Realise Design | Product Designers UK & Industrial Design Consultancy
Realise is a full-service product design and innovation consultancy that helps businesses profit from great design. Their industrial design blog, the Realise Product Design Blog, offers news, innovation, insight, and advice, and trends in product design.
Realise took to the sky returning to FESPA 2019 for a second year running. FESPA is Europe’s largest international wide format professional printing exhibition. Where over 700 exhibitors showcase their latest innovations and product launches in the digital and screen printing sectors for graphics, signage, décor, packaging, industrial and textile applications (FESPA).
Due to very important busy business meetings this year, we couldn’t see everything on show, but here’s the cool things we did find…
Quick apply PVC wrap – any or everywhere!
On your marks, get set, GO!
There were quite a few companies showcasing their ability to wrap cars (that we could only ever dream of owning), which is quicker than a respray and gives the body an additional layer of protection from chips and scratches. You can get an entire side of a car wrapped in about 2 hours using top of the range printed PVC sheets and basically a hairdryer. Whilst vehicle wrapping isn’t exactly a new idea, we got quite excited about Wrapstock… This is not a bunch of hippies rapping in a field, but a digital platform that let’s anyone upload their own custom artwork to be applied anywhere in the world.
The process may not scream craftsmanship, but the result is pretty impressive. If it saves time and money too it’ll allow companies such as Avery Dennison (who own Wrapstock) to open up the market to everyone – clever. You’re bound to see more hot hatches booming around sporting ninja graphics, but would you consider converting your practical transport into a ‘dope family wagon ya’?
Spinning LED Hologram Device
This blew my mind!
This little device is impressive on it’s own let alone when you create a whole wall of these things! The LED are arrayed linearly on an arm. The arm rotates at a high enough velocity to generate a circular screen. When the LEDs are synchronised – when to illuminate, at what colour and for how long – an image is created that looks 3D.
Imagine walking past a shop window and suddenly you see Johnny Depp spraying aftershave on himself, in the middle of the desert gesturing for you to come in-store.
We wonder if we will see this become a widespread tool for product advertisement across retail and the food and beverage market. We hope we do but maybe less of JD!
We still really love the huuuge, massive 3D printer called… errr “Massivit“, obviously. And though this hasn’t changed since last year, we’re seeing many more examples of it being used – and who wouldn’t want to 3D print things like this for the office!
Large Format Printers
Large format printers are the unseen serious workhorses of the printing industry. These things churn out huge quantities of high quality large images for applications like bill boards and bus shelter adverts.
Thinking back to last year when we visited FESPA there doesn’t seem to be much movement in innovation across large format digital printers with many brands being quite comparable in design.
But this isn’t surprising. These are highly technical, expensive machines costing anywhere up to £1,000,000. Clearly ROI and therefore function is a primary requirement, with manufacturers historically competing on speed, quality of print, reliability, ease of maintenance and customer service.
The only new thing we saw this year was the Durst P5 (Durst didn’t exhibit here last year). This is a genuine effort at integrated design thinking in a large industrial machine. It has beautifully minimalist ‘Germanic’ styling, verging on the ‘stark’ – certainly the word friendly or approachable doesn’t come to mind when describing this thing! But the most important aspect this is one of the first machines to consider not only the pride of the owner, but also the experience of the operator, with a very usable interface, simplified ink handling and neat features like a handy place for tools. This is smart ground up hearts and minds thinking, that both aims to improve efficiency and turn the operators themselves into your sales force inside the customer walls.
Still, having witnessed the more elaborate, boastful stands of Durst, EFI, AGFA, Epsom, to name a few, there’s definitley room in the coming years for something more impressive to step into the limelight.
Watch this space!
Want to go check out FESPA for yourself in 2020 click here for more info.
Here at Realise we keep our eye on the ball. Even though we might think that the Packaging Innovations event might be categorised as one of the older members of the event family (like an aged uncle with questionable political views that you only really see on the odd Christmas) sustainability is a big part of what we do here in our Product Design Studio.
With packaging being one of the larger players in the waste contribution game, we thought it worth sending our chief eco-warrior, Scott Gordon (no relation to Flash) out to find out what’s changing in the world of consumer packaging design:
Hubbub CEO and founder Trewin Restorick delighted us with a seminar sharing the practical experiences of Hubbub in campaigns to nudge people to live more sustainably – including that English recycling and littering is not improving.
