Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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ID is a common, global abbreviation for industrial design, a dominant production process that emerged over the last century. Industrial design has its roots in mechanical engineering, but at heart it is an aesthetic practice that owes its existence to mass production and consumerism. The goal of most ID practices is to improve the commercial success of a product through improvements to the product's form and usability.

Industrial designers are usually one of the core groups of product design teams. The work of designers encompasses almost every aspect of a product, from manufacturing to consumer interaction. In order to produce successful product designs, industrial designers must produce a balance between all of the seemingly disparate concerns of product development (commonly considered to be aesthetics, ergonomics, manufacturability and material concerns, some engineering concerns, usability or functionality, and occasionally packaging or marketing, as well).

Schools of ID Thinking

There are many different schools of design that have developed over the years. Recently, human-centered design practices such as "contextual design" are becoming increasingly popular. Though not necessarily full of new ideas in product development, the extent to which human users are considered in contextual design is much greater than in some other design practices.

Contextual ID focuses on producing a product that has the best usability possible. In order to do so, designers spend the majority of the process considering all angles of the product's usefulness, including how users interact with it, how users finish using it, what other objects may possibly be used along with the product, and how the product appears when not in use. By considering every imaginable scenario, designers aim to increase their understanding of a product, and ultimately, produce innovative solutions to the problems that are posed by the product.

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