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The Past and Future of Products

Product designing has undergone some huge transformations since the starting of the 20th century. The means and approach of the product designer have changed and the traditional product concept design is reaching its end. Commerce changed, methods of production changed, the world is getting smaller and ideas are growing bigger. Look at the past and future product designs and compare the difference.

Previous Picture of Products

At the beginning of 20th Century, research companies like Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park introduced concept design cycle based on experimentation. He and his team created products such as a modern light bulb, electrical grid based on DC current and the phonograph.

Earlier, administrators were essential to lay down large-scale projects and only through them, fundamental research was translated to the industry. A very successful Manhattan Project sets an example for other corporations to adopt new methods of innovation and in the mid-1960’s, a corporate mass production economy was in full swing. In addition, companies like Xerox became a matter of talk during the period of World War 2. Xerox revolutionized the product concept development. In the year, 1970, Xerox introduced PARC research facility and it created an explosion of new products, due to the collaboration between Stanford University Students and PARC scientists.

The products that were manufactured through the collaboration were Laser Printers, Xerox Alto, Graphical User Interface, and Ethernet Local Area Network.

Future Concepts of Products


There are many design trends that will shape the future direction of product concept design. Here are just two of them:

3D printing will make it possible for the product designers to share the concept more economically at an earlier stage. Many 3D printers are available for less than $10,000 and approx. $1,000 for home assembly kits. The technology will benefit those who want to see their design printed, company designers will have them manufactured-on-demand by 3D Printers.

Evolution of Internet has made it possible to view product design from a much broader audience (users and designers). The aspects of designing and configuration are all possible with help of Internet. For example, Quirky is a company that is making invention possible for the normal audience. It works socially on an idea that people can submit their idea for the product and they will show ways to design it online.

Couple the internet and 3D printing for design thinking and we will experience that product concept design is moving closer to a place where someone can change the way people interact with the world.