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Become An Industrial Designer

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Working As An Industrial Designer

  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Getting Information
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • $47,971

    Average Salary

What Does An Industrial Designer Do

Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and the usability of products when developing new product concepts.

Duties

Industrial designers typically do the following:

  • Consult with clients to determine requirements for designs
  • Research the various ways a particular product might be used, and who will use it
  • Sketch out ideas or create renderings, which are images on paper or on a computer that provide a better visual of design ideas
  • Use computer software to develop virtual models of different designs
  • Create physical prototypes of their designs
  • Examine materials and manufacturing requirements to determine production costs
  • Work with other specialists such as mechanical engineers or manufacturers to evaluate whether their design concepts will fill needs at a reasonable cost
  • Evaluate product safety, appearance, and function to determine if a design is practical
  • Present designs and demonstrate prototypes to clients for approval

Some industrial designers focus on a particular product category. For example, some design medical equipment, or work on consumer electronics products, such as computers and smart phones. Other designers develop ideas for other products such as new bicycles, furniture, housewares, and snowboards. Self-employed designers have more flexibility in the product categories they work on. Designers who work for manufacturers help create the look and feel of a brand through their designs.

Industrial designers 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 market research analysts to find out if their designs are feasible. They apply the input from their colleagues’ professional expertise to further develop their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with market research analysts to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.

Computers are a major tool for industrial designers. They use two-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software to sketch ideas, because computers make it easy to make changes and show alternatives. Three-dimensional CAD software is increasingly being used by industrial designers as a tool to transform their two-dimensional designs into models with the help of three-dimensional printers. If they work for manufacturers, they also may use computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software to create specific machine-readable instructions that tell other machines exactly how to build the product.

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How To Become An Industrial Designer

A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. It is also important for industrial designers to have an electronic portfolio with examples of their best design projects.

Education

A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. Most industrial design programs include courses that industrial designers need in design: drawing, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and three-dimensional modeling. Most programs will also include courses in business, industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods that industrial designers need when developing their design.

The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits approximately 320 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Many schools require successful completion of some basic art and design courses before entry into a bachelor’s degree program. Applicants also may need to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.

Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs by collecting examples of their designs from classroom projects, internships, or other experiences. Students can use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on contracts for work.

Some designers have a Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) degree which helps further develop a designer’s business skills. These skills help designers understand how to fit their designs to meet the cost limitations a firm may have for the production of a given product.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Industrial designers use logic or reasoning skills to study consumers and recognize the need for new products.

Artistic ability. Industrial designers sketch their initial design ideas, which are used later to create prototypes. As such, designers must be able to express their design through illustration.

Computer skills. Industrial designers use computer-aided design software to develop their designs and create prototypes.

Creativity. Industrial designers must be innovative in their designs and the ways in which they integrate existing technologies into their new product.

Interpersonal skills. Industrial designers must develop cooperative working relationships with clients and colleagues who specialize in related disciplines.

Mechanical skills. Industrial designers must understand how products are engineered, at least for the types of products that they design.

Problem-solving skills. Industrial designers identify complex design problems such as the need, size, and cost of a product, anticipate production issues, develop alternatives, evaluate options, and implement solutions.

Advancement

Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools or in colleges and universities. For more information, see the profile on postsecondary teachers. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios in addition to teaching. Some experienced designers open their own design firms.

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Do you work as an Industrial Designer?

Industrial Designer Jobs

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Industrial Designer Career Paths

Industrial Designer
Design Manager Project Manager Product Manager
Brand Manager
5 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Lead Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Director Creative Director Marketing Director
Director Of Communications And Marketing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Industrial Designer Design Manager Senior Project Manager
Director Of Product Development
11 Yearsyrs
Design Director Adjunct Professor Senior Software Engineer
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Interior Designer Territory Manager Brand Manager
Global Brand Manager
9 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Product Designer Product Manager
Marketing Communications Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Director Creative Director
Marketing Director
7 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Project Engineer Product Manager
Product Development Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Product Director
11 Yearsyrs
Product Developer Product Manager
Product Line Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Consultant Design Manager Project Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager Marketing Manager
Product Marketing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer Engineering Manager
Senior Engineering Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Designer Project Leader Technical Project Manager
Technical Product Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Developer Program Manager Engineering Director
Vice President Of Engineering
13 Yearsyrs
Senior Industrial Designer Design Consultant Design Director
Vice President Product Development
12 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Industrial Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Product Designer 3.8 years
Designer/Artist 3.8 years
Furniture Designer 3.8 years
Head Designer 3.4 years
Creative Designer 3.0 years
Designer 3.0 years
Package Designer 2.9 years
Set Designer 2.4 years
3D Designer 2.1 years
Assistant Designer 1.7 years
Junior Designer 1.6 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 8.7%
Designer 8.3%
Top Employers After
Designer 7.4%

Do you work as an Industrial Designer?

