It’s the Little Things that Count: Changes in Industrial-Designed Products that Have Made a Big Impact

While raw ideas can be incredibly exciting and the start of something great, they often need a lot of refining before they reach their peak. Inventions are constantly revolutionizing the way we live, so let’s take a look at small changes to industrial-designed products that have made a big impact.

Rubber wheels

The wheel may seem like a humble or primitive invention compared to the technologically advanced gadgets of today, but this simple mechanism has played a crucial role in society for thousands of years. The wheel-axle combination was nothing short of genius, leading to the first forms of transportation. Nowadays we take wheels for granted, so it’s the more ‘modernistic’ twists that excite a contemporary audience.

Rubber wheels, for instance, are a world away from the wooden wheels used on chariots. As well as being the perfect fit for cars and other high-tech vehicles, they can also be used for trollies, hospital beds, wheelchairs and other inventions allowing for smooth, silent transportation of people and goods. Doctors can now wheel patients down corridors without waking up everyone on the ward, for instance, and shop owners can take deliveries at night without disturbing local residents.


Velcro is the brainchild of Georges de Mestral, a Swiss engineer who invented the hook and loop concept which many of us now can’t live without. Formally patented in 1944, Velcro branded products have changed the world in many ways, making it easier for children to put on shoes that don’t require laces and offering a new way to fasten coats and other types of clothing. What’s more, Velcro got a significant image boost in the early 1960s from NASA when Apollo astronauts used it to secure items such as pens and food equipment that they didn’t want floating away.

This infographic of how astronauts use Velcro in space – including on their spacesuits – perfectly highlights how such a simple idea can have a big impact on certain industries.

Heinz Ketchup upside down bottle

Ketchup has always been a favorite amongst sauce lovers, but people were often left frustrated by how hard it was to get the last bits of sauce out the bottom, resorting to shaking the bottle like crazy or sticking a knife in to try and get their money’s worth. Customer grievances led Heinz to flip the bottle upside down in order to make the whole process much easier. Complete with a vacuum cap that prevents crustiness from forming round the lid and easy-squeeze functionalities, this bottle changed the food industry for the better with Heinz reporting a sales increase of six per cent just a year after the ketchup bottle’s redesign.

Small changes to popular products can make a big difference to the lives of consumer, which is why it’s not surprising to see old ideas given an innovative facelift from time to time. Not only does it promote the initial product once again, regenerating interest, but it helps keep the brand and product fresh and current. After all – it’s the little things that count, right?

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