Sketching After we have the idea written down we move onto the first step of the design stage. At this stage we will start to get some shapes on paper to start thinking about how the product might look. At this point we want to keep as many options open as we can, as we want to be able to choose from a variety of different designs. This way you can look past the minor details and choose the best option from the different concepts.
Trial models Sometimes we will be able to start the CAD model right away (a CAD model stands for Computer Aided Design, which is a computerised model in 3D we can easily adjust until it is right). Other times we will need to test a functionality of a product so a physical trial model can be built to test certain features. For instance to test the time a heating element will take to heat up something, or how long a battery will last in real life. Clay or foam models can be a great help also if shape is an important factor in the design.
Competitive product analysis For some designs it is worthwhile to buy a product of a competitor’s to pull apart and see which details are working the way they should and which details we can improve on with our own product. There is always a great deal to learn from other existing products, as it will help to evolve your product quicker, continuing from other products errors.
Conclusion All steps in this phase come down to the same thing. You want to explore your idea in the broad sense to assess all options. Danger in this phase is that people are inclined to go into too much depth of one option too quickly, without exploring other, perhaps better options. Extra time invested in this stage will often save time further down the process, as a broad exploration in this phase will eliminate the need to go back to the drawing board at a later stage.