What is Industrial Design?

Datum3D has experience in providing innovative industrial design services in Boston since 1997. While the design software and technology has certainly evolved over the past few decades, the basic concepts behind the industrial design practice have not.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design is the professional practice of designing products using a combination of creative/innovative thinking and advanced computer-aided design tools. Industrial designers not only focus on the appearance of a product, but also on how it functions, is manufactured, and ultimately the value and experience it provides for users. Industrial design services consist of conceptual development, styling, ergonomics and graphics. For many years, the industrial design process was relatively boring. It was mostly about fitting the functionality a client needed into a rectangular box. As the design process evolved, the boxes moved from black to gray to white and maybe even featured a few rounded edges. But that was the extent of design engineering until 3D modeling and other software tools changed the design landscape. At Datum3D our stated mission is “to develop products using a unique blend of creative thinking and advanced computer-aided techniques that provide our clients with rapid design implementation, superior quality, and reduced cost.” What that really means is that we like to blend state of the art design with high performance functionality and deliver a “wow” experience to our clients.

Industrial Design Firm in Boston

Having in-house manufacturing equipment such as 3d printers, cnc machines, and laser cutters, engineers at Datum3D can more easily test the ergonomics of their respective designs by having a tactile part in-hand for them to analyze and refine. Our industrial design experience helps to streamline the product development process by conceiving manufacturable products from the initial industrial design phases. Our industrial designers take pride in designing modern, innovative, sleek products that are also manufacturable and representative of the experience it will provide for users. This experience has led to Datum3D product development being listed as a featured firm for both the IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America) and Core77 design directories.

Industrial Design and Product Development

Industrial design and product development go hand in hand. Industrial design dictates what the product will look and feel like. It helps generate an initial idea of what to expect. However, the style needs to coincide with the manufacturability of the product. Often times, industrial designers can get carried away with sleek curvature and product styles and concepts, but they are not realistically manufacturable. A lot of industrial design firms in Boston will produce really elaborate and high-quality design renders that are completely unrealistic in terms of the manufacturability. What is nice about Datum3D product development is that our engineers are well versed in both industrial design and product development. Industrial design is the gateway to all downstream applications especially when it comes to overall product cost, cost per part, and manufacturability. Having someone that understands the full spectrum of product development and can do the entire project in-house can significantly streamline the product development process.

Industrial Design Services in Boston

In our Boston office we offer comprehensive industrial design services such as, conceptual development, styling, ergonomics, and graphics. 3D surface models are incorporated early in the conceptual phase of development to eliminate 2D ambiguities. Photo-realistic renders and appearance models also help us transition into the product-engineering phase providing early market confirmation, product integrity, and direct links to engineering and manufacturing.

Concept Generation:

One of the most important facets of the product development cycle is concept generation. After an initial client review meeting, our Boston-based engineers begin putting "pencil to paper" with basic sketches and renderings. These sketches help to convey our interpretation of the product requirements and allow us to demonstrate our experience and creativity in a visual representation. By collaboratively approaching the early stages of the overall industrial design process, our engineers can establish the framework of the design while also offering our clients various concepts, styles, and features to consider.


Ergonomics play a critical role in each and every industrial design project. Whether we are designing a highly complex automated device or the simplest product component, we are constantly assessing human factors, safety requirements, and overall product comfort. We also look for intangible product qualities that concentrate on customer sentiment, industry trends, and innovative design. This is to ensure we optimize both the human well-being and the overall system performance.

Photo-Realistic Rendering:

A high-quality rendering can help convey the design, manufacturing, and or functional intent of a product. Our industrial design engineers leverage this technology to collaborate with clients and to spark creativity for potential design alterations. In addition, clients may utilize product renderings to help develop marketing strategies and initial customer feedback. Ultimately, photo-realistic renderings help document a products' evolution and can be used in a multitude of ways.

Graphical User Interface:

We provide graphical user interface support for various consumers, industrial, and medical products. This discipline is typically used in conjunction with the development of a specific product design. Screen icons, menus, buttons, color scheme, and hierarchical formats are developed, refined, and detailed to conform to all product specific and end user requirements.

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Do you need help developing a new product? Let our industrial designers and mechanical engineers take you all the way from initial concept sketches to a fully functional prototype. Contact us today to learn more about our industrial design services in Boston or to get a free consultation/quote!

Industrial design project

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20+ years of product design and development experience