Design can be found in all aspects of our lives, it not only has its place in products or physical objects, but also in processes and systems and even cultures. I think design is more about the continuous application of thought towards a particular issue than simply a symbol, image or structure. Good design looks at how that product or service is used and attempts to make the final execution better. It also blends function and form together to give a robust product that is aesthetically pleasing and highly functional. In essence, this is what we try to do here at Zulu Creative, your local Birmingham design agency.
Is it function or form?
It is sometimes difficult to define whether it is function of form that leads the process. However, I believe that great design that endures the test of time is primarily driven by function. The design itself can become a design icon or a desired and established industrial form that is so good it establishes a quality image for the product. Examples of such designs are the classic VW Beatle, the Vesper scooter and the Barcelona chair.
Design should be at the heart of the process!
Every business is different but it is important to think about how your products and services are utilised by your client base. In a competitive environment, consumers expect good quality products at affordable prices. Design is not only about looking good or being functional, it can and should take into consideration all aspects of the business process including manufacturing, warehousing and distribution. To illustrate this last point, if you produce a low cost storage unit (e.g., a plastic box) that cannot be stacked into each other, the cost of transportation would make the product uncompetitive. The design of the box is critical to ensuring the box can be stacked in the most efficient manner for both warehousing and distribution. It’s robustness in its stacked form is also important, with the plastic needing to be stress tested to ensure that the boxes do not shatter when stacked together. The list goes on.
Designed to be a world leader.
Some of the most successful companies place a high emphasis on design. They start the process with a careful consideration of all the design attributes and once the final requirements are in place, they work with a structured design. Both German and Japanese companies are renowned for the emphasis they place on design and it is no coincidence that they also lead the rest of the world as top manufacturing nations.