The New Definition of Product Design

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Vint, Larry
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Betty Jacobs

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1999
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UNSW, Sydney

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In recent years, we have witnessed a dramatic change in the field of product design. Fundamentally, product design is now commonly referred to as 'development'. This term conveys the extension of the designer's influence throughout the entire process, and not just in the middle, but in the front end marketing and the back end engineering stages. This change has broadened our scope, opened up our worlds and our minds, and has made product designers more important to the practice of developing products than ever before. Integrated in this change are other realities that must be confronted in order to succeed in the field of product design. New software and technologies have profoundly altered the value and core of the traditional set of skills of the designer. New methods of market research extract from consumers the unspoken needs and unrealised habits and behaviours. There is an almost universal desire for corporations to contract-out industrial design and full engineering development in order to maintain lean organisations, while leveraging world class design expertise. In order to prepare product design students for these new realities, we must continually evolve curriculums to teach and inform students of what is required of development. This expanded learning must be carefully incorporated into the formal education of product design so that students are prepared to confront today's new, altered face of design.

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DECA Conference 99 Conference Publication

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