What Is an Industrial Designer?
An industrial designer creates manufactured products such as cars, boats, housewares, computer hardware, sports equipment, consumer electronics, toys, theme park attractions, and medical devices. He or she combines art, business, and engineering knowledge to develop concepts for these manufactured items and then does research to learn how people will use them, how the manufacturer will market them, and what materials will make these products most functional.
Industrial designers typically specialize in a particular category such as automotive, marine, toys, or medical devices. Instead of going by the generic job title, they may be referred to by one related to their specialty. For example, an industrial designer who works with boats may be called a marine designer, one who creates toys may go by the title toy designer, and someone who develops medical devices is often referred to as a medical devices designer. Other job titles for this occupation include product designer, design engineer, product development engineer, and product engineer.
- Industrial designers earn a median annual salary of $65,970 (2017).
- This occupation employs 39,700 people (2016).
- Most people work for manufacturers. Under a fifth are self-employed.
- The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth that will be slower than the average for all occupations between 2016 and 2026, but industrial designers with training in two and three dimensional CADD (computer-aided design and drafting) and CAID (computer-aided industrial design) have a better job outlook.
A Day In an Industrial Designer's Life
Job announcements on Indeed.com listed the following job duties:
- "Continuously come up with new product designs"
- "Develop and iterate design intention through sketches, prototypes, renderings and communication with manufacturers"
- "Regularly present design work to category leaders"
- "Develop product from concept to factory production while adhering to budgets and timelines"
- "Identify suitable manufacturing partners, source components, and negotiate costs"
- "Advocate on behalf of new product throughout the entire design and production process from early stage concept illustration to sample creation and mass production"
- "Collaborate with marketing teams on on-site photo shoots, prepare for photo shoot style outs and ensure all key product shots are met as necessary"
How to Become an Industrial Designer
The educational requirements for this field are quite specific. Most employers prefer entry-level job candidates who have a bachelor's degree in industrial design. Some also hire people with degrees in architecture or engineering.
Take classes that will allow you to develop skills in graphic design, sketching, CADD (computer-aided design and drafting), and 3D modeling. Your coursework should also include marketing, manufacturing methods, and industrial materials and processes. Become proficient in using software such as Adobe Suite and Microsoft Office, as well as industry-specific programs like SolidWorks.
What Soft Skills Do Health Educator's Need?
Particular soft skills, abilities with which you were born or acquired through life experiences, will allow you to succeed at work:
- Creativity: Innovation is key to success in this field. You need the ability to come up with a steady stream of new ideas.
- Artistic Ability: Industrial designers use drawings to show their ideas. You must be able to produce sketches to share with your team and present to your superiors and clients.
- Verbal Communication: You will also have to discuss your concepts, often to large groups of people. If you suffer from a fear of public speaking, find a way to overcome it.
- Interpersonal Skills: A significant amount of time spent working on teams comprised of colleagues working in roles similar to yours, as well as in marketing, production, and sales, requires excellent people skills.
- Problem Solving: Industrial design involves identifying problems and developing products to solve them. It is also essential to be able to resolve issues that come up during the process of bringing a concept to life.
What Will Employers Expect From You?
Here are qualifications, other than technical skills and experience, employers are seeking, according to job announcements on Indeed.com:
- "Strong aesthetic sensibility and ability to visually and verbally communicate through sketches, renderings, and presentations"
- "Confident sharing your own ideas and taking initiative "
- "Superior follow-through and detail orientation"
- "Ability to identify trends and opportunities in the marketplace"
- "Good taste in form, color, and material"
- "A self-managing, motivated, and entrepreneurial nature"
Is This Career a Good Fit?
- Interests (Holland Code): AER (Artistic, Enterprising, Realistic)
- Personality Type (MBTI Personality Types): ESTJ, ESTP, ESFJ, ESFP, ENFJ, INFP, ENTJ, or INTJ
- Work-Related Values: Achievements, Relationships, Independence
Occupations With Related Activities and Tasks
|Description||Annual Salary (2017)||Educational Requirements|
|Fashion Designer||Creates clothing and accessories||$67,420||Associate or Bachelor's Degree in Fashion Design (Preferred but not Required)|
|Interior Designer||Develops living and commercial spaces that are functional and aesthetically pleasing||$51,500||Associate Degree, Certificate, or Bachelor's Degree in Interior Design|
|Communicates messages using visual elements||$48,700||Bachelor's Degree in Graphic Design|