The first step in the design process: outlining the essential of a product, a machinery, a device. Finding out the main requisites and characteristics of the project, settling the bases for further developments. Often in a very short time.
Every product, system or component which is to be engineered must before all be well identified an defined in its essential concepts: what are the functions it is intended to perform? what shall the product look like? how is the product to be manufactured?
These are the basic questions a concept design is to give an answer to; in this fundamental phase, the designer starts from a generic specification for the product and, thanks to experience, technical knowledge and imagination, generates some broad solutions; of course, these will not be the final ones, and the design course is still long. But no further development is possible without these starting points, and a good concept design often can save money and time just by determining early what can be done and what cannot.
I found myself involved in concept design since the very start of my professional activity; this is one of my favorite branches to work in, and I think it's interesting to start at the very beginning of a project, having the freedom of conceiving new ideas to solve new problems.
Why should a wise client ask a non-specialized designer to be an active party in a concept design team? Obviously, because a freelance designer has the venture of being active in many fields, so he carries with him a wide experience in problem solving, and his mind is not tightened by trade habits, so he is likely to have a new idea, or to see the project from a new point of view, thus stimulating new ideas.
Of course, I am not specialized in every field in which my clients found my intervention was very useful, and most of the designs I performed for clients were to to be further developed by specialists, but in almost every case the final route was correctly traced, and no major change was necessary to the principles stated.
Besides that, I use to display the contents of my concept design with illustrations that are clearly understood even by non-technicians, using the most suitable techniques in order to achieve both readability and short work time, plus, when possible, an attractive appearance.
Clients found this very useful to describe ideas and to explain concepts without using traditional technical drafts, which may look poor without dimensions, (that sometimes are too binding), which require long drawing time and which often are misunderstood by persons who are to take final decisions.
Andrea "Dria" Obinu