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Durability

Making a product last for longer can have positive impacts on the environmental impact of a product and enhance brand value.  However not all products should be as durable as they are e.g. most plastic carrier bags are far more durable than they need to be. 

Once you have identified that durability is an appropriate strategy for the product you are developing consider the following:

  1. Select materials carefully: 
    • specify strong materials which can resist wear and withstand prolonged use 
    • use materials and finishes which do not damage easily
  2. Ensure the product is manufactured to a high quality
  3. Consider whether there is a way that the product can be designed to be more easily reused in the second hand market
  4. Consider how you can establish an emotional attachment between the user and the product so that they value it and do not want to discard it.  This can be achieved by:
    • making the product indispensible, unique or prestigious
    • allowing users to make their product individual and personal to them
    • drawing on 'heritage' and 'craftsmanship' to give the product a sense of added value

© Vicky Lofthouse, January 2006

For More Information

For more information on extending product life spans visit the Network on Product Life Spans website: http://extra.shu.ac.uk/productlife/

For more information on emotional durability for extended product life read:

Chapman. J (2005) 'Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences and Empathy' Earthscan Publications Ltd, UK

Van Hinte, E. (ed.) (1997) 'Eternally Yours: Visions on Product Endurance', 010 Publishers, Rotterdam, pp. 101-115.