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Guest Hazdaz

Do Designers Actually Think Ahead When Coming Up With A Design?

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Guest Hazdaz

Seriously now, some designs that I have been seeing lately kind of piss me off...

 

Do these designers put any thought into manufacturing the item? Into thinking about if there is enough room inside to fit all necessary components? Or what about structural strength of the stuff they are drawing up?

 

I am talking about things like impossibly small devices - lets pick cellphones, as an example. Maybe I am wrong on this, but seems that no thought is being put into how big the battery is, and if you could even cram in all the circuitboards into some of the designs that I have seen. Like yea, you can create a perfectly nice looking rendering of a phone that's like 1 mm thick, but you can't exactly build it that thin. Where are all the "guts" going to go? Is the talk-time going to be measured in seconds, since the battery is going to be the size of a watch-battery?

 

I have always thought that designers should be thinking about stuff like that.

 

 

And no, I am not picking on anyone in particular, and I just picked the cellphone idea as an example. Ok maybe I am just grumpy this morning, and this post is going to piss off some people in here.

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In the real world? or academia?

 

In the real world of course you have to think of that, but thats something that will get bounced back and forth between engineering and design. Most students don't have access to cell phone guts (which are admittedly very thin nowadays) so they can't say "oh I need an extra 2mm of clearance for this capacitor".

 

Most of the time those types of projects are really just styling exercises, it's not about practicality, realism, or manufacturability, just about making something that looks cool.

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So just argueing from what you are describing, thinking ahead is exactly what they do. They might think "components will get thinner and more powerful then what they are now" and they look at the thinnest phones on the market, and do something even thinner. They may even have researched future technologies, but it's not easy to show in a rendering. That's why submissions of school projects require reports, logbooks, sketchbooks. foam models and what not. But when you take existing "guts" and make a design from that, THAT is a simple styling exercise - you are just making a shell.

 

>>Most of the time those types of projects are really just styling exercises, it's not about practicality, realism, or >>manufacturability, just about making something that looks cool.

 

I can only speak for myself, but in 4 years of design education all our projects have been focused on practicality, usability, ergonomics and feasbility in general. Styling has always been set aside. (which I sometimes regret, I would like to have a proper styling project, but I guess that's something you can do in your spare time)

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I can only speak for myself, but in 4 years of design education all our projects have been focused on practicality, usability, ergonomics and feasbility in general. Styling has always been set aside. (which I sometimes regret, I would like to have a proper styling project, but I guess that's something you can do in your spare time)

 

From what I gathered, he was probably talking about things that were posted on here, which I assume are mostly things people have done in their spare time. Theres never been a shortage of "check out my cell phone" threads on this board.

 

I agree though, I never had a styling only project in school, but I also didn't go to a school that focused on the "art" side of things. I have seen other schools that have had projects that were things like "design a 3 bluetooth headsets in Photoshop" which is really just styling/technique.

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Guest jose3

Thanks for the topic Hazdaz.

Most of the designs here are almost unmanufacturable. Its true that there are lots of members are in the way of becoming professionals and it is understandable. It is a fairly common mistake thinking or supposing that some genius engineer will solve our technically complicated new and fashion product image. Real life irons out that attitude very fast anyway.

 

I don't see this wrong in the pursuit of reasonable and good looking product design what I see wrong about this misconception is that envisioning new products makes designs drastically smaller without body mass as if everything new has to be immaterial. I don't buy that idea. It is not certain what is going to happen tomorrow.

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Of course when designing in the "real world" then you have to think about the reality of what you are designing. If the battery for example does not fit into your design, then it will not work...and wont be built. When it comes to the idea however that designing something that due to its size has to have a small battery, and therfor talk time....well. This is probably more an issue that is handed to the designer from the marketing dept. They may be willing for example to market a low talk time phone in exchange for the slim line modern aesthetic. If not....then the designer will be told, and the design will change.

 

When it comes to pure speculative sketches however, it is a designers job to envisage the future. What could a phone look like if this or that was possible? By doing this they can find where they would like to take the future aesthetic of a product. This in turn can give direction to the engineering dept...who can then find ways to make this possible. This is how progress is made after all!

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Guest Hazdaz

Like I mentioned in my first post, I really wasn't trying to pick on any one person or even on any particular project, but I happen to have cell phones on the brain and used that as an example... but I think it's a good example because it has many constraints put upon the design that can be related to other consumer products.

 

CYBERDEMON, you made a good point about "In the real world? or academia?", but in all honesty, unless the design is a "far-off" vision of the future, even in academia, real-world constraints should be put into a design. Hell, isn't that the whole point of education - to prepare a student for the real world? Sure, I would love to design something that is 150% unmanufacturable and then pass off that problem to some future brilliant engineer, but that to me seems like a cop-out. (and hell, maybe it is just me that has an 'issue' with that)

 

... BUT while some engineering limitations might go away, the human-interface problem won't. I've seen some phones/music players/cameras/whatever that don't even fit the human body. Like wacky keys that are nearly microscopic or no way to hold a device while using it. Those issues I find inexcusable. OK, fine, maybe one day batteries will become ultra tiny to the point that we can hide them anywhere, but chances are that in 5 or 10 or even 50 years, humans will still have fingers about the same size as ours. Same with our feet and ears and eyes. Why wouldn't designers take those issues into consideration.

 

OK - I think I have rambled on long enough, but just throwing out this idea/light-hearted complaint to the designers of the world.

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There is more than enough time to cope with reality when that comes along. Conjecture is very important. As a professional you will be told exactly what constraints to deal with. But a 1mm thick cell phone. Do you really think that is far off? I dont think so. Given Moores law that is almost inevitable. It is important that someone thinks into the future. What does design look like when everything looks like magic. Suddenly Harry Potter looks like more like science fiction than fantasy. The phones from my childhood were positive bricks. IDers have been designing things like flexible screens for years and only recently were the ideas translated into reality by Sony. Someone has to dream it, and then build the ideas around it. So- there is a smaller screen, so there is an implant... so what? What difference would it make if you had smaller objects. Does the nature of usage change. Do the users change? Science fiction used to play the role of predicter, and I am not sure why they dont seem as prolific these days

 

Fantasy projects can create a dream to build reality to. Nothing worse than flogging the same dead horse- and not pushing the game forward.

 

That said- I can see where you are coming from. If a blue-sky project does not really deliver some great dream, then dont waste our time. I believe that every portfolio needs a good balance of reality vs dreaming..

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