Philip Bourgeois, Founder of StudioRed, discusses his 30+ years of experience in product design - sharing the importance of learning the ins and outs of how products are made to influence his skills as a designer. As Philip puts it, there is no substitute for hands-on learning and exposure to the manufacturing side of the product development process.

studioRed Founder on Product Design (Part 3)

When I started out in product design, a famous designer told me, “if you learn how things are made, you’ll be a better designer.” I took that to heart and worked in a sheet metal shop. As a result, designers start to understand the manufacturing process for products and how they take shape.

I think that every designer should experience sheet metal stamping or an injection molding process. For example, you need to understand what it means to use a rubber over-mold. I don’t know how many times I’ve had to explain that concept to designers.

Most product designers do not realize that rubber over-molding uses two sets of molds that require debugging and tuning. Consequently, this doubles your tooling costs before you even start production. This shocks many product developers who aren’t familiar with manufacturing.

Another example is wanting to add a bright light to a specific area of a product. If the area doesn’t have enough depth, then the light can create hot spots and affect the overall product experience.

When you create lofty goals in product design, it’s important to know what you’re asking for so you can set expectations for production. That said, adding bright lights into small spaces on a product is not scary to me. However, the focus should always be creating effective designs. In the end, you must understand the requirements for manufacturing in order to achieve success.


Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 2


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About the Speaker
Philip Bourgeois
StudioRed Founder
Philip Bourgeois is the Founder of StudioRed. Since its inception in 1983, Philip’s team has introduced more than 400 products developed through the “Rational Emotional Design” process (RED) - which combines logic and emotion into product design to connect with more customers. Considered one of Silicon Valley’s design pioneers, Philip is featured in several books including “From Patent to Profit” and “Make It New: A History of Silicon Valley Design.”

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