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Product Design – Functional or Styling?

Good product design is more than looking “cool”; exciting, stylish products are not necessarily well designed.

An experienced designer can’t see a conflict between the function of the product and its appearance. On the contrary, designers often use the functionality as a starting point for the external design, creating beautiful products that work…perfectly.

If you need a proof, just look at the most successful companies that appear on the market. Their success shows that, with the appropriate appearance of the product and hard work, the costs are effective. As well, we cannot forget that many of the most successful manufacturers trade on good design.

Thanks to the knowledge of materials and processes designers are able to find specific product design brief or looking at the “bigger picture” creates new opportunities with real solutions to real problems in an aesthetically attractive process. A good designer will exploit the requirements of the product’s function to create an individual and beautiful design that will delight both its owner and the manufacturer.

Of course, we need to remember that success is not without effort and product design is a resource that costs money. Certainly, a good design may cost more than a regular square box, designed in the short term, but the return on investment will make that worthwhile.

Designs are investments over time, you should remember that. When a good designer gives you a bill it is an investment. This is a good product design that helps your business grow and good designs last longer.

You don’t want to end up redoing your design roughly a few times and eventually hire a good designer. You don’t want to waste your time and money with mediocre designers, everything because you get it done for a few hundred pounds less, at the first instance.


A good example of a good product design is iPod/iPhone/iPad/iWatch – leaded by the world’s most iconic and celebrated industrial designer, Sir Jonathan Ive. Everything started with the iPod in 2001, and then in 2007 was released iPhone, three years later, the iPad, in 2012 the iPad Mini and finally the iWatch. The design is very functional and stylish. This well designed product definitely creates a powerful brand and also brings great profits.
Even in design industry faux pas happens. If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of doing it badly. The actual difficulty starts when design collapses destroy products or even the whole companies. It is a common knowledge and we’ve all seen that.

Unfortunately, for some a slide starting in the sensitive part of an elephant is still an extraordinary idea.


So the product design should be functional or styling? The great design will be both!


About the author: Kamila Miller is a marketing executive at 3form Design, which is a Product Design and Product Development consultancy that offer a disciplined creative resource to all industries ultimately requiring new product design. We are turning great ideas into great products! 

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Shobhit Kumar Lal May 12, 2015, 6:45 pm

    Hi Kamila,
    Outstanding post. I am an artist though, but also a design enthusiast. I agree with you that a great design is not just about looks, its more abt the user experience. That’s what makes it great and sucessful. I am working on my new website where I will be covering similar topics. That’s why I am doing my research to learn more about the design fundamentals & how it is useful for the society. Your post helped me to understand that.

    Thanks for this useful article.

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