As a young field within the broader sphere of engineering, product design and development is still developing its own set of standards and processes. While there are a number of people who work in these fields, it’s not always clear what the differences are between them.
Are they the same thing? Well, not exactly. We break down some of the key differences between product design and development so you can understand which one is best for your career goals. Let’s take a look!
Understanding Product Design and Development
Both product design and product development are engineering disciplines that focus on bringing a product from concept to completion. Design is focused more on the creative side, while development is focused on building and manufacturing the product. Since the two are so closely linked, it may be difficult to know the difference between product design and development.
However, the main difference between product design and development is that one is focused on the design and functionality of a product, while the other is focused on the process of bringing a product to market. That’s why these two job titles are often used as a single job position.Engineers who specialize in product design will work at the conceptual stage of a product.
During the manufacturing phase, product designers finish their design and collaborate with other team members to ensure that their design is both functional and meets product specifications. In the design phase, product designers sketch out preliminary prototypes.
What is Product Design?
Product designers are responsible for the functionality and aesthetics of a product. They are responsible for what the product looks like and how it works. They also create mock-ups and prototypes to test out their design and determine if it will work as intended. There are a few subfields within product design that you may come across.
The subfields are Industrial Design, Interaction Design, and User Experience Design.Industrial Design – This focuses on the aesthetics of the product, including its shape, size, colour, materials, etc. It’s also what most people think of when they think of product design. An industrial designer would create a new car model, or perhaps a new computer.Interaction Design
– This focuses on the user experience. You’ve probably heard that products should be “user-friendly”. That’s what an interaction designer is responsible for. They would create the menu for a restaurant, or the checkout process for an online store. User Experience Design
– The difference between these two subfields is that UX designers focus more on the functionality of a product to make it easy to use. UX designers are responsible for things like navigation, searchability, load times, and the overall functionality of a product.
What is Product Development?
Product developers are responsible for bringing a product from concept to completion. That means designing the product, building a prototype, and testing the product to ensure that it works as intended. These are different tasks than what product designers do.
They work together to create a product that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing.If you’re part of the product design team, you’ll be getting input from the product development team as they build the product once you’ve completed the design. Product development teams often work in the prototype phase to ensure that the product will work as intended.
They also work during the testing phase to troubleshoot any issues that arise with the product. Once the design team has completed their part of the process, the product development team will move on to creating the manufacturing plan for the product. This is where the product developers and designers collaborate to ensure that the product will be easy to manufacture.
Product designers focus on the process of bringing a product to market, while product designers focus on functionality and aesthetics. Product designers determine what a product looks like and how it functions, while product developers focus on the process of bringing a product to market. If you ask a product developer whether they are a designer, they are unlikely to say yes.
Everything that occurs after the design team has finished is the responsibility of product developers. Product developers are responsible for putting a product on the market. They bring a product to production, test it, and ensure that it operates as it should., They work together on product development and design teams because they are in charge of both the design and production of a product.
Which of these is easier to get into?
As with many things, the answer to this question is, it depends. While product design does have a more creative edge, the development side of things can be quite technical. The main difference between the two fields is in their focus; product design focuses more on the product design, while product development focuses on bringing the product to market.
That being said, the two sides of the field work together closely, so you may find yourself doing work on both sides of the project if you go into product design and development. Design and development are both rapidly growing fields, so you should begin learning as much as you can about them immediately. Network with people in the field, and seize every chance to get your foot in the door. The field is growing, so there are lots of opportunities for those who are interested in it.