Delving in to tackle issues of littering, Hubbub began with a single litter box that displaying a question that would prompt smokers to dispose of their butts into either one of the two answers slots. This campaign was so successful that they were approach and asked if these were for sale, but they had only had this one!
With a challenging future ahead now has never been a more important time for designers and engineers to observe and study current social behaviours to allow us to better understand and create influencial products to tackle such issues.
Brands are experimenting with ways to create more connected worlds between product and consumer; where their is a growing need for brands to differentiate themselves in an increasingly crowded marketplace.
Smartphones are being used to their fullest in combination with other technologies such as and predominantly, Near field Communication (NFC) and Augemented Reality (AR) to create richer and more emmersive experiences whilst giving brands an opportunity to showcase their innovative endeavours over competitors.
Talkin’ Things exhibiting as one of the several start-ups showcased the implementation of NFC and AR smoothly and in confidence. It’s impressive – check them out.
Since the dawn of Blue Planet II on the BBC, we’re seeing a growing number of suppliers from around the globe offering alternative packaging solutions to a large number of single-use plastic products.
Such alternatives, offered by companies such as Footprint and Lactips, have environmental benefits with application of water-based coatings, removal of harmful additives or adhesives meaning they’re likely to be biodegradable, water soluble or edible; all in an effort to align with legislation and the pressure of the growing waste-concientious consumer.
Packaging production methods also brings new or improved processes that are less heavy on their carbon footprint (reduced wall thickness, reduced componentry, reworkable blades etc.)
Hans Van Bochove, VP of European public affairs for Coca-Cola delivered a seminar on the regulatory development around packaging and their response.
Hans highlighted that there is no such thing as the best packaging material but simply that each has a function and it’s own benefits.
He imparted that new legislations in some cases are contradictory making suppliers unsure of the right course of action to take.
Coca-Cola’s This is Forward campaign focuses on improving company wide sustainability such as 100% recovery of their bottles, 50% of PET bottles use recycled material – all in an effort towards a circular economy.
Is this corporate marketing shifting consumer eyes from unaccounted responsibility of Coke?
Is Packaging Innovations 2019 the place to go for new packaging developments?
So, we’ve been there, done that, but is it worth actually visiting next year?
Mmmm, the jury’s still out on that one. Realistically, there are a lot of better places to find innovation in packaging but if you need a broad smear of whats going on in consumer packaging, this probably isn’t a bad place to start.
It’s just not going to shatter anyone’s world anytime soon…
If you really want some innovative packaging, get in touch with a product design consultancy (Ahem…cough, cough, click here) and make something that truly breaks the mould.
Ok here goes. “What’s short and red at Christmas?… Hopefully the Realise Round Robin?” Yeah, sorry, it’s been a long year.
But has it been a good year? Yes it has. 2018 was our 10th and best year.
Ten at Ten
2018 has been a hugely important year for the growth of Realise design as we achieved our longstanding goal to (sustainably) reach a team of 10 Realiser’s who can deliver on creative but complex and technical challenges for our clients. This comes as we also reach an important milestone; our tenth year of business! I mean 10 at 10. It’s almost like we planned it.
This year we’ve been joined by two more Realisers, further bolstering our ability to technically resolve great creative ideas
Alex Lomer bringing Design Engineering skills from the smart vehicle sensor sector (oooooh) to strengthen our technical focus.
Callum Taylor re-joined the team (yey!) as Industrial Designer, who after a successful placement year, achieved a first-class degree in Product Design from UWE (nice one Callum!).
Alex handing Callum the 2018 Realise “Donnatella Versache Best Dressed Realiser” award
So how do you celebrate 10-years? Well obviously you jet off to Morzine for a week of indulgence in cheese, wine, and of course Skiing! We learnt some important lessons about each other during slightly off-the-wall team bonding activities; David Connell’s love of organisation and planning extends to ski-lift schedules and piste maps – (Strictly) organised ‘fun’!
We also learnt some team members shouldn’t be in charge of their own facial hair decisions (Nice handlebars there chaps), and that being on a snowboard doesn’t necessarily make you cool…
This year’s growth and success has of course been made possible due to both the continuing support of our brilliant clients; and through new collaborations and relationships. Some key successes we’ve helped our clients with this year include:
BP launched its new employee onboarding experience, helping new starters feel well looked after and welcomed
British American Tobacco achieving market trial with some exciting and bonkers new futuristic technologies
Green Warehouse launched their new range of Post-consumer Plastic recycling bins
Gartenzwerg launched their automated indoor garden at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.
