Integrating the Marketing Function into Industrial Design Education

By Tsai Lu Liu and Victoria Hannum.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Industrial Design is the act of creating new forms of mass produced products, often practiced after the principle of “form follows function”. There are many different but incomplete definitions of these functions that product form should follow, and in this paper a comprehensive structure of these functions for design education has been developed.
Industrial Design students are currently taught that there are three functions of an artifact: the technical, production, and human functions. Marketing is often overlooked as an important function in the design process, and this oversight can lead to dismal after production results of a product, even if all other design functions appear flawless. Although most professionals know the importance of marketing, many have difficulty incorporating marketing into the design process.
The integration of marketing into the Industrial Design education is imperative to ensure that the designs of the future will be successful and that graduating students will have the ability to discern which function is to be followed in the design process. By concentrating on marketing functions such as segmentation, positioning, buying behavior, brand and price factors, the probability of market failure after production can be minimized. In this paper a systematic outline of the marketing function as it applies to Industrial Design education is being proposed.

Keywords: Industrial Design, Marketing, Design Education

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp.21-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 768.700KB).

Prof. Tsai Lu Liu

Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Tsai Lu Liu graduated in 1985 from the Department of Industrial Design of National Cheng Kung University of Taiwan. After working for a year as a corporate identity designer in Taiwan, he went to Georgia State University and received a MBA degree in Marketing in 1990. Liu went to Auburn University and completed the graduate study of industrial design with a MID degree in 1992. He then worked for three years as a product designer and marketing manager for Design Principles, a product development firm in Huntsville Alabama. In 1995, Liu went back to Taiwan and started working for several manufacturers managing product design and corporate marketing. His teams developed and introduced several new game machines, toy cars, and computer servers to the international market, some of which are still on the market today. In 2002, Liu started his own company designing and producing adaptive products for disabled children. A series of special chairs, tables, and rehabilitation products were marketed to hospitals, schools, and to families with special needs children in both Taiwan and Australia. In 2004, Liu returned to Auburn University as a member of the faculty of industrial design.

Victoria Hannum

Department of Industrial Design, Auburn University, Alabama, USA

Victoria Hannum graduated from Auburn University in 2006, receiving degrees in both Industrial Design and English. She is working as a technical writer for a software company in Huntsville, Alabama, while pursuing a masters degree in English at the University of Alabama, Hunstville. Her studies focus on Technical Communication, and her intrests lie in product documentation, writer/user/document interactions, and communication practices between cross-discipline workgroups.


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