Advertising is any form of product promotion with the specific intention of selling products. In the UK it is governed by the Advertising Standards Authority
Aerodynamic styling - design using forms derived from the science of aerodynamics, the study of solid bodies moving through the air. Most modern cars incorporate aerodynamic design. Also a styling technique used to denote modernity, speed and progress, very evident in Art Deco designs of the 1930s and in American cars of the 1950s. See also streamlining/Starke
Aesthetics - a term used to describe those aspects of design that are not primarily functional but instead appeal to the senses and are concerned with making an object attractive to the user. Derives from a branch of philosophy dealing with theories of beauty and artistic merit.
American National Standards Institute is like the BSI in that it provides set standards for a huge range of products. ANSI as it is called is however voluntary.
Anthropomorphics/anthropometrics - study of the dimensions of the human body, including arm and leg reach. Based on averages derived from measurement of large numbers of people. Essential to the design and development of products which fit to the body, for example chairs and airline seats. See also ergonomics and human factors. Visit the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) site to obtain a copy of their database books for young, adult and older people.
Artcam - a 3D design software package available from the D&TA. This software is available to schools through the CAD/CAM initiative. It enables the user to produce images, import and modify digital images and then via its partner software, minicam, engrave through 3 axis machines the developed image.
Audit - term used in the design profession to describe the process of examining and evaluating the products or designs of a particular market or sector. Also known as a 'competitive analysis'. In Better by Design, Seymour Powell begin some projects with a design audit of existing products. See also Product Evaluation.
Alessi - a very influential designer/organisation and company using the top designers to produce and retail a varied selection of products. Alessi
Bad design - we are surrounded by bad design, we know it when we see it but can we avoid the same mistakes? Good design comes from understanding. Understanding the users needs, wants and desires for the product- the situation and conditions in which the product will work. These key things are usually laid out in the specification or brief. Here is a web site that highlights bad design
Brainstorm - process used by designers - and others - to generate new ideas in a team environment using creativity techniques. Sometimes called a 'creative workshop'. Brief - short, concise description of the aims and objectives of the design project, in professional terms it forms the basis of the relationship between the designer and client. British Standards Institute (BSI) is the UK's standards organisation setting legal and guideline standards for every imaginable product. A vital site to visit when designing your product.
Business - design for business means using design skills to develop new products, expand markets, attract customers and enable producers to make profits. For products to be successful good business skills are essential.
CAD - Computer-Aided Drawing or Computer-Aided Design. Describes a process by which products are drawn and modelled in three dimensions on computer. Linked to computer-aided manufacture, which uses computer-generated drawings to aid the process of production. See the CAD/CAM in schools site for more information.
Ceramics - one of the oldest materials used by man, yet now fast becoming one of the most advanced made up of exotic mixtures of powdered materials 'sintered' to form materials with amazing properties. This group of materials is increasingly used in engineering.
Classic - widely used to describe a design that has transcended the taste and fashion of its time to take on a timeless quality. Design classics include the VW Beetle and the Macintosh iMac computer.
Clients and Client groups - the client is a customer who is involved in the development of the design or for whom the design is intended. They may have defined the brief or helped clarify the specification. A client group is a group of people who have similar needs or expectations from a product.
Colour - the interaction between the way our eyes work and the way light falls on objects creates the phenomenon of colour. We are capable of distinguishing between 10 million nuances of colour, although there are only 11 basic colour terms in the English language - black, white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown and grey. Since the 17th century, scientists and artists alike have recognised that colour is important in designing and selling products.
Concept - literally, an object conceived by the mind. In design, it is the over-arching idea behind a new product.
Concurrent Engineering - a way of organising and managing the development of a product. CE tends to rely on ICT and communication between contributing designers or teams of designers. Usually one person manages the central data base of design and manufacturing information.
Consecutive Engineering - the passing of design and manufacturing information down a sequence of interested contributors to the design and making process without consultation. Usually ends in disaster as communication is vital if a product is to be developed successfully.
Consumers - the people at whom new products and services are targeted. The concept of consumers and consumerism has supplanted the idea of customers, who traditionally bought things in shops.
Constraint - the restrictions or limiting factors in a design process or project. The most common constraint facing Seymour Powell was cost and complexity of manufacture. Legal restrictions and market resistance to new and different products are also typical constraints.
