Product design should include a solid understanding of the consumer base from day 1, though often, in the creative industries especially, this is not the case. In writing, most people tend to start with the idea of a story (or they just start typing until it develops into one) and just write until the story is complete, before even thinking about who is going to read it. I know that publishers offer advances to some writers, so logically those writers do envision at least one particular customer, the publisher, and it’s the publisher’s job to understand what consumers want. 

But what when this model is uprooted? We all know that as the digital age progresses and the hardware and infrastructure catches up, it allows for the link between producer and consumer to be that much more direct, which allows for speedy and accurate information exchanges, as well as, potentially, direct monetary exchanges, bypassing many of the intermediaries that charge fees and make the feedback loop less efficient. 

Product design should also be flexible in what that product should be. My title of designing books is already misleading, because if your consumer doesn’t actually want a book, the product itself has to change in order to maximise its effectiveness. I mentioned some examples 3 or 4 posts ago, where books are for a particular demographic of consumers; other demographics may prefer shorted serialised content, content in audio or video format, etc. A direct link (or basically a sufficiently information rich one) allows for producers in designing products that consumers want, by engaging in the information exchanges necessary to create sustainable business. 

The next question that arises is that of usable workflows to manage both the creative process and marketing one, preferably without having one eclipse the other.