I was able to do an half-year-internship at AUDI Design. I worked on a showcar interior project which i won't publish here - and a personel project, wich i could choose. I decided to make a lawnmower for the soccer field of the munich Allianz Arena and Jens Sieber did the supervision.
The idea was, to motivate a boring work with an exciting tool. The driver should sit on the lawnmover like he does on a chopper. For better overview, he sits directly upfront. Knives for the machine can be changed and everything... you see the result! The Audi guys liked that project very much, but I think they won't produce it anyway :)
Every product development starts with an idea and a blank sheet of paper. The concept sketch is still the fastest, easiest to use and most versatile tool for development and communication. This is phase one and the fun part in most projects. It 'brainstorms' and determinates function and design directions for the designer, the client and all project partners for later project phases.
Phase two! As soon as directions are clear and the concept is almost set up, it's time to add some contour. Construction tools such as software packages, CAD mills, 3D printers and more come in handy to build physical and virtual mockups and turn the idea into something visible. Models, renderings and animations help to define and evaluate design details and technical specifications regarding cost efficiency and the needs of different manufacturing processes.
The design data is converted to construction data, defining materials, production processes, tooling specifications and so on. If required, Prototypes are made for testing and evaluation. Almost done? You wish! The concept must end up in a product, which means a manufacturing process including supply chain, production of parts, assembly, quality control and packaging must be set up. And... this is something one already should have had in mind in phase one - while sketching.