This is also the phase of design that most people are familiar with: the creation of sketches and models that show what the final product might look like. In addition to inspiring the commercial team and providing a vision of how your products might look, the concept stage of the design process also has another, more practical purpose: to explore options.
There are often two phases to the concept stage – a broad look at various design and development routes followed by a more detailed look at the most suitable options. The broad look will consider a wide range of ideas and intentionally ‘push the boundaries’ on what could be achieved, whereas the detailed phase will refine the ideas and explore options in terms of materials, finishes, operation, maintenance and production.
This is the stage where you should be examining every option and questioning how things are done at the moment, in your business and your industry. At its most extreme, the concept stage is the point at which very successful brands dominate the market by introducing products that people don’t even know they want yet. Clearly, this is a high risk approach, but the potential rewards are dramatic.
Having gained your feedback on our ideas, we’ll then refine the options down to one solution that will form the basis of the final product design. Most of the concept designs are presented as 3D CAD models. Depending on the project, concepts may also be shown in sketch form or as models – or even all three.
Even if you don’t want to go for so-called ‘disruptive innovation’, the concept phase should be the point at which you work with your product design consultants to explore all the possibilities in terms of appearance, use, production and materials. This is the stage that can make the most difference to the competitiveness of your new product: not just with appearance, but by finding lower cost production methods or adding additional features.
View some of our product design examples in our product design portfolio.