Posted by: Graham Sadtler
Second of II Parts. Click here for Part I.
In my last post I discussed how we start the design process at Thermador and where we get our inspiration from. In this second posting I will talk about how we use this information to brainstorm for new design ideas, collaborate within different departments at Thermador to further develop these ideas, and how we decide which ideas are worth bringing into our products.
As we start to translate the results of our research into concepts, the design team meets as a group for brainstorming sessions.
During these sessions, we work with tools such as theme boards and observational photographs to show the findings of our research. We then often use hand-sketching to quickly communicate new design ideas. This part of the process is focused on generating as many concepts as possible. We don’t discard any idea during this phase, because often ideas that seem somewhat too impossible at first can spin-off and lead to other ideas.
The real beauty of these brainstorming sessions is that they are very creative and free for coming up with as many design concepts as possible, while at the same time those concepts are based on the preliminary research. This means that all the ideas have a root in solving a user need or design trend that we found in our initial research.
One of the biggest reasons Thermador has been able to bring so many innovative features to the market over the years is that good ideas can come from every department. The Design Team especially collaborates with our marketing and engineering departments to develop new features. With the expertise of our marketing department and technical knowledge of our engineering departments we are able to review all the design concepts and decide which ones we should pursue further. Additionally, these other departments add new ideas of their own or improve the ideas we already have.
As I mentioned in the last posting, we look to our industry partners, such as appliance retailers and kitchen designers, as well as our end consumers for inspiration for new design concepts. As we develop those ideas into tangible features and concepts, we go back to these same groups to test the acceptance of the ideas. We work with computer modeling and renderings as well as physical prototypes of appliances to show the design ideas. After this phase of the process we have good feedback on how to further refine our design concepts.
With this strategy, the role of the Design Team is to gather information from every point, to translate that information into new design concepts that are not seen in the market, and then to bring those ideas back to test them with consumers, retailers and designers. That is a brief summary of how the design process works at Thermador, and how we go from initial inspiration to a design concept for an appliance. Stay tuned for more posting with a “behind the scenes” look at Thermador design.