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Changing Role of the Product Designer from 18th Century to Now - Essay Example

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Through history products was produced by craftsman whose skills have been handed down through the centuries. Craftsman themselves rarely had any visible identities and they functioned within their relevant craft communities. As the industrial revolution unfolded hand crafts where no longer sufficient to supply enough commodities to the consumers and many crafts where mechanised and produced by production processes.
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Changing Role of the Product Designer from 18th Century to Now
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Changing Role of the Product Designer from 18th Century to Now

Download file to see previous pages... Further more, as industrial firms flourished with their large production lines, there was always a search for new products and more productive processes to produce them.
With the end of the craftsmen era and the beginning of the industrial era brought on by the new inventions there was a higher demand created for new products as living conditions improved. In the late 18th to the beginning of the 19th century new products was mostly developed by inventors. Inventors such as Frenchmen, B. Thimonnier (sewing machine), Francis Pettit Smith (propeller), Charles Babbage (mechanical calculator), Alexander Bain (facsimile), Hamilton Smith (washing machine) and Alfred Nobel (dynamite) to name but a few . Many of these inventions can still be found in our homes today. These inventers where mostly engineers, doctors or scientist, educated and trained in only one field.
But as the industries expanded and several prominent firms was established in the 19th and early 20th century, these firms created their own design departments to create new and innovative products in order to stay competitive. Examples are Coca-Cola , Nestle , Ford and the Carrier Corporation to name but a few. Through their efforts the world saw the first six-pack, the chocolate bar, rolling production lines and air conditioning to name a few. Many organizations created design departments with dedicated designers to evaluate customer needs and then design products that will satisfy these needs. Due to the increased competition in the commercial world these departments will work on a range of products at any one time, to ensure profitability from those successfully introduced into the market. Designed products include diet soda, transistor radio (Texas Instruments), non stick pan, oral contraceptives, Barbie doll, etc

Today product designs have an even more profound effect on bottom line of major companies. Although its impact may be difficult to quantify a UK trade association, the design council lodged a project to try and measure the payoff companies make from design products. The tracked the performance of 63 British companies who incorporated product design into their production processes. They measured the share price performance of these companies against the designer awards they received from 1994 to 2004. Their research indicated that these design companies outperformed the FTSE 100 and FTSE All Share indices by 200% over a ten year period. The results from their research strongly indicated that companies who invest more in product design are more likely to succeed in a competitive market.

Image 2: Chris Bangle's Design for the new BMW 3 Series
New Style Designers
This new trend in product design created the need for new specialist in the field, and as organizations and education institutions aligned themselves to educate and train these new entries to the industry a new type of inventor was born. Product designers are trained in concept development, testing and manufacturing, and implementation. As these specialists entered the market, some went at it on their own. Designers such as Bill Moggridge a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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