Contemporary - term used loosely to describe current or very recent design style. 'Modern design' refers to a particular historic period in design from the 1920s to the 1970s - and to a particular austere, minimalist, unadorned style.
Continuous improvement - is when the question 'there must be a better way' is asked in relation to a product or a process. Go on, try asking the key question that starts the mind working! Any process where a company looks for improvement in products or services on a systematic basis is using a CI system. Referred to as Kaizen by the Japanese.
Corporate Identity - the image that a company projects or likes to project to consumers and the public. Corporate image is a very valuable asset and companies work hard to foster them. Many companies specialise in the development of corporate identity.
Costs - the costs involved in making and marketing a product are a key factor in the decisions the designer makes during development. See constraint.
Critical path analysis - is when a process is broken down into sequences and steps. This helps simplify the overall process when developing improvement strategies.
The Design and Technology Association is the professional association of Design and Technology teachers and incorporates NATHE The National Association Of Teachers of Home Economics.
Design - the word comes from the Italian 'disegno', which since the Renaissance has meant the drafting and drawing of a work and, beyond that, the idea at the root of a work.
Design consultant - external design expert brought in by companies to advise on aspects of design and development.
Design Council - founded in 1944, the Design Council strives to promote the effective use of design in business, in education and in government. Its purpose is 'to inspire the best use of design by the UK, in the world context, to improve prosperity and well-being'. Funded through a grant from the Department of Trade and Industry.
Design for disassembly (DFD) - when a product is specifically developed to enable disassembly for recycling purposes. Particularly important when a complex range of plastics is used in a product.
Detailing - in design, detailing refers to finalising the particulars of a product, including finishes, mechanisms and controls. Attention to detail is important in the design process. As the German architect Mies van der Rohe once said: 'God is in the details'. This is however often quoted as 'the devil is in the detail'!
Drawing - the act of capturing on paper an idea for a product is vital to the art of designing. Designers are constantly sketching their ideas, producing a visual record of the ideas they have thought of. 'isometric' drawings are types of drawing, widely used in design and architecture, which show three-dimensional relationships while retaining proportions. See also sketch and graphics
Durability - the design quality of lasting longer without deterioration or loss of performance, which many consumer products need to achieve. See also obsolescence
Earl, Harley - Harley Earl was born in California in 1893 and is widely regarded as one of the first stylists of cars. He worked for General Motors from the 1920 through to the 1950 and was responsible for some of the most distinct designs of that time.
Economy - the frugal and judicious use of resources, whether financial or material, in order to develop a product which achieves its objectives.
Ergonomics - study of the relationship between products and their users, focusing on physical comfort and ease of use. Ergonomics plays a vital role in, for example, the design of a shopping trolley. See also anthropomorphics and human factors.
Experience - knowledge gained from trial or observation. This knowledge breaks down into information that can be used in the design process, or insights that result from people using a design. Designers refer regularly to the 'user experience' or 'consumer experience' during development.
Engineering design - describes the technical workings of a three-dimensional object, rather than its aesthetic or user-oriented aspects. Relates to the function and manufacture of the object.
Feasibility - the study of how feasible a product, proposal or operation is, the study will consider all the problems and befits of taking a route or course of action. Really just a form of evaluation but done before the product is made or manufactured.
Feedback - essential part of the design process through which comments and evaluations of the product under development are incorporated by the designer into the design. Also used to describe the process by which a system gains information from its output or process elements enabling it to modify its process or response to an input. See also Client/Client groups.
Feel - perception caused by the act of touching. In design, the feel of a product in contact with the user is important to market acceptance. See also tactile and market.
Finishes - materials are usually 'finished'. A finish may be applied to a materials to change its appearance, to change the surface properties, or to protect it from wear or degradation. Some materials are finished during manufacture or require do additional finishing - plastics are an example of this.
Fitness for purpose - describes the match between a product and its intended use, how well it meets the needs of the user. In essence how well the designer has devised the specification and met it with the ideas they have developed. Neither a shopping trolley which is impossible to control or a life-jacket which is difficult to put on are fit for their respective purposes. See also function.
Flexibility - relates to materials which are pliable, bendy or able to move when a force is applied. You also may see the term used to suggest the ability of a designer to respond readily to new and changing information during the design process.
Flow charts - a method of organising work to show sequences or types of operations that are intended or needed, a series of symbols are often used. Click here for more information.
