What separates good industrial design from great industrial design?

Good industrial design is Identifying a problem in a product and taking the right steps to fix it and enhance the product. Typically, the problems revolve around products that people purchase and use throughout their day to day lives.

These products are created to meet user needs. A need is often identified when no product exists to fulfill that need, or a product exists but does not fulfill the need very well. In addition, a product may exist and fulfill a need, but isn’t selling well for any number of reasons, and steps must be taken to make the product more relevant, exciting, visually appealing, etc.


Understanding needs is not achieved by looking at a spreadsheet and reviewing demographic and psychographic data on groups of thousands or millions of people. Digesting this data is very important, but it is only one piece of the puzzle. Great industrial design stems from a deep and intimate understating of the people who will be physically interacting with the product. Hearing from the users, first hand, about their frustrations, concerns, fears, and hopes about the product is crucial. Empathy is key to meeting needs and improving products.

There are so many nuances in the habits and mindset of users. These apply to the product, environment, and the way that it is perceived. Being able to draw out that essential data, identify what is important, and act on those weak points is the key to great industrial design.


The last element to great industrial design is excellent storytelling. Great industrial design is guided by a well-expressed series of thoughts and reasons behind the development of the product. Being able to say WHY and HOW visually is powerful, effective, and leads to a successful design. The story of how you got to the finish line is important, and clearly communicating that in a creative and effective way will always be rewarding.

Great Industrial Design

Great industrial design is understanding people, user needs, and storytelling. A crucial aspect of understanding people is being able to anticipate how someone will react to something. This is the same skill a talent scout must have to predict if a musician will be popular to the masses. An industrial designer can predict if a product will be popular to the masses and tell its’ story.

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