Industrial design for electronics must fulfil several functions. Objects should be manufactured in large numbers at a most reasonable price with the available machines. However, the manufacturing of a large number of pieces does not yet guarantee large sales. The products should be designed in a way that is appealing to as many people as possible. Sometimes this is a difficult issue for the industrial designer in the electronics industry. This is most often successful if you especially concentrate on visual and tactile experiences.
Today, electronic products are very complex, often also complicated. The requirements regarding design and the ability to offer the user guidance by means of the appropriate shape are accordingly high. The object’s design can give valuable information regarding its use. Thus, industrial design is a deciding factor for the market success of electronic products.
Function and zeitgeist
An object from which you can clearly deduce how it is used tends to be more accepted than an object which forces the user to study a hundred-page manual. Thus, when designing electronic products, special attention is given to the communication by means of the respective form; semantic design is what we called it in earlier days.
On the other hand, such products should reflect the zeitgeist. The user often wants others to see that he/she is using the latest product of a certain category – as long as it is still the most recent one. Here, too, the good electronic industrial designer will recognise his/her responsibility and tend to give the objects a long-lasting design, as long as the technical features allow. At least the shape should not »age« too fast – most often the objects can be used significantly longer anyway. If you succeeded to design the object in a way that it can age gracefully and can »establish a relationship« with the user, a contribution would be made to save resources.
The multidimensionality of electronic-industrial design
Here again the multidimensionality of electronic-industrial design can be pointed out: the shape should on the one hand make using it easier and indicate its use and on the other hand it should support the user in his/her self-representation. Thirdly, however, the form should also convey the brand. Design is an essential mean to develop and maintain brand identity. Look at this remote control for Siemens and compare it with the dictation device for Philips.
A good electronics industrial designer can adapt »his/her handwriting« to the customer and thereby contribute to a consistent brand appearance. However, the good industrial designer will make sure that the product can be used optimally from the user´s point of view, i.e. as good as it is possible within an economic scope. Sometimes the user´s ideal is an unreachable ideal. In particular, if the ideal were technically possible but economic nonsense, for example if the product was 25-times more expensive than comparable competing products.
Otl Aicher once said, the designer does not live easily, because he has to concern himself with all these things. But he wants it. He wants to achieve the best possible practical value at the lowest price possible and nevertheless serve his client and convey his brand and help generate turnover and profit. That is a lot.