Let’s simplify the product design process from idea generation, to launch.
Industrial design can be an intimidating task. There is so much involved, from market research, product engineering, production, and manufacturing. Where should you even start?
This guide will teach you everything you will need to know to begin your product development journey. If you have any questions, or want to get started, contact us!
This Post Will Cover:
Learn How to Use data to make business decisions
Discover the Design Considerations you need to make for your product to be successful
Discover our top tips for creating your first product prototype.
What should you know before choosing a manufacturer for your product? Find out here!
Market, and define your brand. Find out top tips for raising awareness for your product.
Market analysis means studying your target market within an industry. This step is essential for understanding your potential customers, entry barriers, current market trends, and more. During this step of the manufacturing process, you should practice marketing research. Here at Idea to Life, we offer marketing research services, but if you choose to go at it yourself, here are some valuable strategies:
Qualitative research is to collect, analyse and interpret non-numerical data. This includes focus group research, one-on-one interviews with potential customers and case study analysis. One use of qualitative research is to help develop more profound insights into what your target customers want.
Quantitative data takes the opposite approach. With quantitative data, you analyse numerical data through surveys and analytics. Quantitative research is mainly concerned with discovering facts based on social phenomena. In other words, it observes the effect of social influence on consumers and draws generalised findings. Your Marketing Research Checklist
How old is your ideal customer?
How can you communicate with them?
What are their hobbies?
What are some pain points or problems they have?
How can your product address these pain points or problems?
How much does your ideal customer earn per year?
How much would your customers be willing to spend on your product?
Which of your product’s features do your ideal customers like/dislike
What are the most important benefits your product will provide?
Who are your key competitors?
Will your product be better than competitors products?
Would a customer pay more for your product?
Now that you have a fair understanding of your target market, you can narrow it down further and split your market into personas. A marketing persona is a fictional representation of a group of customers with similar characteristics. These personas help visualize the people you are making the product for and help with future marketing decisions. An easy and free tool to help make buyer personas is HubSpot's "make my persona". This tool asks some questions about your ideal customer and creates a persona using a template which you can then download.
Engineering and Product Design
Product design is essential to promote the sale of your products. Without a product that works well, meets safety standards, and is readily manufacturable, it will be unlikely to reach the launch phase. Our team of product design engineers is well equipped with the knowledge and experience to assist you in developing your idea. If you choose to go at product design yourself, here are some key factors to consider:
Patenting Your Idea
Protect your idea with a patent. Patents are crucial for ensuring that your product idea will not be stolen. We have a helpful article here: that covers all there is to know about patents. Be aware! There are costs and obligations you must meet when patenting your product idea. We would recommend seeking professional help before applying for a patent.
Meeting Government safety standards
Depending on where you live, various government laws, safety standards, and regulations must be considered when designing your product. To find safety regulations and laws in Australia, visit the ACCC website (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission).
Material requirements and costing When designing your product, make sure to consider what materials should be used for both functionality and cost-effectiveness. Using incorrect materials is a recipe for disaster; either your product will not work effectively or cost significantly more.
Product Quality and Functionality
Similar to the point previously, make sure your product works! Consider how long your ideal customer will use your product and design it to work effectively for that time or longer. The higher your product quality, the higher your margins/sale price can be.
Now more than ever, there is a push for sustainability. Building your product to be more sustainable reduces waste, enhances marketability and ensures your product has a higher future value. Not only will you reduce your impact on the environment, but you will give your brand a good reputation. There are so many vital elements to consider during product design. Make sure to consider these points to make your design a success! We offer product design services at Idea to Life, and we are keen to work with you to assist in making product design easier.
Testing and Prototyping
Prototyping is vital for various reasons, from testing your product to proving yourself to potential investors. Prototypes can be anything from rough sketches to advanced 3D models. Here are our top tips for creating your first product prototype:
One of the most effective ways to develop your product prototype is outsourcing to an engineering or manufacturing company. They understand the logistics behind prototype creation and will ensure your product is up to your countries standards.
Creating it Yourself
For simple prototypes, you can always give them a go yourself! Prototypes do not always have to be complicated. After all, anything from a drawing on paper can be classified as a prototype. However, we would not recommend this method for new inventors as you want your first prototype to be functional.
Once again, outsourcing your prototype, but this time to students and/or teachers. Universities have many facilities to create and build product prototypes. Academic institutions look for industry engagement. So this suggestion is best suited to established businesses or larger resource companies. You can always try your luck though!
