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Example of designed product - Roomba robotic vacuum cleaner.

Product design can be defined as the idea generation, concept development, testing and manufacturing or implementation of a physical object or service. Product Designers conceptualize and evaluate ideas, making them tangible through products in a more systematic approach. The role of a product designer encompasses many characteristics of the marketing manager, product manager, industrial designer and design engineer.

The term is sometimes confused with industrial design, which defines the field of a broader spectrum of design activities, such as service design, systems design, interaction design as well as product design.[citation needed] The role of the product designer combines art, science and technology to create tangible three-dimensional goods. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualize and analyze ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.

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Skills needed

Product designers are equipped with the skills needed to bring products from conception to market. They should have the ability to manage design projects, and subcontract areas to other sectors of the design industry. Aesthetics is considered important in Product Design but designers also deal with important aspects including technology, ergonomics, usability, stress analysis and materials engineering.

As with most of the design fields the idea for the design of a product arises from a need and has a use. It follows a certain method and can sometimes be attributed to more complex factors such as association and telesis. Also used to describe a technically competent product designer or industrial designer is the term Industrial Design Engineer. The Cyclone vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson for example could be considered to be in this category (see his autobiography Against The Odds, Pub Thomson 2002).

Application

Some companies or individuals have particularly strong feel for developing new products than others. In the modern world these include especially technological companies like iRobot, Google or Nokia. Many product designers are strategic assets to companies that need to maintain a competitive edge in innovation.

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