Working with an

Industrial Design Company

  1. What is An Industrial Design Company
  2. When To Hire An Industrial Design Company
  3. Finding The Right Industrial Design Company
  4. Getting Started With An Industrial Design Company
  5. Working With Goddard (Tell us about your next project)

What is An Industrial Design Company

Industrial design is the practice of designing products, systems, and services. Industrial design companies are organizations that you can partner with to improve anything about the design of your system, from physical appearance to functionality and manufacturability.

Industrial design companies can help to relieve internal design teams and bring a fresh set of highly-trained eyes to a project that may be falling behind or lingering due to a technical challenge. In the medical device and life sciences industries, industrial designers can help to ensure that the products you’re designing are safe and meet the needs of your users.

Let’s dive into the key reasons why you might consider hiring an industrial design company.

When To Hire An Industrial Design Company

Industrial Design CompanyFrom product failures to outdated aesthetics, there are many reasons why businesses may partner with an industrial design company. Especially in technically complex fields such as medical devices, life sciences technologies, and industrial robotics, industrial design companies are a valuable asset for overcoming operational and regulatory challenges.

1. Your product’s design is outdated and falling behind competitors.

Legacy products that are lagging in sales can regain momentum in the market by revisiting design and modernizing aesthetics. Industrial design companies are routinely asked to assess the design and aesthetics of existing products. At Goddard, this process involves close examination of competing products, the product’s use environment, and user feedback.

2. You have a technically-skilled engineering team, but you’re not sure how to design for the marketplace/the user/the user’s environment.

A device should function well but it also has to sell. It’s the job of the industrial design companies to look at the marketplace and see what design trends are dominating. Industrial design companies will also evaluate where the client sits in the marketplace and adjust the design accordingly.

A $100 consumer device is designed very differently from a $25 consumer product. The best products are designed in tandem with engineers – that’s why Goddard’s designers and engineers work side-by-side. We take a lot of pride in creating products that are elegantly designed, technically precise, and functional.

3. Customers are reporting that your product is hard to use

If you’re receiving customer feedback that a product is hard to use or parts of the product are never used, it’s worth revisiting the product’s features and evaluating how they fit with the user’s needs.

It’s great if you can do this work before you release the product to the marketplace: that’s why user testing is so critical to the development process. But sometimes it needs to be done retroactively.

An industrial design firm that is rooted in human factors engineering will excel at handling this kind of request.

4. Your product is failing unexpectedly

Even worse than a product that is hard to use is one that doesn’t work at all or is even unintentionally causing harm. This is especially true in the medical device field. In cases like this, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the product’s failure. Designing for the user will help mitigate poor outcomes.

5. Internal resources are overloaded

Maybe you already have designers on staff – but when those resources are overloaded and your internal focus needs to shift, longer-term projects can linger or fall behind. This is where a flexible design partner can help to relieve your internal team’s bandwidth.

Download our free white paper on Human Factors Engineering

Finding The Right Industrial Design Company

With so many potential options on the market, it can be overwhelming to select an industrial design company that best fits your needs. Here are a few tips to help you identify which firm will be a true partner.

1. Relevant prior experience

Relevant experience in a particular category of products or use environments can be an important quality to seek out in an industrial design company. For example, Goddard’s engineers and designers have a deep knowledge of how to design products for use in an operating room.

Because of this experience, we are able to leverage our lessons learned for future clients that are looking to design medical products for use in high-stress environments with a lot of surrounding variables (such as noise and lighting).

It’s important to bear in mind, however, that there are core practices in design that cut across industry verticals. Even if the firm you are working with has never worked on anything like your product before, it’s critical that there is alignment on these core practices.

See Goddard’s Featured Projects

2. Design for engineering/manufacturing capabilities

At Goddard, we’ve heard time and time again about companies working with industrial design firms and developing a product that cannot be manufactured. Oftentimes, those companies tell us that they will end up with interesting design ideas, but that there was an inevitable hurdle when it came to handing off those ideas to be manufactured.

The way that Goddard manages this challenge is by keeping our engineers and designers on the same page – the engineering efforts should work in lock-step with the design thinking. Successful designs include usability, manufacturability, and marketability.

Explore Goddard’s Capabilities

3. Design with key stakeholders in mind

It’s critical to seek out design firms that keep the user and other key stakeholders at the center of their design strategy. In some industries, such as the medical device space, companies are required to demonstrate that they have conducted thorough user studies.

The FDA (the regulatory group that oversees approval of medical devices) has created a process that requires companies to quantify their human factors engineering work.

It is just good practice to design products with the user at the heart of the development strategy. The reason this work is mandated is because good design practices will ultimately mitigate patient risk and prevent bad outcomes. If you’re designing for your user, you’re aligned with the law.

Learn About Goddard’s Process

Getting Started With An Industrial Design Company

Here are a few tips on what you will need in order to kick things off once you’ve selected an industrial design company.

1. Gather relevant documentation

Branding guidelines, product design sketches, data from user tests – anything that would provide insight into your company’s design thinking, and user needs. The more you can share with the firm, the better they will be able to quickly and seamlessly integrate those design elements into their work.

2. Be clear about overall goals and timelines

Nothing slows a project down more than miscommunication. Take the time to clearly define your goals with the industrial design firm and be prepared to collaborate with them on determining a timeline. This is not necessarily specific to industrial design companies, but it’s good advice when working with any external firm.

3. Starting at Phase Zero?

If you are at the very beginning of the product development process, here are some basic questions you should be ready to investigate with the help of the industrial design company:

  • What is the product you are making?
  • What should it do?
  • What design elements are “nice to have” versus “need to have”?
  • Who are your users?
  • What is the use environment for this product?

Learn More – Phase Zero: The First and Most Important Step in a Product Development Plan

Working With Goddard

At Goddard, our highly experienced industrial designers have contributed to projects ranging from the entire product development spectrum – from conception to production.

If you’re looking for a skillful, reliable design partner to help get your next project started, be sure to check out some of our Featured Projects and dive into our Product Development Process to learn more about how we approach industrial design.

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