How Does a Post-It Note Relate to Industrial Design?

What do you think of when I say the words industrial design? You are probably rolling your eyes wondering how this post is ever going to relate you to. The reality is that you use products made with industrial design every single day and probably don’t ever stop to think about what it means in your life.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design is simply the process used when designing a product that is then applied to the manufacturing of that product. The design is a separate entity from the manufacturer and occurs prior to making it.

Industrial design is not the same thing as a craft-based design where the product gets determined at the time of its manufacture.

While all products are a result of the design process, that actual process takes on many different forms.

For example:

  • It could be an individual or large team.
  • Sometimes it’s based on creativity and other times precise decision-making skills are a factor.
  • The influence comes from many factors including materials needed, the process of production, aesthetic attitudes and so on.

The industrial designer’s job is simply to create a product and then execute the design.

Iconic Products that came from Industrial Design

Every day, you are using iconic products that are the result of industrial design. Don’t think so? Let me give you some examples.

Le Creuset French Oven – Invented in 1925, this famous cooking item is one of the most famous in the entire line and still used in most households.

Post-it Note – Designed in 1968, Dr. Spenser Silver accidentally became the creator of this important invention by attempting to develop an adhesive. Surprisingly, he also tried to market this invention to 3M who turned him down.

Containers for Chinese Food – Next time you order takeout, consider this! Your Chinese take-out container was first used as an oyster pail. To easily transport oysters home from the store, people used this container. Then, they become the method to hold honey as well. After World War II occurred, people started ordering take-out and the oyster pail design became the new container.

Q-Tip – Did your mother ever tell you not to stick these in your ear? In 1920, Leo Gerstensang invented the Q-tip simply by sticking cotton balls onto the ends of a toothpick.

BIC Ballpoint Pen – You are probably clicking your pen right now as you read this. The inventors showed their design first at the Budapest International Fair in 1931. While many ballpoint pens were around at the time, none were quite as iconic as the BIC brand.

Apple iPhone – This started just as a basic phone that could receive and make phone calls but has become the most iconic product of our generation.

Industrial Design for Your Life

Most of the products you rely on every day were not handcrafted; they were a result of industrial design. Every tool that you use to become more successful was thought out and then designed for mass production. Your phone, tablet, even the clothing you are wearing has a design for your ultimate success in mind.

Let’s face it – we want things and we want them now. We don’t like to wait for the products we love. We demand speed, efficiency and ease when making our purchases. If we want food delivered to our front door, we want to click a button and receive immediate results.

Industrial design makes that happen. More and more products are being created with our comfort and need for speed in mind. Not only can the products we use be efficient but they are also supplying needs for us that we need to meet.

So – the next time you sit down to use that product that you love be sure to thank industrial design for it. Without the creativity and willingness of these inventors to see a need and fulfill it, we might be at a loss for some of the things we use every day.

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