Product Design can be described as the planning of an item intended to be manufactured and sold. These items exist both as discrete artifacts and as actors in larger social systems, such as branded environments, services, experiences and social interactions.
Products are everywhere; from the toothbrush you used this morning to the bike, car or train you rode to work, to the laptop and pen you are using right now, to the airplane you will be on in the future. All of these products affect our lives across the social, political, economic and cultural spectrum. To design products is at essence shaping the future of civilization.
Product design is inherently creative and interdisciplinary. The sculptural concerns of a model-maker interface with an engineer’s desire to optimize functionality. An anthropologist’s observations about how people meet challenges are augmented by a marketer’s approach to tailor product branding to specific sub-cultures. Product cost and feasibility is determined in part by business and marketing studies. Physiologists, psychologists and kinesiologists contribute to the product’s interaction and comfort of use. At the University of Minnesota, all of these areas and more come together in the design of products.
Housed within the College of Design, but with strong stakeholders from the Institute of Technology and the Carlson School of Management, the product design program shares expertise, resources and facilities across campus.