As a freelance product designer differentiation is as important for your business as for the products you design.
In search for my company mission and vision I found 6 product attributes I consider key in my design philosophy. Below an elaboration on the first one:
Simplicity, for me, relates to both aesthetics as well as to the use of a product. I think for example a lot of high-tech IT products get a very simple and slick appearance. But this does not mean they are necessarily simple to use. On the other hand, if a product is very simple to use but no visual use cues are provided or its purpose is not communicated through the shape or appearance then will the user ever get to using the product?
A wonderful example of simplicity in design is the Swedish Torch. The easiest way to carry and light a little campfire.
Swedish fire log by Arthur Atkinson
To me this product shows what it does and what to do with it. Also, this is a brilliant example where people might say: "Why can't I just make this myself instead of buying it?". In most of these situations you have to ask how many people will or can go through the bother of finding a chainsaw, a tree and drying kiln to actually make their own version of this product instead of buying it. Even with access to both saws and firewood, I probably wouldn't bother myself either.