Design Gurus on Where Industrial Design Is Headed – From IDEA 2012

on August 30, 2012 by Abraham Pai
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Samsung Electronics brought home 13 awards, including 4 Golds, 2 Silvers, and 1 Bronze. But we weren’t in Boston just to pick up trophies. Samsung Tomorrow was lucky enough to have a chat with the leaders of Industrial Design. Don’t be surprised at how similar bright minds think. Industrial design isn’t just about making things beautiful or coming up with economic ways to manufacture products.



Design guru : “Industrial designers are surrogates for customers”



Q: What do you think ‘industrial design’ is?



McCain (Chairman of IDSA): Really, to me, the industrial designer is a surrogate for the customer. So we're the ones on the development team who understand the user, as opposed to the other people who are worried about the engineering of it or the manufacturing or how much it costs…

We're concerned about how the user is going to feel about the product. Is he going to love it? Is he going to find it easy to use? Is it going to fit his needs?


Angell (Conference Chair Board of IDSA): The traditional definition of industrial design would have to do with optimizing, and experience around form and function, and then balance and a blend. I think that the industry, in general, of design has come to embrace the idea of experience. We're now getting into a point where design is not about a static or singular experience or interaction with the product but really an entire relationship, a set of experiences.



The focus of design changed from manufacturing to user experience



Q: How has design changed?

McCain (Chairman of IDSA): It's really evolved in the last 30~40 years. Up until the 80s, design has been more about form-giving – making a beautiful object and making in manufacturable. But then the computer came along and became embedded in all the products. So now it's a much bigger picture. It's the whole experience of using the product, more than just the beauty of it.


Designs are being reduced down to the basic elements of the screens, and embedded user experience is hidden from view. Until it turns on, you don't exactly understand what it is.

And so the user interface, UXD as we call it, will be very important in the future.



Angell (Conference Chair Board of IDSA):  Well, what's inevitable about the creative world is that you are increasing choice. Increasing choices not just in the simple choices in the market place, but also choices about how people want to live, what they want to do, how they want to express themselves… So the trend of choice will never go away



Samsung’s design has evolved from mere form to meaningfulness



Q: How has Samsung design changed?



Chang (Senior Vice President of Design Group, Samsung): Samsung Design 1.0 focused more on aesthetics, 2.0 on usability and emotional values. Now Samsung Design 3.0 looks to create value in consumers’ lifestyle


In short, this means making things smarter, easier to use, empathetic, and eco-friendly, and by doing that creating overall value that adds to consumers' lifestyles.


Q: What are the strengths of Samsungs design?


Chang (Senior Vice President of Design Group, Samsung): It definitely helps that management acknowledges the importance of design. I also think the Design Innovation System that reads the demands of time and adjusts the goal and roles of design. To be specific, it helps designers get insights on not only product designs, but also trends and developments in colors, materials and interface. Also, in line with the movements towards convergence, Samsung Design brings together talents from fields including business, engineering, marketing and psychology to research future lifestyles and come up with various total, innovative solutions.



Samsung’s design is culturally focused on fitting peoples’ needs



Q: How do you feel about Samsung's design?

Angell (Conference Chair Board of IDSA): I think one of the impressive things about Samsung is that they're embracing this more empathetic point of view. And they partner well, they bring in top designers. And they seem to be very aware of what the consumer is looking for in terms of an experience.


From what I've seen, and the people that I've been interacting with, it seems like it's a very cultural viewpoint of 'how can we help people?


Q: Do you have any favorites?

McCain (Conference Chair Board of IDSA)My wife and I had to buy a new washer and dryer a couple years ago. At that time, we had the typical white cubes in our laundry room, and today I tell her 'it's like we have two BMWs in our laundry room.' I love just going there and looking at them.



IDSA participants’ thoughts on Samsung design



Ludwin Mora (Priority Designs): I think intelligence, thoughtfulness- the inside, the outside, the interface, the quality obviously, very clean, very progressive design.


James Paulius (Priority Designs): I think they do a pretty good job of combining functionality and aesthetics.


The IDSA conference was a great place overflowing with creative energy, and talking to these creative people from different backgrounds allowed us to see how people outside the company perceive Samsung’s products and designs. And it was astonishing how the views of IDSA leaders, top professionals in the business, and Samsung’s direction in design seemed like cousins, if not brothers and sisters. We hope to share more ideas, make more connections to reach and empathize with more and more users around the world to Make It Meaningful


by Abraham Pai

Corporate Communications, Samsung Electronics

Corporate > Design

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