Work With Us

2021’s Top 10 Product Design Posts

In 2021 readers gravitated toward posts that offered both inspiration and practical info about innovation strategy and product design.

In this year’s top ten list you’ll find a lot of know-how, including:

  • How to plan for future product experiences to foster brand evangelists
  • Steps to develop technology platforms that support product roadmaps
  • A tool to bridge research and design
  • A guide filled with tips for creating good product requirements
  • A methodology for choosing the right color for your product

The list also includes a rad, ‘80s-inspired computing side project and a wish list of 20 things we’d like to redesign.

Check out all ten posts, below — which is your favorite?:

2021 Top Product Design Post: Four Steps to a Visionary Product Strategy

10. Be Visionary: Four Steps to a Visionary Product Strategy

How do you decide to like or dislike a brand? Consumers’ brand loyalty is shaped by their experience using a brand’s products. And their decision to buy a product most likely stems from reading positive reviews of others’ experiences with it.

Knowing that today’s consumers develop their own perceptions of brands instead of passively accepting brand-crafted messages, how can companies plan for future product experiences that will turn their users into brand evangelists?

Ryan Chen’s blog post has four tactics for product strategists who are planning future products. He also explains what the most successful, durable brands have in common. (Hint: Have you ever wondered why visiting Apple’s Genius Bar is so darn delightful?)

Read the post: Be Visionary: Four Steps to a Visionary Product Strategy by Ryan Chen

Watch the webinar: Visionary Product Strategy: A How-To for Product Strategists, Planners, and Innovators with Ryan Chen

2021 Top Product Design Post: Four Steps to Breakthrough Technical Innovation

9. Implement the Vision: Four Steps to Breakthrough Technical Innovation

Director of Mechanical Engineering, Aaron Pavkov, grabbed the baton from Ryan Chen and his ‘Cast A Vision: Four Steps To a Forward-Looking Technology Roadmap,’ to explain how to implement the vision you’ve cast.

Aaron shares four steps for repeatable technical innovation that have proven trustworthy for him and his team on project after project. These steps result in technology platforms that are both foundational to and upstream from breakthrough products. He illustrates the process with three case studies, including one about building a better mouse trap!

Read the post: Implement the Vision: Four Steps to Breakthrough Technical Innovation by Aaron Pavkov

Watch the webinar: Technological Innovation: Implementing the Vision with Aaron Pavkov

2021 Top Product Design Post: The GRIZ Sextant

8. The GRIZ Sextant

You’ll see ’80s computing in a new light once you’ve read about Michael Barretta‘s DIY homage to ’80s laptops.

His GRIZ Sextant features a collection of DIY hardware (keyboard, display, and Raspberry Pi) brought together in a custom 3D-printed enclosure. It draws inspiration from the GRiD Compass, arguably the first clamshell laptop. Best of all, it’s designed to be reproduced.

In this post, Mike shares the hiccups he experienced during the design and development process, and he offers links to info he’s compiled for anyone interested in building their own.

Read the post: #sideproject: The GRIZ Sextant by Michael Barretta

2021 Top Product Design Post: How To Manage Product Development During a Parts Shortage

7. How To Manage Product Development During a Parts Shortage

Once in a while we publish a post that’s ripped from the headlines, and this was one of those times. When Director of Electrical Engineering, Dan Marcq, found himself helping multiple clients navigate parts shortages, he decided to write an article compiling his advice.

Relevant for companies facing or anticipating a semiconductor shortage or any kind of hardware part shortage, Dan’s post is split into tips for those taking a new product to market (New Product Development); and for those focused on maintaining a product that’s already to market.

Read the post: How To Manage Product Development During a Parts Shortage by Dan Marcq

2021 Top Product Design Post: Use 'Jobs Outcomes and Constraints' to Exploit the Pause Between Concept and Ideation

6. Use ‘Jobs Outcomes and Constraints’ to Exploit the Pause Between Concept and Ideation

The best products are driven by insights gathered during user research. That’s a given for human-centered design. But how do product designers best bridge research and design? What do you do with that pile of unmet user needs you’ve brought back from the field? How do you turn it into effective product concepts? There’s a method for that, and it’s called Jobs, Outcomes, and Constraints (JOC).

