Developments in industrial design have brought us a multitude of exquisitely crafted products that we simply can’t get enough of in modern society. There are some ingenious examples out there of products that have been the result of detailed, creative problem-solving and no short amount of present-day inspiration. We have reached a stage where industrial design has moulded original ideas into the highly desirable final product that we have longed for, yet there is always more room for an inspired industrial designer to realise the potential of these products, whether it’s to work on their functioning purpose or to improve on their ability to blend form. Industrial design requires a creative mind to master the art of fusing an abstract idea with the practical skills and production knowledge the discipline demands, as well as realising the potential of materials and modern technology. The reason we have elevated many industrial designers to iconic status is because of their ability to transfer their skills, qualities and ideas into a final product that captivates an entire population. Here are ten successful industrial design ideas that have cropped up in the past that could fascinate an aspiring designer or indeed have the potential to captivate the curious mind of a consumer.
1. The Coca-Cola Bottle The Coca-Cola bottle is an instantly recognisable product that dates way back to the start of the 20th century. The company asked bottle suppliers to come up with new bottle designs that would be easily distinguished from its rivals and the final product proved to be a huge success. Earl R. Dean was the designer responsible for the Coca-Cola bottle, with his main point of reference during the design process being the drinks ingredients. It’s fascinating to think that the standard curved glass bottle design we always refer to in our minds is in fact based on the shape of a cocoa pod!
2. The ‘Bagless’ Vacuum It’s an industrial design that was inspired by predecessors with a similar function, making it one of many popular designs that have stemmed from an original idea. This particular device however, a product developed by James Dyson in the 1970’s, was a complete transformation of how a hugely popular household product was capable of functioning. Dyson famously created a number of prototypes in his back garden before realising the true potential of the vacuum cleaner, which included a nifty handheld version that was well ahead of its time.
3. Charles and Ray Eames’ Lounge Chair When it comes to producing the perfect chair, you need to find the balance between a seductive appearance and an outstanding level of comfort. The lounge chair and ottoman combo that we were introduced to by Charles and Ray Ealmes had both of these traits, yet they managed to do what no furnishing designer had done before and make it appeal to both the domestic and commercial market. The moulded plywood was finished beautifully with the accompaniment of sleek leather, offering a luxurious alternative to its rivals by nailing comfort and style to a tee. Its unrivalled success has resulted in production continuing to this day.
4. The iPod It seems we are always within a few feet of these ground-breaking devices and their success is largely down to the seamless, iconic skills and ideas of the undisputed king of industrial design, Sir Jonathon Ive. Since the original iPod first appeared in 2001, there has never been such a significant worldwide trend setter in the history of industrial design. From the original rotary search system to being one of very few electronic devices to embrace the potential of future design ideas, there’s always a bit of inspiration we can take from an iPod device that remains unrivalled to this day. It’s fair to say that future releases of the device, including the iPad and forthcoming iPhone 6, are just the start of what could be the greatest industrial design story we will ever know.
5. The AnglePoise Lamp Whether you’ve used it to complete a few first draft design tasks at midnight or witnessed its iconic entrance at the start of a Disney Pixar film, the AnglePoise lamp is widely regarded as an industrial design classic. George Carwardine was the first industrial designer to come up with the idea in 1932, although his main focus at the time was his thriving vehicle suspension projects. The AnglePoise lamp originally had a four spring mechanism that gave desk workers and surgeons that ability to adjust artificial lighting to meet their preferences, in a similar way to the functions of a torch. Nevertheless, it became a huge phenomenon after three spring version were released and made available to the general public. Despite flexible alternatives pushing ahead of this timeless masterpiece, it will still go down as one of Carwardine’s most memorable inventions.
Mike James has a background in design and writes on topics relating to industrial design for Southern United Ltd www.sunited.co.uk, specialist label, nameplate and engraved plaque manufacturers of items for the Aerospace, Defence and Commercial sectors.