Advancement through design

Klaus Botta, 09.07.2018

The term industrial design expresses it quite clearly. This type of product design is directly linked to industrial production.
In the pre-industrial age, craftsmen used the materials and processes to which they had direct access. And those were limited at that time.
The shaping or design more or less naturally followed the then very limited possibilities.
Prosperity and luxury were represented by nobler materials and/or handcrafted finishes. Examples of this are the goldsmith's art or sculpture

With the beginning of industrial mass production, however, the general conditions changed significantly. The emergence of new materials - above all plastics - suddenly opened up completely new design possibilities in the middle of the last century.

Freedom leads to decisions. Decisions, in turn, require technical and professional competence. The vacuum of competence (how do I design with the new materials and technologies) was filled by architects at the beginning of the last century. The architects and artists of the BAUHAUS played a formative role here and they are still known today for pioneering product design and its classic.
However, even then design was much more than luxury. Without the use of product design, apparatuses were created that were machines through and through and showed little relation to people.

The French-American industrial designer and creator Raymond Loewy recognized "ugliness sells badly" as early as the 1960s and consciously developed a very unique design language for his objects.
And he was extraordinarily successful with it. Well-designed goods were much more attractive than purely pragmatically functional consumer goods.
At that time, "good design" was still a unique selling point or at least an important attribute of quality and progress.

In the 1960s, design became more democratic and found its way more and more into normal everyday life. The Ulm School of Design had a particularly strong influence on the German design landscape with its strict, factually logical functionalism.
"Less is more" is a programmatic saying by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the BAUHAUS directors, which sums up the spirit of the design avant-garde of the time.

Over the past decades, design has become much more complex and comprehensive. In addition to the classic design virtues such as "reduction to the essentials", functionality and ergonomics, other, more subtle demands on design have been added.

Modern contemporary product design
, as we do at BOTTA design, takes into account a whole range of factors which must be very consciously and carefully coordinated.

A beautiful cover over a finished appliance is of course already better than an unattractive cover. But a truly successful product is only created if it is designed intelligently and far-sightedly from the ground up - namely in the very early stages of product conception. We also call this "genetic phase".
This is exactly where holistic product design as an interdisciplinary science can work wonders. Especially when it succeeds in bringing together the individual areas of competence such as market analysis, conception, design, construction, production and marketing in a synergetic way.

Genetic design requires a precise knowledge of various decisive factors: corporate identity, corporate goals, current product range, competitive situation, future trends, production possibilities and much more.
On the basis of these factors, an experienced design team can develop concepts that stand out positively from the current mainstream and thus create genuine unique selling points.
In order to be able to achieve all this, the development team should be a heterogeneous team in which characteristics such as creativity, future orientation, know-how, but also experience and sense of reality are equally represented.

Conclusion: Design has become much more complex and comprehensive than it was a few decades ago. Developing products without a design approach is actually no longer possible today.
Design in the cosmetic sense is certainly better than none at all. However, if you want to be truly successful and future-proof, you can no longer avoid professional product design as an essential part of your corporate identity.
Correctly used, however, intelligently and consistently applied product design within the framework of corporate design provides a sustainable competitive advantage.

We at BOTTA design like to speak of "genetic design" in this context. By this we mean the integration of product design as early as the genetic phase of a new article, device or system.

Superior products are not only created with a view to one's own past or to the competition, but also to a large extent through an unbiased view of the general conditions and opportunities of the future.
To develop this view is one of the most important tasks of a design office.

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