A design project usually starts with a brief from a client that outlines a invention or a problem that needs to be addressed. In response a design proposal is produced that recommends stages of work, with the costs.
The brief is discussed at a “kick off” meeting with the designers and client. A design specification is produced listing the “nice to have” and “must have” features. We look at existing products on the market and have a brainstorm session with the client. We search for existing patents on Espacenet. Looking at the patents can lead to innovative ideas as well as make us aware of ideas that are currently protected.
We “sketch up” the ideas from the brainstorm session and create more styling or mechanical options. These are presented to the client and one or two are selected. We then find out what standards we need to comply with if we haven’t already been told.
We develop 3D CAD models of each design and produce the CAD renderings and animations to assess the styling. Working rigs are made (often using 3D printed parts) to prove any mechanisms and allow clients to get hands on with the design. A fully functioning and visually accurate prototype is then made to enable users to interact with the design and a risk assessment is carried out. A pre-production run is made for consumer trials. Feedback results in more design modifications, and an instruction manual is designed.
If you want to sell products in the United Kingdom have a look at the UK government website to see what regulations you need to comply with. They are free to download.
If the product falls under any of the regulations then you’ll need to have your product CE marked for sale in the Europe or UKCA marked for sale in the UK.
If it is not covered by any of the regulations on the government website then it must abide by the General Product Safety regulation 2005 (GPSR) but this one doesn’t need CE or UKCA marked. All the drawings, minutes from meetings and technical documents are kept on file ready to produce a technical file if needed for CE marking.
Go to the British standards website to find out what worldwide, European and UK standards your product might fall under. Some are voluntary others are legally required.
If you want to sell your product in the European Economic Area visit the European Economic Area website see if your product falls under any of the directives or regulations (free to download). If it does you must get it CE marked. View the harmonised standards here and the BSi shop to search for relevant standards.
One of the items on that list is the Ecodesign Directive (2009/125/EC). It covers the design of products that use energy (like dishwashers) or save energy (like loft insulation).
You will also need to comply with packaging and labelling directives, regulations, and standards.
If you are using any electronics make sure they are compliant with the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment legislation, and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances legislation.
Visit ISO to view worldwide management standards for quality, environmental, sustainability, medical design, and risk management etc.
Standards are complex and time consuming for product designers. The BSI and companies like Intertek offer consultancy advice and testing services.