FMEA failure modes and effects analysis - used when testing a product, testers look for how a product failed, why and the affects that type of failure has on the customer. Clearly safety issues are the major consideration. Continuous improvement is often best achieve through an understanding of why past products failed. See also iterative design.
Form - describes the physical three-dimensional reality of a product. Means primarily the shape and structure of a product, but also incorporates material, colour, texture and decorative feature. See also shape.
Function - the uses to which an object can be put. Functionalism is a design doctrine which gives primary importance to the uses of the product. The rallying cry of the functionalists is 'form follows function'. In other words, the product must serve its practical purpose above any aesthetic considerations. See also fitness for purpose. Click here for how stuff works.
Gantt charts - a graphical chart that shows tasks and time allocations. A vital tool for planning the overall strategy for a project. Click here for further details and examples. Click here to download a 30 day free pack of software.
Geometry - a branch of mathematics dealing with the properties and relations of lines, angles, surfaces and solids. Widely used in design to work out the inner workings of product mechanisms, for example, in developing a pedal-operated kitchen bin.
Graphics - the art of visual communication using any appropriate medium. You will need to master the skills of this area of the subject if you are to succeed in communicating your ideas, thinking and proposals with your teacher, the exam board or a client. Click here for more info.
Golden section - also known as the 'golden ratio', this is a mathematical concept dating back to the Ancient Greeks and used to generate forms of high aesthetic quality. It featured in the design of the pyramids at Giza, the Parthenon in Athens and many medieval cathedrals.
Good design - term to describe excellence in the relationship between the function and form of an object. Good design remains a term of praise but also an elusive concept as there is no common agreement on what makes 'good design'. See also Bad design
Handcraft- the use of hand skills in making or finishing a product, for example wood turning, carving, jewellery, sewing or painting. This remains a key feature of design despite advances in automation of manufacture. This principle formed the basis of the Arts and Craft movement.
High-tech. - a term invented originally to describe a type of modern architecture using industrial forms and materials. Both Norman Foster and Richard Rogers typify this style in buildings. Now describes any product which sets out to look technologically advanced and sophisticated or might use advanced electronic, control systems or materials to enhance its performance or appearance.
Historicist - term used in design theory and criticism to describe a design which directly imitates or bases its character on the design of a much earlier period. Newly-built Victorian-style cottages would be an example.
Human factors - American term for the way human users relate to designed objects. This relies on the principal that if humans are using the product or object it should be scaled and proportioned accordingly. See also inclusive design, ergonomics and anthropomorphics/anthropometrics
Ideas - literally, images in the mind or objects of thought. Designers are widely recognised as having the ability to turn ideas into visual artefact, a picture or model that can be seen and understood by others - a key factor in developing new products. See also concept.
Identity - a term which describes the overriding and special visual character of a product, it's looks. Corporate identity refers to elements that bring consistency and unity to all visual manifestations of a company's activities, for example company logos, letterheads and packaging, in other words the style and image a company uses, its look. Sometimes used to refer to a style or feature of a design.
Images - the term used to describe pictures or other representations of and object. You should use these to convey, clarify and communicate ideas with others. They are not the only method of sharing ideas with others though, models and computer generated images are also just as valid, if it works use it!
Inclusive design - refers to the need to meet the needs of as many users and user groups as possible including disabilities and those with special needs. UN Enable has information that will assist you in the development of design for all capabilities. See Designing Everyone In Primary and Secondary downloadable materials which address inclusivity at Key Stages 2 and 3.
Industrial design - most widely used term to describe the design of objects for production on an industrial scale. Designing for and with industry is a very valuable experience working to briefs and specifications set by others. Visit this web site to get an overview.
Innovation - the act of introducing new thinking or new features. In product design, innovation is an important issue for manufacturers who are seeking to develop new products and services. Designers are widely recognised as being able to 'unlock innovation'.
Inventors - people with the ability to devise, concoct or produce something new. Often confused with designers, inventors are primarily concerned about the contrivance of things that didn't exist before, whereas designers have a broader role in creating the relationship between the object and the user. See for example Trevor Baylis or look at the Institute of Patentees and Inventors http://www.invent.org.uk/ and the patents office at http://www.ipo.gov.uk/
Investment - the act of laying out money in anticipation of getting a return at a later date. The scale and cost of investment required of a manufacturer in order to make a new product is a key factor in whether the design is accepted. See also costs and constraint.
