As our world changes, the challenges to business grow. Old ways of thinking are being replaced by open minds and creativity. Design is playing a central role in helping solve problems and drive the future. We invite you to see how design is shaping the new business.

A Zilver Innovation initiative

Is there a future for industrial design?

This documentary is about how the relationship between design and business is transforming. From our interviews, we’re learning that part of this transformation is reflected in the role of designers and changes in the skills that designers need. The film will have lots of insight into this topic from a variety of perspectives. The discussion has made us think about our own design skill sets, our experiences, our backgrounds…

Some of us working on the project come from industrial design backgrounds. We’ve worked as professionals, developing products in a ‘traditional’ way. But more and more it seems that physical devices are becoming carriers for the primary product – the virtual experience. The emphasis is on minimizing the physical, while providing the largest screen possible.

Of course Apple is an excellent example. As designers we used to view Apple as the company that placed the most emphasis on cool form details and material use. Remember how each new computer release seemingly had a new form language? Remember the impact of the original iMac? Now think about the current iMac, the iPhone, the iPad…Certainly there is tremendous attention to details like radii and finishes, but there is an established, simple, elegant form language which is applied to the whole product family. There is less room for an industrial designer to explore form…

Today, changes to the emphasis of physical products are coupled with tremendous competition from a saturated industry, as well as other trends like the prevalence of software that allows non-trained designers to create products. Therefore one has to question the future for industrial designers. Is the field going to be as important as it traditionally has been? Will there be fewer industrial designers in the future because of less need? Are designers going to move into different specialties? Or is industrial design going to transform and have a different ‘definition’ of what it is about?

What do you think about the future of industrial design? What are the important skills that are relevant today? How should design education transform to prepare the new breed of industrial designers? We welcome your insights!



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