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Designing a Product that Sells: Principle Considerations

Designing a Product that Sells: Principle Considerations

As primarily visual creatures, we have a tendency to make decisions not simply based on the inherent quality of an item, but its presentation. Yes, no matter our intellect and ability to think pragmatically, we still judge the book by its cover, and in this age of having literally too many choices, picking out a brand on a shelf next to dozens of the same products has become a form of art.

Or even more precisely, designing that one item to stand out among a sea of sameness is the key challenge brands face in today’s competitive market. In order to overcome this modern design conundrum, let’s take a look at a few key principles of appealing and functional design to help your brand stand out.

Quality Comes First

There are numerous steps to take between the moment you conceive an idea of your product to the moment it becomes viable to produce it. One such step that will determine not just that famous first impression of the product, but define your brand reputation, is its quality. No matter what your product may be, skimping on quality material, details, and packaging will end up costing you much more in the long run.

A prime example is the Veuve Clicquot luxury champagne brand that created such a simple, yet unique design with the color yellow that their bottles instantly popped out in the sea of black, maroon, and gold. They have managed to turn such a simple shade into a representation of luxury, and further empower their superior position in the market.

An Innovative Edge

Sometimes the essence of your product and its value isn’t in any tangible form, and yet you have to find a way to present it to the world in order for people to take notice. Very few products nowadays can honestly say that they offer something truly unique and outstanding, simply because we have come so far that most new products are merely upgrades of existing solutions to our problems. But in order for a product to sell, it needs an edge, and your design needs to reflect that innovative edge in every way.

Within this Master Course in Product Design, led by industrial design superstar Marc Sadler, they point out that there is no such thing as a template for a successful design. There can be no cookie-cutter solution for your product, so your top priority must be to leave the proverbial box and think of a design that echoes your brand identity and emphasizes its uniqueness.


In architecture, intricacy is considered an aesthetic advantage that showcases the artist’s skill. But in the world of product design, where your main goal is to sell and create an emotional connection, we need to remember that we have no time to waste. If your design is too complex to be understood in an instant, your consumers’ eyes will wander away to the next product in line.

Features need to be clearly presented, they need to have an appealing, yet minimalist structure that leads them to the most relevant portion of your product – its selling point. A brilliant example is the famous Post-it notes that are as simple as a product can be, yet few products can match their sales.

Finesse and Function

The focus on the performance of your product doesn’t serve as an excuse to not create a design that will appeal to your future customers. The appearance of your product is an equally essential feature that might end up tipping the scales in your favor.

Consider the purpose of your product. Is it supposed to stand out or fit in? Should you use vibrant colors or something elegant and subdued such as black or gray? Everything from the font, to the curves, texture, and fabric matter in the eyes of the beholder.

Ultimately, finding the balance between obnoxiously detailed and overly simplistic has become every modern designer’s puzzle. Whatever your product may be, you need to understand your customer as well as your brand identity in order to define that balance.

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by Lillian Connors // Lillian is a senior business consultant and the co-editor at She's mainly focused on business optimization and sustainable growth. In her leisure time, she likes to lose herself in a good book or drink a couple of hoppy pale ales.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.