An excellent product design can take an organization to endless success. At the same time, a poor design can leave the business at its lowest ebb. While everything around you is a gift of product design, many people still need help understanding its concept. 

In this article, you will learn about the meaning of product design and its history. Kinds of jobs and roles associated with product design and salaries of designers. You will also get to know the seven steps of the product design process and the best tools to use in this field.    

What is product design?

Product design is the process where product design engineers imagine, build and work continuously on improving products to solve users’ problems in a market. 

The above explanation signifies that you must adhere to end-users or customers’ requirements to attain a winning product design. Why? They are the people who will be utilizing and getting benefits from the product. The simple answer is empathy and knowledge of real people’s problems. A product designer should understand your prospective customers’ needs, wants, habits, characteristics, and current product design trends.

One of the traits of a successful product design is that you don’t have to compel customers to use the solution. Users automatically start utilizing the product since the design already understands their requirements. 

The design should create an impeccable user experience and offer enormous value in customers’ lives. The origin of the design starts from ideation and market research to concept development, prototyping, and testing. 

But wait… That’s not everything.

A great product design is iterative and should help customers in the long run, offering additional functionalities in a seamless, findable, uninterruptible way. Moreover, a product design should maintain brand consistency and gain positive customer opinions. 

Last but not least, product design is not only about what customers see on their devices. But it also includes all the essential backend processes that enable users to experience and connect with the interface. 

History of product design

Product design comes from a similar subject known as industrial design. 

Industrial design is an everyday practice to design products by millions of professionals in the world in the world. Besides appearance, industrial designers also focus on the product’s functionality, development, value, and user experience.

– Industrial Designers Society of America

Before the mass production era (1860 to 1920), craftspersons used to make products by hand. As a result, there were high-cost products with lesser manufacturing and fewer sales. But, as the industrial revolution took over the world, production increased, and prices decreased. 

To sell products to millions of buyers, manufacturers chose industrial designers to make products with functionality and aesthetic characteristics. And gradually, a new subcategory of industrial design came into existence, which is now called product design.

Industrial design relates to physical products, like cars, electronics, home appliances, toys, and furniture. In comparison, product design practices are usually taken as all sorts of products, including software applications. 

Also Read: A Guidebook to SaaS Product Development Process

How many types of product design jobs are available?

One of the essential responsibilities of a designer is to ensure product design expression. It is achieved when all design elements are included in a product.

product design

For example, the shape, size, and color tone of a product should be attractive enough to grab customers’ attention. Therefore, product design jobs revolve around multiple roles. So let’s discuss the most common yet prevalent jobs available in the market. 

Graphic designer

When it comes to product design, you cannot deny the fact that graphic designers have the most artistic role to play. They use design approaches to create all types of visual components of a product, including icons, logos, and overall graphics. 

Moreover, they have a great sense of picking the best color scheme that goes with the product concept and attracts customers simultaneously. Graphic designers also have an essential role in telling the brand story, boosting awareness, and enhancing user experience.


Prototypers are part of a product design organization that gives the ideas a tangible state. They help organizations know how the product features are satisfying users. The company decides what changes to make to the product to fulfill customers’ requirements based on user reviews. 

However, there are two types of prototypers. Those who work for physical products create mockup designs. In contrast, digital prototypers build wireframes and digital mockups (DMU). 

User research

Organizations dedicated to product design have a separate department for product designers who study customer behavior. They are responsible for surveying through interview sessions and receiving user feedback. And their job is to assess target users by knowing their pain points and needs.

These professionals aid the product design department with all the insights to create the best design possible. Furthermore, they also play a crucial role in making demographics and UX persona to understand prospective and potential customers and make effective design decisions.

Animation designer

Motion or animation designers are needed if your product has “moving” elements to increase user experience. It can be simple transitions to user-controlled characters or objects, which cannot be obtained without animation designers.

In simple words, designers who fit in this category give life to graphical elements instead of creating the art from scratch. However, it’s a tough job and requires expert designers to do it successfully. 

UX designer

UX or user-experience designers ensure the product satisfies customers’ needs. These candidates have a sound knowledge of UX design as they have been into product design bootcamp and gained experience from numerous past projects. UX designers are responsible for creating highly interactive products to make end-users feel pleasant whenever they use the solution. . 

