At Core77, we feel strongly about providing as much information we can within the scope of design you won't find elsewhere—not in school nor other websites that cover design for the general audience. We're here for YOU designers, so this recent discussion started by Richard_Leyens certainly struck a chord with us:
"Disclosure, I'm NOT a product designer. I do however frequently find myself briefing designers – in addition to discussing typologies, materials, functionality and aesthetic qualities, I have found that these creatively talented individuals seem to enjoy gaining a deeper understanding of the economic challenges that one faces when attempting to commercialize their product/s. By layering in this piece of information it invariably results in far fewer concepts being rejected. And no one likes rejection!
[...] I feel passionate about empowering designers by giving them a glimpse into the 'dark side' as my experience would suggest this approach (ie blurring the lines between creative and commercial elements) increases the ability to produce work that's likely to resonate within the consumer space.
Question. I wonder if a highly accessible, freely available online designer's resource to help impart this type of information would be of value to this particular segment of the creative community? My personal view is that individuals and new product businesses might welcome this, but hey, what do I know? Thoughts, comments and suggestions?"
For the World Wide Web being as vast as it is, it's a bit astounding to realize how few readily available resources designers have to help them in their creative or commercial efforts. Given the number of designers and workers in general who are now taking the freelance route in their professional lives, it's now more important than ever to have places on the web for people to find information they need to run a successful business.
Many designers in the discussion noted how impossible it would be to correctly do their jobs if they didn't have previous corporate industry experience. Core77er bcpid notes:
"Without understanding COGs, manufacturing constraints, market research, sales channels, product strategy, etc, I would find it pretty difficult to make design decisions. It would surprise me if any designers out there are consistently doing good work without that insight. Plus, as a person that values my time away from work, the last thing I want to do is waste time on stuff that doesn't efficiently advance the project."
Freelance designers, what say you? Do you feel as if there are resources online you can access that don't leave you a step behind big firms with in-house designers? Florida designer Jboogie941 agrees there could be more out there for designers and lists some specific topics that could be better represented online:
"I agree with all the above. I think an online resource with this type of information would be valuable especially for students and new professionals. Technically I feel Core77 sort of covers this information to an extent if one were to dig a little or ask questions. Like others have stated above, In my experience I have always worked with all departments especially on small teams. Usually most designers pick up this type of information overtime. Nothing is more valuable than real world experience. One thing I think designers might want to learn/know is process, budget, MOQ's [minimum order quantity], duty, manufacturing capabilities and managing workflow/duties. etc"
We want to know what you know—are there resources online that you use to help streamline your design process? What do you feel is missing that you wish was easier to find on the web? Let us know in the comments or contribute your thoughts on the original discussion board post.