Iterative design - when a design is developed small changes may make big differences to the performance of the product. Iterative design is the act of modifying elements of the product step by step, recording performance changes, to ensure the very best performance is achieved.
Just in Time (JIT) - term used in manufacturing to describe a system in which goods are made and delivered to order rather than held in stock in a warehouse. Often linked to computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacture.
Justification - your way of checking your design proposals against the specification, ask: Can I justify the form, action style and function of my proposal as meeting the needs of the brief and the requirements of the specification?
Kitsch - used in design to describe items that are deliberately tasteless, gross or foolish. Kitsch is not necessarily a term of abuse and there is a strong consumer liking for certain kitsch items. As in good design, there is no common agreement on what makes an object kitsch. Look at Memphis style and you may see what this term refers to, many people find the style 'kitsch' - others 'classic' works. Click here for more. and more still
Latent needs - when a designer develops a product that you didn't know you needed until you saw it then they have found a latent need. For example, the Walkman from Sony opened up a whole market for personal music systems that did not exist until then.
Lateral thinking - a process of making connections in your mind, just by considering "what will happen if I....?" is a step towards lateral thinking and the development of better ideas.
Life cycle assessment - when a products life, use and final disposal are considered during the early stages of design development.
Lightness - giving an object consumer appeal by making it less heavy-looking. Achieved by consideration of colour, material, shape and finish.
Market - broadly describes the buying and selling of products. Takes its name from the age-old tradition of buyers and sellers gathering in one place, the marketplace, to trade. Today, the market is much more complex and carried out in many different locations and conditions, but is still essentially concerned with matching sellers to buyers, and vice versa.
Marketing - a business discipline that facilitates the introduction of products into the market, integrating such aspects as pricing, promotion, distribution and sales. Design works very closely with marketing in the new product development process.
Mass production - method of production in which large numbers of identical items are made using mechanised techniques.
Metals - one of the major families of materials available for the designer to use. The range of types and their properties make them invaluable.
Mock-up - a rough model, usually full-size, built during design development to check sizes, and basic layout. Can be tried with the user but will not be fully detailed or finished. Maquette is the term artists often use to describe a model or prototype.
Model making - turning a plan or design into a three-dimensional object that can be viewed and used. Vital to enable the designers to take their ideas for new products to manufacturers and clients models enable you to refine major design issues and are vital in any coursework project. See also prototype.
Modernism - enduring 20th-century style in design characterised by simplicity of form, absence of ornament and emphasis on function. Related to Minimalism, which strives for simplification and reduction of complexity. Post-Modernism in design refers to a backlash against Modernism and the reintroduction of decoration, often based on historical styles.
Natural - in harmony with nature. In design, this relates to ease of use and refers to work which is consistent with our understanding of the world and is not artificial or jarring in construct.
Negatives - reasons to deny, oppose or reject an idea. In creative development of a new product, Seymour Powell argue that all ideas are valid and negatives should be avoided. See also brainstorming.
Novelty - a new or different thing. By changing and reformulating what already exists, all design activity is engaged in novelty. The question is how novel should a new design be and how much - or how little - should it relate to what has gone before? Too much novelty could mean that a new design is too strange and unfamiliar for consumers to accept.
Obsolescence - the process by which products become out of date and unusable over time . This concept lies at the heart of a moral debate about design and consumerism. Since planned obsolescence was first developed in US industry in the 1950s in order to encourage consumer spending, there has been a backlash on environmental grounds. See also durability and recycling.
Older people - the ageing population is a growing challenge for designers. By 2020, 50% of Europe's adult population will be aged 50 and over. This profound demographic shift has practical design implications in terms of developing easy-to-use products - from kitchen bins to security alarms - for older people with frailties and disabilities. See also Inclusive design.
Order - the arrangement of properly organised and well-understood elements, with the editing out of all extraneous material, in order to meet a purpose is one of the principal functions of design. As the American designer Buckminster Fuller once said: 'The opposite of design is chaos.'
Organic - a design term which is used to describe any form which derives its characteristics from animals or nature. The work of John Makepeace typifies this style in his development of furniture.
Patents are the legal method used to stop somebody copying or using your idea without your permission or consent. You can secure the rights to an idea and then sell those rights if you cannot afford to manufacture the idea yourself. This can be expensive but you can secure your idea for a year for free.