Data analysts

Product designers who are great at qualitative and quantitative data turn out to be the best data analysts. Data analysts in product design have sharp eyes and brains over user research and other essential information. All the data they gather is used to refine a product’s features, layout, and visual appearance. 

Product designer

Most product design services prefer hiring a product designer with the ability and skills to handle all the above roles. Contrarily, some companies may divide the parts of brainstorming new product ideas, UX design, etc., among individual professionals. 

What are the salaries of a product designer?

Product designer salaries depend on several factors, such as experience, job tenure, and location. In the US, the average salary of a product designer is around $94,419 per year. And a senior designer earns up to $141,670 annually. 

product designer salaries


What does the product design process looks like?

There is no standard pattern to define the product design process. Every company may have its own method, depending on the project requirements. But to give an idea, here’s a glimpse of the process.

  • Step 1: Identifying users’ problem
  • Step 2: Defining product vision and strategies to achieve it
  • Step 3: Product and market research through user interviews and surveys
  • Step 4: User analysis to know what users want in a product
  • Step 5: Product ideation
  • Step 6: Building prototypes to get early feedback
  • Step 7: Product testing

It is important to understand that the design process sometimes moves differently rather than linearly. The results of a particular step may convince the team to repeat the earlier stages. For example, you might think of changing the strategies (step 3) after user analysis (step 4). Or amend product ideation (step 5) after receiving feedback for the prototype (step 6). 

Product design is an ongoing process that continues even after the solution reaches maturity due to the ever-evolving technology. For instance, there was a time when users had to turn on their computers to enjoy the full functionalities of websites. 

Since it was a significant setback to their comfort level, product designers made applications more suitable for mobile devices. They designed responsive layouts to create mobile-friendly websites. Now, people can get similar information and functions of a solution whether they are using it through a computer or mobile device. 

Also Read: Scrum vs. Spotify Model – Which One is Best for Your Product Development

What type of tools do product designers use?

Each role requires a different application, when its about product design in tech industry.

product design tools

Here are the widely used product design software by designers.

  • Prototyping tools
  • Graphic design software
  • Wireframing applications
  • Product roadmap applications
  • Journey mapping applications
  • Project management applications
  • Data analytics and research tools 
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) software


Product design is about creating and improving solutions to satisfy customers’ needs. It is a broad term that covers all major roles, including graphic designer, UX designer, data analyst, animation designer, prototyper, and more. Product designers are highly-skilled professionals who enjoy fruitful compensation. They know how to use tools to achieve the product design process.

At Slash, we believe that a successful product design is aesthetically pleasing and highly customized toward customers’ needs. With right methodologies, design tools, and user-centered approaches, we design and develop solutions your end-users love to use. We use the iterative process to amplify design to satisfy your users’ needs. Our experts follow the step-by-step process to design products – starting from identifying requirements and inventing prototypes to building highly interactive platforms. 


What are the best product design examples? Some of the popular product designs in the digital world are iPods. At the same time, Vespa and Coca-Cola bottles are still one of the best designs for physical products. 

What are product design skills? A product designer must possess UI/UX design, articulation, visual design, teamwork, and decision-making skills in digital products. Additionally, they should be self-motivated and always feel optimistic about learning new patterns and technologies in the design field. 

What is the main focus of a product design? The main focus of product design is to offer solutions to users’ problems. A good design helps a company to make continuously successful products. 

What does a product designer do? A product designer creates a functional product in a way that is aesthetically pleasing and includes problem-solving features. 

Byron Matthiopoulos
Byron Matthiopoulos
Managing Director
Byron Matthiopoulos joined as a Product Owner in 2018, shortly after moving to Cambodia, to help lead one of the biggest projects of the start-up at the time. His background as medical researcher, journalist & advertising photographer and diverse skills have provided a solid foundation for the complexities of the field of product building. His ability to assimilate multiple sources of data into a coherent vision allowed him to successfully run a number of exciting projects over the years. The diversity and complexity of his tasks since he joined Slash had perfectly positioned him to take over the role of Head of Product. He is now leading the ideation, design and creation of new and exciting products through user-centric digital innovation.
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