The Importance of Smart Product Design: Why First Impressions Matter

Have you discovered a time-saving way to clean the house? A convenient new way to feed the baby? A genius way to protect your home? When a flash of creative brilliance strikes, it’s natural to want to rush forward and get in touch with product design companies to create our masterpieces.

While putting your idea together and getting it to the market is part of the process, it can usually benefit you to slow down for a few seconds and think smart about your product design. We all know we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest—most of us do. You want to be sure you’re putting your best work forward for customers because, once the cat’s out of the bag—well, it’s out of the bag.

Just as words can’t be unsaid, the first impressions of a new product can’t be unmade. Don’t rush your product to market simply because you know it’s brilliant. Do your homework and have a foolproof plan in place.

What Do Statistics Say?

According to psychology experts, we only get seven seconds to make a first impression. During those all-important seven seconds, 55% of the opinion formed is based purely off appearance.

When putting a product on the market, it serves businesses well to be sure they’ve designed the best piece possible. It’s exciting to see a dream Realised*, but it’s important to balance creative goals with business goals. You don’t want to put out a product no one will buy since that makes no business sense at all. *pun intended

For this reason, it can be beneficial to utilize help in several areas.

Do You Need Help from a …

  • Product Development Agency?
  • Market Researcher?
  • Marketing Specialist?


Getting professional help as you develop your product ensures you’re thinking of all facets from both creative and business standpoints. However, if putting out the funds for a professional product design agency isn’t within your budget, there are other ways to get help with your design process:

1) Work with college students who are majoring or minoring in your product field.

College students are often eager for experience in their chosen field. Their education is fresh in their minds, and their eagerness makes them a prime partner for design and development. They often work for a reduced price or, sometimes, simply for the credit next to their name.

2) Work with local professionals whose fields are similar to your design requirements but who might be looking for side work rather than a career in design.

Local professionals are often skilled in areas that are beneficial to product design and development. For instance, an experienced local machinist or woodworker might have the skills you would otherwise need from a professional engineer, and you might be able to hire them for much less.

3) Consider your personal connections.

Two designers' walking

You may already know someone in your personal circles who has the necessary skills to help with your product development, testing, and marketing. Don’t be shy about reaching out with your ideas.


Building a Product That Solves a Problem

One of the first questions you must ask yourself when designing your product is “What problem does it solve?” You should have a specific scenario in mind. Is it a fun toy box that encourages kids to clean their rooms? Is it a dust mop that does five jobs in one, thereby saving time and money?

After you decide what problem you’re solving with your idea, you should also consider your target audience. Who is it, and would they be willing to pay money to solve this problem? Does your target audience even have the money to solve the problem? If your product is for kids, how might you get the kids to want it and the parents to pay for it?

These are important considerations when designing your product. They help you choose how to design it, and what materials to use to achieve a price point that appeals to your customers.

What if the answer is no to some of these questions? If you ask yourself what problem you’re solving, and the answer is “none,” you may need to consider going back to the drawing board. Rethink your idea, do a little more brainstorming, and figure out a way to provide the most benefit for your customers.

Man's hand sketching some designs


Designing the Smart Way

The first step to bringing your product to life is creating a prototype. This can be done as cheaply or ornately as desired, but it’s often best to start out small. Using easily accessible materials such as recyclables and craft supplies can allow you to focus on what works best without spending a lot of cash. It would also be a good idea to invest in a glue gun, to securely and professionally bond together your prototype designs. This can also help identify flaws in your initial design and help you weed out what doesn’t work and uncover what does.

Once you have your best design nailed down, you can work on a more professional prototype. This is often the project you take before your testing audience—and, finally, investors if you choose to seek out backers.


The testing phase is an important step in the product development process. Remember the importance of first impressions, here. Allowing a small, controlled group of testers to give feedback on your project before putting it out to the public can save much heartache.

While receiving honest feedback on your project can sometimes be hard, its benefits are tremendous and worthwhile. When getting feedback, there are a couple of ways to keep its benefits to the maximum:

  • Ask specific questions or for feedback on particular aspects of your product. Without proper direction, testers might comment on anything, from size to colours, to their opinion of your idea in general. If you want to make sure the flap of your new bag sits comfortably, make sure you ask.
  • Ignore unhelpful comments. If comments are random and nonspecific, don’t let them get you down. Instead, ignore them and forge on. On the flip side, if you receive repetitive feedback from multiple testers, don’t ignore it. It is most likely they have identified something the public might latch onto.

Once you’ve built your prototype, sent it to testers, and received feedback, now it’s time to use everything you learned to solidify your design. This is also the stage where you’ll focus on making your product attractive and appealing. Often, packaging is just as important to first impressions as the actual product. Focus on graphics, package design, and colouring.

Men and women presenting an idea for a product


Bringing your creative passions to life is a fulfilling and rewarding endeavour. Rushing into the world of selling a product can be disappointing if not done with care. Practice making smart product design choices and make an excellent first impression on your customers. When your product succeeds in the market, you’ll be glad you did everything you could before you launch a product to ensure its success.