Product Design Strategy and Trends | MAKO Design + Invent

MAKO’s Take on Product Design Trends

Like most businesses, every single market has trends and patterns that follow what is currently popular and gaining or losing popularity. As product developers and designers, we typically are the ones who create and set the blueprint for which designs become more commercially trendy.

Although scoping the market to have a good idea of what designs will be most successful amongst various audiences is helpful, following a curated product design strategy will best allow your business to know which strategic designs will be most profitable and effective with consumers.

At MAKO Design + Invent, we typically follow the ‘MVP’ product design strategy. MVP stands for ‘most viable product,’ which refers to a product that focuses more on viability and includes a simple design with only the requisite features for it to be profitable in a market. However, as design enthusiasts, we love observing and discovering new trends in design at MAKO to see how the world of product design and development is evolving.

We have noticed that some of the best product design strategies do carry the ‘MVP’ method, but one noticeable trend we’ve seen amongst major companies is the habit of following or creating products that follow, or replicate, the product design of a recently trending product.

Product Design Strategy Case Study: The Fidget Spinner

For example, the fidget spinner. The fidget spinner was a product that exploded into popularity in the past couple of years due to its simple but addictive design and features.

The product was designed as a small toy that users can spin in their hands to stop or aide themselves from – as the product name entails – “fidgeting.” It was a massive success, hitting almost all markets and resonating with a vast audience, as the toy was popular with both adults and children.

Following the massive success of the simple toy, there was a rush of major companies and brands taking the opportunity to gain profit from the popular product trend by creating their own fidget spinners.

Companies incorporated the simple design of the fidget spinner but added their own twist through different material, functionality, color or branding in order to sell and profit from the trend during its highest peak of popularity.

A great example of this is the company GLAMSPIN who created a lip balm fidget spinner. The circles on the fidget spinner where the fingers are placed open up to reveal three different flavoured lip balms. The product was a huge hit amongst kids, teens and beauty fans!

Following the release of the product, the major beauty retail company ‘Sephora’ even took heed of this product design strategy and began carrying the product on their shelves. For a small beauty company, this is a huge advancement as Sephora is a corporate giant within the beauty retail industry.

Is This The Best Product Design Strategy?

Following a popular trending product ended up being a great product design strategy for GLAMSPIN, but is it always a good idea for your business? At MAKO Design + Invent, we take clients through the entire product design journey and create a comprehensive, strategic plan for your product idea from concept to production phase. We also offer insightful information on what would be the best course of action for your business based on how well the product would likely resonate with its target market.

With this being said, when we observe businesses taking and following the trend of popular product designs, it’s not uncommon for us to see businesses that want to follow the same idea. Many inventors aspire to create their own version of a trending product with small details that act as a ‘selling point’ to which audiences would be interested in purchasing their version of the product.

As exemplified by the lip balm fidget spinner, this tactic and strategy can definitely work, especially when acting as a cute novelty item, but in most cases, sometimes following a popular trending product isn’t the best product design strategy to follow.  

This strategy all boils down to your own company and business. If you create a product following a popular design taking over the product design world, you have to make sure your version of the product stands out.

Either find something that is missing in the original version of the product or create a design in which consumers from a niche market would be more likely to invest in your version of the product rather than the original.

In the case of the fidget spinner, this product design strategy was done in many ways as brands and companies created fidget spinners with special designs, added features, such as fans, or lights, or branded images – superhero, anime-inspired fidget spinners. However, if your business is relying on this niche market following a popular product design, you might need to reevaluate the longevity of your business.

Product Design Strategy and Your Business

The problem with popular and trending products is that once their hype dies down, more people are less focused or invested in purchasing novelty or “special” different of the original product. What this means is that, even though the original product itself will remain popular, the efforts that general audiences will go through to buy a specialty version of that product will soon go away.

For example, slap bracelets were once popular, but once their popularity began to die down, there was less demand for novelty slap bracelets, including specialty ones that lit up or featured pictures of popular musicians or movie characters.

Therefore, if you’re thinking of releasing a product based on the popularity of one successful product design, consider the idea that although it might be profitable for a short amount of time, it might not be investing for your business over a long period of time.

Unless you already have an established business or company with a loyal customer base, then hopping on the trend to create a temporary product to take advantage of the trend may not be the best product design strategy. Starting off a business based on a popular product design could be short-lived – the company GLAMSPIN soon disappeared from Sephora and went out of business after the fidget spinner trend died down.

If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO today and visit our website to find out more. Or feel free to give us a call at 1-888-806-MAKO, and we can set you up on a call with our product strategist!

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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