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Product Design: The catalyst for Indian manufacturing toFrom the drawing board to production, product design makes the product attractive and a hit and hence we'll explore the subject to understand it

By Sharad Chauhan

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During the 90s, the small towns in India had very limited access to global brands. I still fondly remember my T-series walkman and my friend's Sony "walkman". The difference in design and craftsmanship was quite visible. It was difficult for me to understand this disparity and it made me wonder on why our products were not at par with the international standards. My curiosity and creative bent for art and design was the thread that connected me to Industrial or product design. I have been a part of this industry for over a decade and it's evident that design acts as a catalyst for the manufacturing sector.

From then to now

Today the desire for good products is being fuelled by manufacturers based in China. The constant supply of white label products to India helps local companies label and sell them across the domestic market. The problem arises when the same design goes to a number of manufacturers and products end up looking similar. These products do not cater to any unique Indian insight or user need.

India is a huge market with global exposure, where consumers demand well-designed appealing products. The consumers still tend to choose similar-looking goods with no identity or uniqueness of their own. Brands need good quality and individuality to be able to stand out. Businesses need to understand that their products should reflect a personality that can connect with people. The aim should be to create products that become one with the people, so much so that they are able to identify with them irrespective of the brand name. A good example of this is set by the automotive industry where the brand language is in direct connection with the form of the product.

Good Design is Good Business

Consumer goods manufacturing has been a part of the Indian industry for decades but clearly, the focus was never on good design. The new wave of digital design has thankfully become a pivotal part of most companies now.

Design is the bond that connects business and engineering. Every great design begins with an even better story. The old practices of copying products and reverse engineering does not help in streamlining the needed advantage. It is time to put these stories and ideas to design high quality products that adhere to international standards. The scenario is changing and companies are interested in experimenting with innovative products, but there's still a long way to go. There is a huge influx of foreign products in Indian market and makers need to up their game to outshine.

A view from the studio

Running a design company, one works with categories ranging from hand held devices to large appliances. Some of the most common challenges are –

· Reducing cost for the final product

· Making products that are production friendly

· Providing design that is not just good looking but caters to a need.

The need of the hour is a little more discipline in manufacturing practices, use of right methodologies, and guidance in the right direction by experts, the combination of these attributes can help manufacturers in the long run.

3D printing/prototyping and global exposure to trends has made it easier for the designers to visualize and make well designed products. When you walk into a store and a product aligns with your style, it creates a special feeling. Design is the x-factor that attracts you to any product. Indian consumers are ready for a change. There was a time when design wasn't the main focus of product development. People are ready to spend more and expect their products to be user-friendly and appealing at the same time.

Sharad Chauhan

Co-founder GDD - A Product Design Studio

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