(Repost) China Urged to Upgrade its Industrial Design Savvy

Time: 2015-12-3 13:08

Chinese manufacturers are being encouraged to develop better industrial designs and strengthen their brands in order to deliver a more valuable product to the market.


Better industrial design will not only help manufacturers gain popularity among international consumers, but also help China to realize its "Made in China 2025" initiative, said Mathis Heller, an industrial designer from Germany.


"The country has invested enormously in the infrastructure of factories, but applying industrial design to the products still has huge potential," Heller said at a seminar in Bengbu city of East China's Anhui province.


In May, China unveiled the national initiative "Made in China 2025", designed to transform the nation from a manufacturing giant of quantity into a world manufacturing power of quality.


Marianne Stokholm, a Danish industrial designer and professor at Aalborg University, and others attending the Saturday seminar from China, Germany, Denmark and Japan said Chinese manufacturers must consider the value added to products through good design and how to apply such tools to their businesses.


"If market competition is compared to a war, then good designs are strong weapons that China will have to use," Stokholm said.


After visiting some Chinese automakers and reviewing their histories, Heller said some have improved enormously in design, but they don't have consistent follow-through.


"Some of the carmakers have very good design now, from a westerner's eyes, while it seems they don't understand yet how to use the same design DNA in the long-term," Heller said.


Experts at the seminar organized by the Anhui province government's foreign experts administration said good industrial design includes more than the look of products. More importantly, they said, it considers consumer requirements for features such as comfort, convenience and new technology.


Stokholm said many Chinese manufacturers have been known for craftsmanship, but "craftsmanship alone is no longer able to attract global consumers".


"Many Chinese manufacturers still haven't realized the importance of good designs. It could be seen from the fact that many of them don't have a chief design officer. If there is, the position is still much lower then it should be, compared to such ones as chief executive officer and chief finance officer", Heller said.


Designers should not only have a qualified arts background, but also be good at engineering, he said.


To make significant progress, the experts cited education as a key factor.


"China should educate people, not only manufacturers, but also consumers, of the value of good designs," said Nis Ovesen, a design professor at Aalborg University.


Masahiro Inoue, a design professor at Nagoya Institute of Technology and a former general manager at Toshiba Design Center, said he expects China to progress step by step, and suggested the government could lead the campaign.


"It was consumers that drove Japanese manufacturers to pay more attention to industrial design, starting from the 1950s, when more and more Japanese people were getting better educated," Inoue said.


In the 1950s, the Japanese initiated the world renowned Good Design Award, which has played an important role in improving the industrial design level of Japanese products, Inoue said.


source: China Daily