What makes a good Product Designer?

Defining the qualities necessary for successful design solutions


So what makes a good product designer, capable of great success with the projects they undertake? We came up with ten qualities that we see good product designers’ exhibit every day…

1. Communication – This is vital, as without effective communication skills it’s very difficult to get ideas across to colleagues and clients. While verbal and written skills are essential, the ability to communicate ideas visually is even more important. A picture tells a thousand words, a good picture tells ten thousand words.

2. Problem-solving – Before a problem can be solved, it must first be understood. A good product designer will first set out to discover the different components of the problem before searching for, testing, proving and refining suitable solutions for it.

3. Curiosity – Product designers are intensely curious about everything and never stop learning. They are repositories of immense knowledge in many disciplines and are comfortable in the board room, the laboratory, the machine shop and on the shop floor.

4. Creativity – In order to be a successful product designer, it is essential to have the ability to conjure up fresh ideas day in, day out. Some of this is natural talent, however everybody has creative blocks. The difference is that a good designer can still find inspiration by using proven techniques and tools they have developed for themselves.

5. Empathy – It’s important for a successful product designer to be willing to look at the product from the point of view of someone who is very different to them in terms of age, gender and lifestyle. Sometimes this is uncomfortable but when you ‘walk a mile in someone else’s shoes’ you gain a good insight into how they might experience the product. A good product designer should be prepared to get cold/wet/dirty and scared because it might save someone’s life one day.

6. Foresight – The ability to recognise future issues that will present themselves during a product’s design, manufacture and eventual use early in the project helps to prevent mistakes that would be costly in both time and money if they were missed. Experience is the best learning there is and keeping a personal day log can be a great career resource to look back on.

7. Self-criticism – Good product designers constantly evaluate their work for flaws and invite others who have a considered and useful contribution to make, to do the same. That same designer should never shy away from dealing with those flaws if they are proven to be well founded.

8. Break the rules – Innovation doesn’t occur unless boundaries are pushed and broken. A good product designer sees obstacles as opportunities to create something great and they will set out to get around them by trying things that have never been done before.

9. Attention to detail – As the saying goes “the devil is in the detail” and this is especially true for product design. Failing to consider the smallest features of a part can mean expensive problems with production or assembly or even failure during use later on.

10. A desire to keep on improving – A good designer is never satisfied with the status quo. They will always question whether something can be improved. Whatever that might be in relation to the requirements of that part or product. Making something great is always the aim of a good product designer.

Here at Hillside Product Design, we aim to provide exceptional design and engineering solutions to our clients by demonstrating these qualities on a daily basis. Contact us today to see how we can help you make great products.


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