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All Images © 2020 by Knack

The Last Decoration Station

If you want to piss off an industrial designer, call their job "the last decoration station." While this label is partly accurate, it strikes a nerve with designers because their work should span a much larger involvement than simply the last step of styling.


To understand why designers react negatively to this label, entertain this thought:


What if a chef was only responsible for plating up the food, but held accountable for how much the guests enjoy their meal? Sure, she would have the power to craft a beautiful presentation of the food, but planning the meal, sourcing the ingredients, cooking and seasoning the food would be left up to someone else. Someone who is not a chef.


Styling is an important part of a designer's job, but so is the foundational work such as deciding what problem the product solves and developing how the product functions.


Now don't get me wrong, the styling phase is crucial in designing an irresistible product. However, if the product's foundation hasn't been properly set, then your styling or "decoration" is merely lipstick on a pig.


Styling is the last design step, not the only step.


The point is, an industrial designer‘s superpower is building an emotional connection between people and products. Instead of limiting their engagement to "the last decoration station," their expertise should be leveraged early on to deliver an irresistible product.


Wouldn't it make sense to allow the chef to compose the meal from the start?



Remember, an industrial designer's job is to form the emotional connection between your customer and your product. The earlier and longer you involve design, the deeper the connection. The deeper the connection, the more irresistible your product will be.