Cammotions Roc2X remote camera head filmed the 2018 French Open.
This year has also been the year of new and strengthened partnerships. Launching The Product Partnership – a new venture with longstanding collaborators Amalgam model makers, and Cubik Innovation electronic engineers; allowing us to offer full turnkey solutions across Prototype, Design, and Electronic services.
We’ve also been exploring some exciting, totally new collaborations:
As a founding member of Bristol 24/7’s Better Bristolcampaign, championing design solutions to further positive Bristol businesses growth.
Finally, we’ve recently partnered with independent coffee roasters Blind Owl to ensure the team’s caffeine fix comes from a sustainable, local source. Zing!
Looking ahead to 2019
We’re excited about the year ahead and the challenges it brings; from designing (simply gigantic) industrial equipment to handheld electronic devices, mobile ticketing solutions, and completely new consumer technologies – exciting stuff but all very hush hush until it launches (shhh!).
As we continue to grow and expand into the studio that has served us well over the last 6 years, recent visitors may have noticed we’re almost out of space (What a lovely problem to have!). So, 2019 will also be the year we begin to look at a new studio which can see us through the next 10 years and beyond. Know of an interesting semi-industrial creative workshop space around the Temple Gate area? Let us know!
Fear not though, we’re committed to Bristol and the South West, so any move won’t see us move too far from our current, much loved site in Temple Studios.
Wishing you a great success in 2019 (see, we didn’t mention Brexit!)
As a Bristol Product Design Agency, we take local business seriously. We know that the world’s economy is failing and something that presents a real opportunity for us to dig ourselves out of this period of economic instability is the vibrant local business scene.
When it comes to supporting the local economy, Bristol is head and shoulders above a lot of the country (even the rest of the world!) and on October 10th Realise Product Design visited the Business Showcase South West: An event that celebrates the enterprising and entrepreneurial spirit of developing companies in Bristol and the surrounding area.
The event was a resounding success with it’s delegates. With talks from experts at Google Digital Garage, LinkedIn and even a TEDx, the value a single visitor could get from a day at the show was almost overwhelming.
So if you were unfortunate to miss the show, not to worry! Here are the key trends Realise Product Design picked up on:
The industrial age brought a disconnect from a complete task. Train 100 individuals to do a single task each and you have a 100-step fully finished product at the end of the production line. There was no need to have an expert in building, cutting and finishing, you could segment the risk into smaller independent actions with less margin for error.
The digital age brings us a similar fabric of economy. Not so good at marketing? No problem, outsource it to a set of experts. Need help with your finances? Get a team of accountants to manage your books.
Agency culture gives business owners the ability to work on the parts of the business where they add the most value, avoiding (for a price) the time saps and pitfalls of working on aspects of their company where they are essentially having to learn an entirely new skill (think 30+ hours rule!) before they can start to solve their problem.
With internet speeds getting faster, and more smart people within easy reach than ever before, the falling prices of hiring someone to do your admin for you or post on your social media feed, provides a very attractive option to a time-stretched upcoming business owner:
Sustainability (not just the environmental kind!)
Ahh the “S” word – As a Local event, and one in Bristol, creating a more sustainable social, economical, and environmental climate was a key focus for many businesses at the South West Business Showcase. Bristol 24/7, the leading news platform for information on Bristol’s vibrant culture, is leading the charge on creating a what it calls a “Better Bristol”: An initiative to encourage local businesses to sign up to a programme geared around making positive change within the city.
It’s something that strikes a chord with a lot of business owners. Better Bristol gives companies looking to understand what they should do about the ever growing, multi-faceted issue that is “Sustainability” an opportunity to grab hold of something and get direction on how to make positive change that can be injected directly back into the local economy.
Social Media (Yes, it’s still kicking around…)
Do you know what the average attention span of a goldfish is?
Do you know what the average attention span of a human on a mobile device is?
Social is a minefield. It’s an ever growing monster of possibilities, decisions, pitfalls and business-killing traps that constantly morphs into something completely different in the blink of an eye.
It’s a time swallowing monster that welcomes you in with open arms and shiny trinkets, then stuffs you into it’s toy box of algorithmic wormholes; full of ever more shiny things to draw your attention one way or another until you realise you’ve just lost 2 hours of your life to mindless scrolling. (And there was never anything shiny in the first place!)
