'Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.'

Charles Eames

'To design is to communicate clearly by whatever means you can control or master.'
Milton Glaser


ACCESS FM is a designers tool used to make you think about products in a critical and analytical way. You need to think about each aspect and use the aspect to think about questions to ask yourself.



Does the product look attractive? THINK shape, form, materials, size, beauty, ugliness

Why does it look attractive or ugly?

Does it make good use of colour and texture?

Does it have a quality finish?

Where did the designer get his or her inspiration for the design?



What is the estimated cost of production?

What is the retail cost? Why does it cost this much?

What is the relationship between the two?

Is the product affordable?

Does it seem good value for money?

Does the price reflect any social or moral considerations (e.g. Fair Trade)?



Who is the product designed for?

How and where would they use it?

What impact does it have on the customer’s quality of life?

Does it add value to the client’s way of life?

How is the product promoted to attract its customer?



What is the product’s impact on the environment? THINK batteries, rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, life cycle.

THINK about its manufacture, general use, distribution and final disposal when it is no longer needed.



How has the designer considered safety issues when designing the product?

THINK about the way the product is used and how different parts have been joined together.

Does the product meet recognised safety standards?



What size is it? THINK in millimetres and any thing else that can be measured e.g. volts, weight, area, volume, density etc.

Is the product comfortable to use? THINK anthropometrics or ergonomics.

Are its proportions appropriate for its use?

If you increased or decreased the product’s scale, would it work or look better?

To what extent has the designer considered human factors (ergonomics) in the product’s design? 



How well does the product work?

Why does it work this way?

How could it be improved?

How easy is it to use?



How are you planning to make / model your prototype?

How will you manufacturre your final prototype and kep a track of changes and developments?

Write a plan for mass manufacture.

Write a prouction schedule.


Ref: ACCESSFM Copyright © 1999, Spencer Herbert. All rights reserved.

Used here with permission from Spencer Herbert. Please use the buttons below to find out more about Spencers work. 

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© Julian Kupper