Product Styling

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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As an aspect of industrial design, product styling is important in manufacturing a form that suits a conceptually sound product idea. In the process of new product development, the styling stage is where designers are able to tailor the look and feel of the product to the consumer marketplace. Product styling is one process that will hopefully result in a well-differentiated product.

Product Styling And ID-led Innovation

The ID spectrum is a general measuring stick that describes the role of industrial design in the product development processes of every business. On one end of the spectrum is innovation that is led by ID processes--businesses that operate with these ideas usually incorporate product design as an integral role in conceptually, technically, and aesthetically defining a new product. On the other end of the spectrum is "silent design," a process in which design responsibilities are performed by employees from other parts of the company who may not be trained in design techniques.

Generally, the styling end of the spectrum describes businesses where ID has little role in product development, and the Innovation-by-design end describes businesses where design is a strategic tool in developing the product and increasing market understanding. The role that design plays in a business varies by business, target demographic, and product; product development strategies led by design processes may not be suitable for some businesses. Such businesses may prefer to offer products that are simply designed to perform well.

Product styling technically sits towards the end of the spectrum where design plays a small role in developing the product. Some companies that engage in "silent design" strategies may wish to hire a product styling consultancy to increase their competitive advantage. Styling can potentially improve the corporate image of a company, reduce risk, and, of course, make the product more desirable to consumers.

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