What are good habits of product designers

Profession of the Week: The beauty of things

Gunnar Spellmeyer walks the world with open eyes. He is a professor at the Hanover University of Applied Sciences. If you go through the world with open eyes, he says, you will notice which things from everyday life can be designed more comfortably. As a product designer, this is his job. In addition to a good grasp of the subject, his students also need the ability to think in a structured and creative manner, they need spatial imagination and the ability to create plastic forms. "Being able to draw and model in particular is essential for the product designer," says Spellmeyer. "Communication skills are also important, because you have to be able to present and sell your idea."

Always being inventive and having ideas ready - that sounds like the typical day-to-day work of a creative person. A high level of artistic activity is certainly indispensable in what is soberly called industrial design. In contrast to many other design professions, the product designer also requires solid math and physics skills. After all, the objects should not only look chic, but also be functional and possibly also be able to be mass-produced inexpensively. "The product designer combines the creative creativity of a designer and the inventiveness of an engineer. He also has to understand a lot about technology," says Spellmeyer, summarizing the profile of the profession.

There is a long way to go before the final design of an object: First, extensive research is carried out on the product, the usage habits of consumers must be known, the materials used up to now and much more besides. Consumers must be able to cope with the implementation of an article easily and be satisfied. With every new design, the product designer therefore asks himself the question: Which conditions have to be met? Are they easy to use and look good? Are the production costs within limits? At some point the first sketches are made on paper, only then does the further development on the PC follow. The design then goes from the paper to the computer. So-called 3-D CAD programs help to create a three-dimensional model. CAD means "Computer Aided Design" and translated means "computer-aided design". If the concept proves to be promising, a provisional prototype is produced - it usually consists of simple cardboard. The first models are manufactured on the basis of the prototype - and only then does the item go into production.

In principle, there is nothing that is not designed by the product designer - unless it is intended for mass production. Here there is a limit to the artisan, for example the carpenter, who sometimes works in a similar way, but pursues a different philosophy. In contrast to the artisan, the product designer does not create unique items, but products that can usually be mass-produced. The product designer has to manage the balancing act between cost-effective production and high quality. "Expectations of new products and thus the pressure on designers are high. With every new development, product designers also deliver an improvement and make a promise of quality," says Spellmeyer.

Product designers find their jobs both in design offices and in the development departments of larger companies. Designers from different areas work hand in hand. The necessary, difficult study is worthwhile, because the job opportunities for product designers are brilliant. Because the industry is growing steadily, there is a consistently positive climate. "After completing their studies, the product designer has good chances of finding a job. We have a placement rate of over 90 percent," says Spellmeyer of the product designer's positive prospects.

Working hours: approx. 40 hours per week

Training: Education

Earnings: from 35,000 euros