Patrick Cutliffe, in one of his talks from Google’s Digital Garage, told us to “stay conscious when you are on social media”; to be stay human and be aware of the the journey you are taken on as you move through the media, making note of why you make each decision. He told us of his own method of wearing an elastic band to snap against your wrist and even suggested pinching yourself when you are browsing social media; to keep yourself “awake” – Such is the power of the UX design these platforms have over our malleable minds.
Overall, the #BSSW2018 was one of the most energetic and vibrant events we have personally attended: Not only did we come away with a bag of goodies containing fluorescent rugby balls, pens, pads, stress balls and shortbread but we also came back to Realise HQ with a bag full of wisdom and an ignited faith in the future of the local economy. People here are doing big things, interesting things, and at Realise we are proud to be a Product Design Company in Bristol. It’s a fine city we live in and one we should continue to give the respect it deserves…even if we are all a bit quintessentially British with a tendency to avoid the “ostentatious”.
Have you discovered a time-saving way to clean the house? A convenient new way to feed the baby? A genius way to protect your home? When a flash of creative brilliance strikes, it’s natural to want to rush forward and get in touch with product design companies to create our masterpieces.
While putting your idea together and getting it to the market is part of the process, it can usually benefit you to slow down for a few seconds and think smart about your product design. We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest—most of us do. You want to be sure you’re putting your best work forward for customers because, once the cat’s out of the bag—well, it’s out of the bag.
Just as words can’t be unsaid, the first impressions of a new product can’t be unmade. Don’t rush your product to market simply because you know it’s brilliant. Do your homework and have a foolproof plan in place.
When putting a product on the market, it serves businesses well to be sure they’ve designed the best piece possible. It’s exciting to see a dream Realised*, but it’s important to balance creative goals with business goals. You don’t want to put out a product no one will buy since that makes no business sense at all. *pun intended
For this reason, it can be beneficial to utilize help in several areas.
Do You Need Help from a …
Product Development Agency?
Getting professional help as you develop your product ensures you’re thinking of all facets from both creative and business standpoints. However, if putting out the funds for a professional product design agency isn’t within your budget, there are other ways to get help with your design process:
1) Work with college students who are majoring or minoring in your product field.
College students are often eager for experience in their chosen field. Their education is fresh in their minds, and their eagerness makes them a prime partner for design and development. They often work for a reduced price or, sometimes, simply for the credit next to their name.
2) Work with local professionals whose fields are similar to your design requirements but who might be looking for side work rather than a career in design.
Local professionals are often skilled in areas that are beneficial to product design and development. For instance, an experienced local machinist or woodworker might have the skills you would otherwise need from a professional engineer, and you might be able to hire them for much less.
3) Consider your personal connections.
You may already know someone in your personal circles who has the necessary skills to help with your product development, testing, and marketing. Don’t be shy about reaching out with your ideas.
Building a Product That Solves a Problem
One of the first questions you must ask yourself when designing your product is “What problem does it solve?” You should have a specific scenario in mind. Is it a fun toy box that encourages kids to clean their rooms? Is it a dust mop that does five jobs in one, thereby saving time and money?
After you decide what problem you’re solving with your idea, you should also consider your target audience. Who is it, and would they be willing to pay money to solve this problem? Does your target audience even have the money to solve the problem? If your product is for kids, how might you get the kids to want it and the parents to pay for it?
These are important considerations when designing your product. They help you choose how to design it, and what materials to use to achieve a price point that appeals to your customers.
What if the answer is no to some of these questions? If you ask yourself what problem you’re solving, and the answer is “none,” you may need to consider going back to the drawing board. Rethink your idea, do a little more brainstorming, and figure out a way to provide the most benefit for your customers.
Designing the Smart Way
The first step to bringing your product to life is creating a prototype. This can be done as cheaply or ornately as desired, but it’s often best to start out small. Using easily accessible materials such as recyclables and craft supplies can allow you to focus on what works best without spending a lot of cash. It would also be a good idea to invest in a glue gun, to securely and professionally bond together your prototype designs. This can also help identify flaws in your initial design and help you weed out what doesn’t work and uncover what does.
Once you have your best design nailed down, you can work on a more professional prototype. This is often the project you take before your testing audience—and, finally, investors if you choose to seek out backers.
