May 15, 2024

Here are Some Famous Product Designers Everyone Should Know About

Product design began in Europe around the 15th century with the start of industrial design, where products found during travels were created in large quantities for the masses. People wanted to mass-produce products for their homes and workspaces. Seeing a demand for mass-produced goods, many people started garnering an interest in the design field. Since then, the design field has evolved to a point where the design of websites, software, and applications is also considered part of design and development. Here are some famous product designers who have spent years perfecting their craft and have revolutionized how people think of design.

Jonathan Ive - former chief design officer at Apple

Sir Jonathan Ive is a British product designer currently co-founder of LoveFrom, a design firm that collaborates with founders from different creative industries. He spent much of his career as a designer at Apple creating some of its top-selling products.

His career began at the design agency Tangerine, where he worked with many large clients, including Apple. After witnessing his expertise in design, Apple offered him a position as a designer. Initially, he was unhappy with the company's creative direction, as he believed the stakeholders were more focused on profits rather than creating quality products, but with Steve Jobs taking a leadership role, everything changed. The focus was directed towards innovation.

He drew inspiration for his products from renowned designer Dieter Rams who valued creating simple yet functional designs. Ives believes that creativity must be nurtured to make good products. According to him, when large groups work on a project, creativity is often put on the side, and the focus becomes on accomplishing measurable goals. His design process consisted of creating minimal and sleek products that lead to a functional goal. Only those design features are included that serve a purpose for the users.

“At the end of a group project, I look at two things: I look at what we made, but far more important, I look at what we learned. If you’re not just going in and out, if you’ve really committed to a relationship, what we’ve learned is obviously far, far more important.”

Apple iMac (1998)

Leica Camera (2013)

Dieter Rams - former design head of Braun

Dieter Rams was born in 1932 in a village in Germany. He studied interior design at the Wiesbaden School of Art and then decided to master the art of carpentry. After a few years, he got an opportunity to work as a designer at the consumer goods company Braun. This was when he began to garner attention for his simple and functional designs.

Rams believed in creating products that did not create excessive waste and cause harm to the environment. He wanted to create designs that were useful for the user and did not require a long list of instructions. According to him, designing only through the view of aesthetics was not the goal of a good designer. He placed the importance of collaborating, working as a team, and creating designs for the masses.

Ram’s 10 Design Philosophies

  • Good design is innovative
  • Good design makes a product useful
  • Good design is aesthetic
  • Good design makes a product understandable
  • Good design is unobtrusive
  • Good design is honest
  • Good design is long-lasting
  • Good design is thorough down to the last detail
  • Good design is environmentally-friendly
  • Good design is as little design as possible

“Good design is as little as possible. Less, but better, because it concentrates on the essential aspects and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity. “

Braun T3 Pocket Radio (1958)

Braun ET66 Calculator (1987)

Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa is a Japanese designer whose career began at Seiko Epson where he worked as a product developer. After this, he started working with ID Two, and during this period of time, he got the opportunity to design products for Muji, a Japanese consumer goods brand known for its minimal design aesthetic.

Fukasawa believed in combining human behavior and design to create good products. He was inspired by daily human interaction and how users used certain objects. He also followed this design philosophy called “without thought.” In his lifetime, he has won over 70 awards for his design globally.

“I’m not thinking about this pen when I’m writing with it. Rather, it’s when you least think about it that the pen can be held most naturally.”

Muji Electric Kettle (2014)

Plank Blocco Stool (2013)

James Dyson

Sir James Dyson is considered one of the most innovative engineers of our time. He initially wanted to get an education in the fine arts but later became interested in industrial design after taking a class. While studying interior design, he had the opportunity to explore different design spaces, allowing him to figure out what he liked and disliked.

After college, he started a career in engineering, which later led him to create his own company, Dyson. Here, he focused on creating innovative products to solve problems for the future. Dyson rose to fame with the invention of bagless vacuums designed not to lose suction, a problem prevalent in most other vacuums in the market. With time, he entered other market spaces, like hair dryers, air purifiers, and headphones, to name a few.

“Learning by trial and error, or experimentation, can be exciting, the lessons learned deeply engrained. Learning by failure is a remarkably good way of gaining knowledge. Failure is to be welcomed rather than avoided. It is part of learning. It should not be feared by the engineer or scientist or indeed by anyone else.”

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer: 1380W (2016)

Dyson V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum Cleaner (2021)

Philippe Starck

Philippe Starck is a French designer known for his versatility. He has designed products ranging from suitcases to buildings, lamps to yachts. He began his career designing the interiors of buildings and later transitioned to designing household products. Later in his career, he became interested in artificial intelligence and designed an AI chair in collaboration with Autodesk.

Through the questions and commands given by Starck, the software created a prototype of a comfortable chair while using very few materials, all of which were recycled. Throughout his career, Philippe has championed the idea of creating a democratic design that is functional and for all to use. He believes that design should never be limited to the wealthy and that people of all classes should be able to enjoy the beauty of well-designed products.

“Providing a real way to deal with the urgent needs of environmental issues that is accessible to everyone is the new fight for the democratization of design.”

A.i. Chair (2019)

SNSM DIAL Watch (2018)