Various factors may influence the pricing of your product prototype. Some of these factors may include:
If your product has electronic components
The size and complexity of your product prototype
Types of machines needed to create your prototype
What materials are required and how much is needed
Whether manual labour is necessary to complete your product
To simplify this process, usually, it is best to work with product designers. They will know how best to keep costs down and what function the prototype plays during the development process. For more information on the types of prototyping and what options we offer at Idea to Life, check out our prototyping page.
Production and Manufacturing
If you need to outsource the manufacturing of your product, find a manufacturer who is experienced in producing similar products to yours. Typically working with your product designer is a good practice as they will know the ins and outs of your product. At Idea to Life, we offer manufacturing options and product design services based on your needs with scalability in mind. Contact us for more info! If you choose to look for a manufacturer yourself, here are some things you should consider:
Manufacturer Reputation Determine how well the manufacturer has treated their clients and supply chain in the past. Going into business with a manufacturer is a long term commitment. Ensure that you choose a manufacturer with your best interests at heart.
Own Your Product
Ensure that you are the owner of your design and your CAD files. The last thing you want is someone else to own the product you worked so hard on! Ensure that you have exclusivity to your design and own all of the work and tooling involved in creating it.
Manufacturers Pricing Strategy Consider the pricing strategy that your manufacturer will use to create your product. Will they charge a royalty for your products? Will they charge you upfront? Pricing is a critical consideration when choosing a provider, so make sure to do your research.
Understanding your bill of materials
Does your product require the use of paper? Plastic? Metal? The materials that your product is made from is a critical component in which manufacturer to choose. Make sure that you choose a manufacturer that is specialised in manufacturing the materials you need.
How fast can your chosen manufacturer produce the goods you need when given a specific timeframe? Can they keep up with demand? If your manufacturer cannot keep up, you will have difficulties once your product orders increase.
Know that both you and your manufacturer are responsible for the overall quality of your product. Make sure your manufacturer has a proven track record and has the facilities required to produce your product on a mass scale.
Shipping At some point, you will need to move your products. There is no point in having them stored in a factory somewhere unused. Ensure your product manufacturer has the capabilities to ship your products or is partnered with someone who can.
Dropshipping is the term used to refer to when goods are delivered directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. Depending on your business model and level of income, dropshipping could be an option for you.
Many relationships need to be built during the production and manufacturing stages of product design. Ensure that your manufacturer is well equipped to handle your orders and has strategic partnerships to keep costs to a minimum. At Idea to Life, we understand that creating a successful business is all about building relationships. We work with every client to ensure that their products are produced efficiently and shipped as needed. We are committed to your success—it's all about the relationships!
Branding and Marketing
Marketing and defining your product brand is a complex but essential part of the product development journey. You need to communicate value to your target customers, build trust and position yourself strategically within your chosen market. One of your businesses most valuable assets will be your brand, so here are our tips for creating an effective brand strategy
What sets your brand apart from the rest? It can be anything from your story, your goals or even the sustainability of your products. Design your marketing and product offering to set yourself apart from your competition. Brand positioning is important for shaping customer preferences and increasing loyalty to your business, so make sure it is done right!
Develop effective name, logo and tagline
Consider some of the most memorable ads and marketing campaigns. What do they all have in common? They all have a memorable name, a recognisable logo and a tagline you can catch yourself humming or saying. Develop your name logo and tagline to be consistent with your brand positioning strategy. By doing this, you are consistently communicating a marketing message that can be easily understood by your customers.
Develop a professional website
Your website is likely going to be your first point of contact with your customers. First impressions are the most important. Ensure that your website looks professional and communicates your offerings in a simple but effective manner. The easier your products are to locate, and the more information you provide, the more likely your ideal customer will purchase your product.
Determine Best Marketing Channels
During market research and analysis, you should have determined how to best communicate with your target audience. These are your marketing channels to use. Typically google, Facebook and YouTube ads will be the most effective. But depending on your target audience, traditional marketing means may also be effective.
Track and adjust your marketing efforts
Marketing does not stop. Once your website has been made, and your product is selling, you need to ensure your marketing efforts are effective. Make sure all of your marketing is being monitored, and adjust campaigns until you find what works for your product.
Tracking reviews is super useful for generating new product design ideas, or improving on your product. Almost every successful business keeps a close eye and ear to what their consumers are saying about their brand.
Product design is not easy, there is a lot to learn throughout the process, but the most important piece of advice is to get started! Your new product idea, no matter how small, can be a success. If you need help with any stage throughout this guide, feel free to contact us. We offer end-to-end product development services and we look forward to working with you.