Perspective - the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a flat surface so that they appear as if in their natural dimensions. Single point, two point and even three point perspective may be used to present ideas, a template or grid is usually used though measured perspective using T square and drawing board can be used.
Plastics - one of the most used material families- often referred to as polymers.
Practicality - term that refers to design solutions which work in practice and use, not just in theory. This is a key term in your specification and should most certainly be reviewed in any evaluation. It is often best to get the views of others when judging the practicality of an idea.
Pricing - the value which a seller sets on his or her goods - and a key factor in ensuring that new products or services are accepted by the market. Many manufacturers have price points - maximum prices - for certain products above which they will not go. The value which a seller sets on his or her goods - and a key factor in ensuring that new products or services are accepted by the market. Many manufacturers have price points - maximum prices - for certain products above which they will not go. See also costings.
Product design - a term widely used to describe design for production, for example designing for either batch or flow production methods. Your GCSE and A level courses are called Product design for a good reason, you will be called upon to consider the production methods used if you were to manufacture your idea. At a more practical level it means that you should consider production as you design not when you have concluded developing your ideas. A final handmade model of the product which is as close as possible in appearance and function to the final item, enabling consumer testing to be carried out. See also model making. Your syllabus or exam specification may now be called this and by implication it refers to the development of designs that could be manufactured, thus considerations of production processes need to be made during the design process.
Prototype - often a final handmade model of the product which is as close as possible in appearance and function to the final item, enabling consumer testing to be carried out .Modern technology enables Rapid Prototype techniques to be used, these rely on computer images being manufactured through CAM type technologies- See also Rapid Prototype and model making.
Properties - materials. A designer has to select materials for use in a product. This is usually done on the basis of their properties, cost and the manufacturing techniques available.
Practicality - a term that refers to design solutions which work in practice and use, not just in theory.
Quality - in design, a characteristic which denotes distinction and a degree of excellence. Developing a quality product is a central preoccupation in designing. In design, a characteristic which denotes distinction and a degree of excellence. Developing a quality product is a central preoccupation in all design activity. Quality Assurance is a technique used in manufacturing when the product is checked at each stage of manufacture. Quality Control relies upon control checks at the end of the production cycle. Many companies use both techniques to ensure the customer gets the very best quality product.
Quality assurance - the process of checking product quality at each stage of the production process, this is usually done by sample in the case of large production runs.
Quality control - the process of checking quality at the end of the production cycle, often by sample but more likely a test to ensure function or performance is met.
Questions - at the start of any design project, a process of fundamental interrogation and inquiry enables designers to understand the context of the project and formulate the brief. You need to establish a research agenda in you quest for relevant information, this can be done through writing a series of questions.
Questionnaire - a valuable method of finding out what client groups are expecting in a product or a tool to establish the quality of a design, your public will always be your best critics!
Rationalism - a branch of Modernism which makes the most economical use of materials, space and visual elements. See also economy and Modernism. Rationalisation is a technique when the idea is striped down to its bare essentials, making it simple to understand the underlying ideas or functions of an idea.
Recycling - the process of reusing materials. In product sectors such as house wares, the recycling of plastics is a growing trend. See also obsolescence. Codes to identify plastic types are now common on many consumable and durable products.
Research & Development (R&D) - corporate term used to describe the overall process of introducing new products. Most manufacturers have R&D departments responsible for product development and for liaising with external design consultants.
Retro - a stylistic term used to describe either popular re-editions of designs from the 1950s and the 1960s, or new designs which are based on the visual characteristics of those decades. See also style.
Rigidity - describes materials which are stiff and non-pliable. Degrees of rigidity are important in consideration of products which are worn on the human body, for example a life-jacket. See also stiffness.
Royal College of Art - the art school in South Kensington, London, where renowned designers Richard Seymour, Dick Powell and James Dyson trained. Originally founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design, this is THE place to study all areas design.
Scepticism - doubt, disbelief and incredulity on the part of manufacturers that design can create a better product solution than the one that exists. Scepticism is one of the major hurdles that any new product or idea has to overcome. See also constraints.
Sketch - a rough outline on paper which gives the main points of a design. For sketching with pencils, crayons and marker pens is an integral part of the design process. See also Drawing Shape - outline form or moulding of a product.
