From 500 BC to Present: The Evolution of Industrial Design

The Evolution of Industrial Design

Throughout history, when people needed a product or object, they figured out a way to create it or found someone who could help them make it. Shoemakers, welders, whatever the case, they were the reason industrial design is what it is today. Because someone, somewhere, saw the opportunity to build something from nothing or improve upon what already existed.

In 2017, innovation is at its forefront. Things that we once saw as innovations years ago are being flipped upside down to improve upon. Entrepreneurs, designers, and start-ups are looking at ways to make our lives better, and we see this every day. But how did we get to this point?

In industrial design, many tools are required to help shape the final project like this shoe mold.
A shoemaker holds one of the first shoe moulding prototypes and is a useful tool in shaping the final product.

Industrial Design Through History

Let’s start over 40,000 years ago when our ancestors were using pictures to help describe their ideas, designs, and tools for future generations on the walls of the caves they lived in.

By 500 BC, people were using an alphabet that helped them better describe what couldn’t be seen in photos.

Fast forward to 1901, when a major innovation hit the market and changed the way we designed: the drafting machine.

However, although we can look back at these monumental moments in history and tie them to how they shaped industrial design to what it is today, it was the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain in the mid 18th century that really changed the way things were made. This revolution marked the transition to new manufacturing processes. It transformed hand production to machines, introduced new processes, and increased production power.

From the Industrial Revolution, we moved onto increasing automation with the use of production lines to create products in volumes. A shift in industrialization that would never have been made possible in the days of simple hand tools.

It could only go uphill from here and people were looking for more ways to increase production and develop innovations that would change the world. Henry Ford is known as one of the first to use an assembly line for the mass production of automobiles in 1913 and from there industrial design could only continue to innovate.

Today's industrial design from a world class designer at Mako Design.
The PetBot: Another design by MAKO Design + Invent

Industrial design today

Today we are seeing almost daily leading innovations change the way we work and live. There is no limit to what can innovate our lives next, whether it be facial recognition on the latest iPhone or a mini-projector that is changing the way we tell bedtime stories to our kids at night. The years ahead couldn’t be more exciting for industrial designers everywhere because there are no limits, if you can dream it, we can do it.   

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About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial designmechanical engineeringelectrical engineeringpatent referralprototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!

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