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Blog: What is industrial design?

Have you ever been frustrated at a device, machine or product? It doesn’t do what it was supposed to and you don’t know how make the problem go away. Adjusting the device is difficult and it seems that there are not enough features – or then there are too many and finding the right settings is impossible.

If you have encountered any of the problems above, then there is something wrong with the design of the product.

An industrial designer’s job looks simple: As a member of a bigger team, their aim is to design as user-friendly a product as possible; that is to say, a device that solves the customer’s problem and is pleasant to use. This could be a crusher, which reduces the size of the rocks so that they can be used in road construction or a remote controller that permits operating the TV with ease.

Unfortunately, creating something simple is often a lot more difficult than you might think.

What kind of product would be ideal for both user and manufacturer? How could you make it easier to use and manufacture? Would a different design cut costs? Should we test new materials or alternative production processes? For example, do most consumers require separate push buttons to adjust contrast or color with a remote controller or not?

An industrial designer seeks to fulfill customer needs while keeping in mind economic, functional and technical limitations. The goal is to add as much value as possible and create a product that is profitable for both the customer and manufacturer. This is a must, since not even the best product in the world would be launched on the market if it can’t be produced cost-effectively.

The tasks of industrial designers have increased with developments in technology. Designing physical shapes is just one part of the job, and an increasing number of designers are now focusing on designing digital services and user interfaces. As with devices and machines, systems and software must also be as user-friendly and adaptable as possible. This benefits both service providers and users.

Despite the recent developments in different tools and design as a field, the core of industrial design has remained unchanged: if the designed products and services make your life easier and help you to do your job better and more efficiently, an industrial designer can be satisfied with what he has done.


How is the future of Finnish industry designed? Metso and its partners will organize an expert panel focusing on how the leading Finnish companies react to the challenges created by digitalization, sustainability and urbanization. The event is called “Rock, Paper, Scissors” and is part of Helsinki Design Week. 


Tuomas Tuokko

Industrial Designer

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