The testing phase is an important step in the product development process. Remember the importance of first impressions, here. Allowing a small, controlled group of testers to give feedback on your project before putting it out to the public can save much heartache.
While receiving honest feedback on your project can sometimes be hard, its benefits are tremendous and worthwhile. When getting feedback, there are a couple of ways to keep its benefits to the maximum:
Ask specific questions or for feedback on particular aspects of your product. Without proper direction, testers might comment on anything, from size to colours, to their opinion of your idea in general. If you want to make sure the flap of your new bag sits comfortably, make sure you ask.
Ignore unhelpful comments. If comments are random and nonspecific, don’t let them get you down. Instead, ignore them and forge on. On the flip side, if you receive repetitive feedback from multiple testers, don’t ignore it. It is most likely they have identified something the public might latch onto.
Once you’ve built your prototype, sent it to testers, and received feedback, now it’s time to use everything you learned to solidify your design. This is also the stage where you’ll focus on making your product attractive and appealing. Often, packaging is just as important to first impressions as the actual product. Focus on graphics, package design, and colouring.
Bringing your creative passions to life is a fulfilling and rewarding endeavour. Rushing into the world of selling a product can be disappointing if not done with care. Practice making smart product design choices and make an excellent first impression on your customers. When your product succeeds in the market, you’ll be glad you did everything you could before you launch a product to ensure its success.
A big welcome to Alex Lomer who joins the Realise team as Design Engineer.
With a strong back grounding in product engineering, Alex originally graduated with a First Class degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cardiff University before working on smart vehicle sensor systems for several well known automotive brands (and winning an award in the process), so he certainly knows his stuff!
When not solving complicated design challenges, Alex likes to keep himself busy playing Squash, hiking, running and travelling.
Alex also holds the Realise studio Scrabble crown, having scored 221 points for a single word in a game of scrabble!
So you have a brilliant design idea, and you’re motivated to get it on the market as soon as possible, or at least get some polished visualisations of viable concepts together so that you can find investment.
Great! You’re excited to get started and you call a product design consultancy to get the ball rolling, and are told that the process behind taking a product from a rough idea through to a beautiful and thoughtfully developed solution can often take upwards of eight months, if not one or two years.
Great products can take a lot of time to come to fruition and there are many valuable parts of the design process that shouldn’t be skipped in order to quickly reach any solution, but how can we accelerate the process to get a well thought out solution in a much faster time frame? Sprint!
At Realise Product Design, we’ve developed and adapted methodologies that enable us to sprint through the insight and concept design phases to produce concepts that are well resolved, feasible, and presentable in as little as two weeks. The process and output is always slightly different to ensure that it’s tailored to each individual project, but we’ve written up a quick overview of a sprint to show you the method behind our madness.
What happens in each stage?
Our design team propose as many solutions as possible in a matrix format, assessing how each key requirement of the project can be solved with features of the product. For example how can the enclosure provide visual feedback, how can the charging point be intuitive, etc. These become the ingredients for the concept generation phase.
Output: 100+ solutions
The team votes for solutions based on their experience and knowledge, and each designer then selects and combines voted ideas into a number of whole conceptual solutions.
Output: 30 – 40 initial concepts
We split into smaller teams that have a good balance of technical and creative ability, and review the strengths and weaknesses of each concept. The teams also identify risks within the concepts and suggest potential solutions so that we can take the most viable concepts forwards.
Output: 15 – 20 viable concepts
Each of the remaining concepts are put through a feasibility study to ensure that all of the concepts we are proposing are technically viable for development and eventual production. The level of detail explored in these feasibility studies depends on the end requirements of the sprint phase.
Output: 5 – 10 feasible concepts
Now that the feasibility of the concepts has been established, we further develop and validate the designs in a 3D CAD environment. Here we hone in on the geometry and functionality of the concepts, working to ensure that they meet the original key requirements.
Output: 2 – 3 refined concepts
Concepts are ranked against the key requirements to assess the most appropriate solution to the brief. This puts us in a strong position for the next phase of the project, where we develop and refine the concept further.
Output: 2 – 3 ranked concepts for development selection
Using these methods, we’ve made ourselves adept at delivering great projects in extremely tight timescales without compromising on the quantity or quality of the work carried out, and we’re proud of it! So the next time you have a project that needs an expert team to produce the work in a fraction of the time, think sprint! Think Realise Product Design