In this post, Mathieu Turpault explains how to use JOC to synthesize your research and move into ideation with the confidence that you’re working from something more reliable than a hunch. Because imposing structure on your creative process will always yield the best results.

Read the post: Use ‘Jobs Outcomes and Constraints’ to Exploit the Pause Between Concept and Ideation by Mathieu Turpault

2021 Top Product Design Post: AI in Medicine, Establishing Trust Through Usability

5. AI in Medicine: Establishing Trust Through Usability

Artificial intelligence has made a substantial impact in many medical fields, but it hasn’t been adopted to the same degree (yet) across all medical specialties. In this post, Chris Kim discusses how differing degrees of adoption in medicine relate directly to usability challenges for AI product developers.

In areas of medicine where AI is slower to catch on, a common obstacle to adoption is lack of trust. Usability is the key to gaining that trust. Chris highlights the specific usability challenges for product developers working on AI products in radiology, internal medicine, and surgical robotics.

Read the post: AI in Medicine: Establishing Trust Through Usability by Chris Kim, MD

2021 Top Product Design Post: 20 Products, Systems, and Experiences We'd Like to Redesign

4. 20 Products, Systems, and Experiences We’d Like to Redesign

We polled our staff to ask, “If you could redesign a product, experience, or service, what would it be, and why?” We always get great answers to this question — check out our earlier post on this topic, “If You Could Redesign Anything, What Would It Be?

This newer list is very much of its year, with ideas driven by needs that were laid bare during the COVID pandemic. Others are ideas for products that will preserve innovations bred from the necessity of mitigating the pandemic’s socioeconomic, business, and health effects.

Read the post: 20 Products and Systems and Experiences We’d Like to Redesign by Bresslergroup

Top Product Design Post: How Digital Whiteboards Became the Design Tool of 2021

3. How Digital Whiteboards Became the Design Tool of 2021

It’s widely accepted that the pandemic sped up digital transformation and technology. For our industrial design team, it accelerated the adoption of Miro as their virtual collaboration tool of choice.

In this post Chris Murray explains how his team uses Miro, including their preferred layouts for industrial design projects and for brainstorming and workshops. He also discusses how the platform is changing the client-consultant relationship.

(No, this post was not sponsored by Miro. We just really like the platform.)

Read the post: How Digital Whiteboards Became the Design Tool of 2021 by Chris Murray

2021 Top Product Design Post: A Guide to Developing Better Product Requirements

2. A Guide to Developing Better Product Requirements

There’s an art to balancing the need for information that will guide development with the freedom to navigate a path to the best final product.

As a mechanical engineer who’s had experience in design, manufacturing, and project management throughout the product development cycle, Sharon West has learned a few things about creating product requirements, including the differences between requirements that can be a great help to the team and those that can be a real thorn in the side.

In this guide, she generously shares plenty of tips to help project teams succeed.

Read the post: A Guide to Developing Better Product Requirements by Sharon West

2021 Top Product Design Post: Four Steps to Choosing the "Right Color" in Product Design

1. Four Steps to Choosing the “Right Color” in Product Design

And coming in at number one is a post about a color selection methodology we’ve developed at Bresslergroup that applies user-first design thinking to color selection for product design. Because color selection without a net — or color selection that isn’t driven by a rational process — is risky to product success.

This method isn’t a formula and it doesn’t remove the designer’s skill, but it guides a project team through color selection in a rational manner that staves off emotional, gut decisions. In this post, Director of Industrial Design, Chris Murray, walks the reader through the methodology and illustrates how we used it in two case studies.

Read the post: Four Steps to Choosing the “Right Color” in Product Design by Chris Murray

And that, as they say, is our 2021 wrapped! Thank you for reading, and see you in 2022.

Check out our Most Popular Posts from 2013-2020.