, plastic, wooden and metal products all need handling in different ways. The planning process should work out the style that is right for your product as well as the materials to be used and how to achieve your style with them.

Packaging: Depending on what your product is, the way you package it could play a big part in its success and this needs to be properly planned. Do you want to stand out from the crowd? How can you use imagery, logos and wording to make a statement? Look at your competitors and the characteristics of your brand and map out how you want your packaging to look based on that. You may well want to try out different designs with a focus group to ensure you are attracting your ideal customer.

Testing: Every plan should include time to test a prototype of your product. You need to consider possible problems with your design and ensure these are looked at during the testing process, with solutions to be found at this stage. Tweaking your design to enhance that initial idea should all be part of the plan.

Targets: How can you judge the success of a product? You need to be clear on what it is you want to achieve, set a target during the planning stage and work out how you will record and monitor its success. Only by using targets and data can you keep on top of a project – and step in at the earliest possible opportunity if things go awry. Project management is another important part of overseeing a successful product design – but it’s impossible to handle this function properly if you’ve not planned everything out and worked out what it is you want to achieve.

Planning may not sound exciting but it provides the crucial blueprint for any successful product design. Looking at the market, your style and packaging, testing the design and setting targets are all part of the process and without them your efforts could quickly become unfocussed.