Shape - sometimes gives a product its definitive identity, for example the Jif Lemon or the Coca-Cola bottle See also form.
Stability - design quality in an object that encourages equilibrium and discourages unwanted movement. Essential in such items as a fully-loaded shopping trolley.
Starck - Philippe Starck is on of the most prolific and influential designers alive. He has an extensive portfolio of products which includes products from restaurants to motorbikes. Click here to visit his web site.
Streamlining - term for design work which uses tapered aerodynamic forms to suggest the idea of speed and modernity. Streamlining was first applied to moving objects such as cars and trains, later to static items. See also aerodynamic styling.
Styling - term derived from the US automobile industry to describe the process of making the surface appearance of an industrial product new or fashionable after the internal mechanisms have been designed. The essentially cosmetic concerns of industrial styling have been contrasted with the more functional values of industrial design.
Style - a theme, shape, form, material or philosophy of form or function that is used through a range of products by one designer or used by a group of designers in their work. For example. Art Deco, Shaker, Arts and Crafts.
Strategic Design - design which is developed specifically in the context of a broader commercial plan, rather than in isolation from it. Studio - originally the workplace of a sculptor or painter, the design studio is the place where creativity is applied to commercial projects.
Symmetry - balance achieved by placing identical elements on either side of an axis. Symmetry has traditionally been an important aesthetic consideration.
Tactile - design quality related to the sense of touch. Regarded as important in giving new products consumer appeal and often dependent on choice of texture - the grain or particular characteristic of a solid material. See also feel.
Technology transfer - process by which the industrial application of technology is transferred from one field to another. For example transferring the technology of central-locking car alarms to home security or the use of Teflon designed for spacecraft to saucepans to provide a non stick surface.
Template - pattern or tracing guide used in design process to transfer a shape to a drawing or a drawing onto a material.
Testing - process of trialling and 'proving' a product to evaluate its functional performance, often carried out in controlled conditions on a test-rig.
Tooling - the process of commissioning and setting up machines in the factory to manufacture a new design. The cost of tooling is a key factor in the decision whether to put a new item into production. See also constraints.
Trademark - graphic device legally registered as an identifying symbol of a product or company. See also identity and corporate image.
Unity - the idea that the individual parts of any designed object should relate to each other and make up a single, comprehensible whole. Consistency of details, colours and finishes are important in this aspect.
Urbanisation - term that describes the process of rapidly developing towns and cities, which in the early decades of the 20th century placed new demands on the skills of industrial designers.
User needs - the requirements of the person who uses and experiences the product are a key focus in designing. User needs are typically analysed in the early stages of a project and user benefits matched against development of new product features.
Utility - in design, a state or quality of usefulness. Also refers to unadorned British furnishings produced in the 1940s as part of the war economy. See also function.
Vernacular - design term used to describe a design style of local origins, often developed anonymously through craft traditions, local materials or needs of the area. The advent of mass manufacturing techniques wiped out much vernacular design.
Viability - term used in industry to assess whether a project is worth undertaking financially. Making a new product viable is a key challenge for designers.
Visual perception - the way the human eyes and brain see, interpret and understand observed reality - an important field of study for designers. 'Visual' is a loose term for a two-dimensional representation of a design to be shown to clients.
Virtual reality - three dimensional images generated by a computer that give the impression of reality. This is a really superb way of presenting and idea and' living the idea' to see if it works. You may see VRML files on a computer, there are Virtual reality Modelling language files that enable a viewer to visualise the object in 3D.
Validity - is an idea a feasible proposition, is the proposal a valid one, this term is used to describe the process of checking an idea against the specification and ensuring its manufacture or construction is possible.
Workshop - place where fabrication, craftwork and model making are carried out in the development of a product. Relates to workmanship: the skill, dexterity and craft of making an object.
Generation X - a group of young consumers (originally defined as having been born between 1960 and 1980) who have been identified as having very different tastes, needs and wants from their elders.
X Factor - a term used to describe the impact a product may or may not have. The X factor should distinguish a product from the competition either by its looks or its function. In other words a great design! This can be rather subjective - I may, you may not!
Yardstick - any measure by which the relative success of a new design can be judged.
Zenith - literally, the highest point. The objective for any design project.
Zeitgeist - a term used to explain the spiritual value of a product, the sense of well being from owning, using or seeing a well considered product.