Product design a thought-out process

Matt Fisher said there’s a product designer behind every product you use.

Fisher, product visionary with TRAKKER Design Research Inc. in Reno, said the design of the manufactured product is key to its success.

He said good design means a love-at first-sight thought process when a consumer picks up a product.

“Product design is careful crafting of a product’s form and function,” Fisher said at a recent Nevada Business Connections meeting at the Gold Dust West in Carson City.

He discussed the process he uses, along with many other manufacturing experts, when starting the product design:

-Empathize: Learn about the issues and need for the product;

-Define: How are consumers going to use it?

-Ideate: Generate a bunch of ideas.

-Prototype: Build a representation to show to others.

-Test: Share and learn.

He said it is important to reevaluate and sometimes start the process over as needed.

“Good ideas bubble to the surface,” he said about the process.

Fisher said using real customers and not focus groups also is important in the process.

“If they are objective,” he said, “if you ask, they don’t tell you what you want to hear.”

He said the five-step process is important for the long-term success of a product.

“Any successful product goes through the cycle about three times,” he said. “You can’t skip a step. It will cost you more money later.”

Fisher started the firm in 1988 and has worked with Volvo, 3M, Ford, Home Depot, Brookstone, Best Buy, Lowe’s and Nortel Networks among others.

Fisher also talked about trends in product design saying connectivity is in; using as an example of a toaster that connects to the Internet.

He also said sustainability is becoming more popular.

“Whatever the product, having an aspect of sustainability is important,” Fisher said. “Social power issues are important, especially with Millenials.”

He also said the return of warm colors is ahead, pushing the “icy cold colors of the early 2000s” out.

“Warmth is coming back in,” Fisher said.

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