Influence of Stakeholders on Industrial Design Materials and Manufacturing Selection


INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DESIGN, vol.3, no.1, pp.1-15, 2009 (SCI-Expanded) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 3 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, ABI/INFORM, Applied Science & Technology Source, Art Abstracts, Art Index, Art Source, Computer & Applied Sciences, Design & Applied Arts Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-15
  • Keywords: Industrial Design, Materials Selection, Manufacturing, Decision-Making, Education, INNOVATION
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Surprisingly little is reported on the pragmatic influence of project stakeholders on industrial designers' selection of product materials and manufacturing processes. This paper reports on a descriptive scoping study that revealed these influences as critical in making effective selection decisions. Using interview and case study methods, the study elicited the professional practices of industrial designers. These are analysed in the paper, leading to the formation of a four-way stakeholder description of materials and manufacturing selection in industrial design, spanning: users, clients, manufacturers/vendors and designers/design team members. The practical influence of each stakeholder on materials and manufacturing decisions is discussed. With clients excepted, under most circumstances the flow of activity is initially from designer-to-stakeholder, rather than stakeholder-to-designer. Crucially, the paper establishes creativity in the selection of product materials and manufacturing processes as cleverly attending to stakeholder influences, and distinctly not to unconstrained freethinking or self-centred decision-making. The paper reviews professional boundaries of responsibility and approach to materials and manufacturing, identifying industrial design as a fusion of designer-maker and design engineer perspectives. Industrial designers commonly view materials as a contribution to a product's user interface, with an associated effect on users' experiences of product utility and supra-functionality.