An industrial designer develops the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, electronics, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. They work in offices in a variety of industries. Although they design manufactured products, only about 29% of industrial designers are employed directly by manufacturers.
An industrial designer will typically do the following:
Industrial designers generally focus on a particular product category. For example, some design medical equipment, while others work on consumer electronics products, such as computers or smart phones. Other designers develop ideas for new bicycles, furniture, housewares, or snowboards. They imagine how consumers might use a product and test different designs with consumers to see how each design looks and works.
Industrial designers often work with engineers, production experts, and marketing specialists to find out if their designs are feasible and to apply their colleagues’ professional expertise to their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with marketing specialists to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.
Computers are a major tool for industrial designers. They use computer-aided design software (CAD) to sketch ideas because computers make it easy to make changes and show alternatives. If they work for manufacturers, they may also use computer-aided industrial design software (CAID) to create specific machine-readable instructions that tell other machines exactly how to build the product.
Would you make a good industrial designer? Sokanu's free assessment reveals how compatible you are with a career across 5 dimensions!Take the free career test
Work spaces for industrial designers often include drafting tables for sketching designs, meeting rooms with whiteboards for brainstorming with colleagues, and computers and other office equipment for preparing designs and communicating with clients. Although they work primarily in offices, they may travel to testing facilities, design centres, client's exhibit sites, users' homes or workplaces, and places where the product is manufactured. Most industrial designers work full time, especially if they are employed by manufacturers, large corporations, or design firms.
Many industrial designers are self-employed or work for firms that hire them out to other organizations that need industrial design services. In these cases, industrial designers frequently adjust their workday to meet with clients in the evenings or on weekends. In addition, they may spend some of their time looking for new projects or competing with other designers for contracts.