Guide

How can I use design in my business?

How you can use product design

Good design can increase your product's reach in the marketplace and make it more attractive to customers. These are important factors in selling the product, improving it and getting a return on your investment.

Careful product design can also help you to reduce your production costs, optimise the use of materials and minimise waste.

Product design process

Product designers do many things before their concepts go into production. They have key roles through the product's design and development project, including:

  • strategic enquiry and orientation - informing the overall strategy of your product and providing direction and context
  • briefing - producing a record of your product's description, functionality and features, how it compares to its main competitors, any recent research, sales targets and forecasts that should inform the design development
  • social, economic and technological context - carrying out market research to find out how relevant and attractive your product would be
  • innovation - providing sketches, proof of principle models and/or computer-aided design layouts of the new product
  • concept generation - leading design and development of potential ideas to create an original design that meets the brief
  • design development - deciding what the product will look like, what it will be made from and how it will be produced after design and prototype

Working with a designer on product development

Depending on how often your business develops new products, you may want to employ a designer to work as part of your in-house product development team.

This does not mean that you need to establish a separate design department. Designers can work in-house as part of the marketing team or can help manage your manufacturing function. They are used to considering both the commercial and operational implications of their designs.

Designers, whether in-house or independent, can also help you manage your product portfolio and plan for new developments. How and where your products are made, warehousing, distribution and scheduling are all part of the product design process. See how to choose and work with a designer.

You can also complete our Get design ready tool to improve your understanding of design and its role in developing successful products, services and businesses.