Industrial Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.2%

Female

16.3%

Unknown

6.5%
Ethnicity

White

69.9%

Asian

15.6%

Hispanic or Latino

11.7%

Unknown

2.2%

Black or African American

0.7%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

28.6%

Mandarin

10.4%

Korean

10.4%

German

9.1%

French

9.1%

Chinese

7.8%

Japanese

5.2%

Italian

5.2%

Portuguese

3.9%

Cantonese

2.6%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Bosnian

1.3%

Greek

1.3%

Persian

1.3%

Hindi

1.3%

Russian

1.3%
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Industrial Designer Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

12.0%

Auburn University

9.8%

Rochester Institute of Technology

8.7%

College for Creative Studies

7.7%

University of Cincinnati

7.1%

Art Center College of Design

5.5%

San Jose State University

4.6%

Pratt Institute-Main

4.6%

North Carolina State University

4.4%

Wentworth Institute of Technology

4.4%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

4.1%

Ohio State University

3.8%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.6%

Rhode Island School of Design

3.3%

Arizona State University

3.0%

Brigham Young University

3.0%

Purdue University

2.7%

University of Kansas

2.7%

Academy of Art University

2.5%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

2.5%
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Majors

Graphic Design

75.3%

Fine Arts

3.5%

Business

3.1%

Mechanical Engineering

3.1%

Drafting And Design

2.2%

Architecture

1.5%

Computer Applications

1.4%

Project Management

1.2%

Industrial Technology

0.9%

Marketing

0.9%

Woodworking

0.9%

Environmental Design

0.9%

Industrial Engineering

0.8%

Civil Engineering

0.8%

Engineering And Industrial Management

0.8%

Sustainability

0.6%

Engineering

0.6%

Animation

0.6%

Electrical Engineering

0.5%

Education

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

61.7%

Masters

19.0%

Other

13.4%

Associate

3.0%

Certificate

1.5%

Diploma

0.9%

License

0.2%

Doctorate

0.2%
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Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Industrial Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Industrial Designer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 24, 2016 $210,575 -
$215,575
Industrial Designer Google, Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2015 $182,758
Industrial Designer Google, Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 08, 2015 $182,758
Principal Industrial Designer Magic Leap, Inc. Dania Beach, FL Apr 01, 2016 $180,000
Lead Industrial Designer Fitbit, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jul 09, 2016 $161,824
Lead Industrial Designer Girling Kelly Design Group, LLC Seattle, WA Mar 30, 2015 $150,000
Industrial Designer Facebook, Inc. Seattle, WA Apr 12, 2015 $147,250 -
$167,250
Principal Industrial Designer Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA May 23, 2016 $146,450
Industrial Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2015 $145,000
Industrial Designer Google Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 13, 2016 $145,000
Industrial Designer II Amazon Corporate LLC Seattle, WA Apr 06, 2015 $130,000
Industrial Designer Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 12, 2015 $130,000
Commercial and Industrial Designers Casabella Holdings LLC Congers, NY Dec 10, 2016 $128,294
Lead Designer-Industrial Design Designworks Parksdale, CA Apr 25, 2016 $125,000
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Independence, MO May 10, 2015 $63,912
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Poway, CA Jun 10, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Modesto, CA Oct 19, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Poway, CA May 11, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services, Ltd. Hagerstown, MD Aug 25, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Ltd. Morristown, NJ Mar 12, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Holtsville, NY May 15, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Greencastle, PA Jun 15, 2015 $63,900
Industrial Designer Modne Inc. Brea, CA Jun 07, 2016 $59,842
Industrial Designer Lear Corporation Southfield, MI Aug 09, 2016 $59,842
Industrial Designer Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Ltd Houston, TX Jun 03, 2015 $59,760
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services, Ltd. Houston, TX May 06, 2015 $59,760
Industrial Designer Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Ltd. Carrollton, TX Mar 04, 2015 $59,760
Industrial Designer Larsen & Toubro Technology Services Ltd Saint Louis, MO Jan 27, 2015 $59,760
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Independence, MO Jan 09, 2015 $59,760
Industrial Designer L&T Technology Services Limited Moon, PA May 06, 2015 $59,700

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Top Skills for An Industrial Designer

ConceptGenerationNewProductDevelopmentCADSolidworksDesignIntentPrototypeProductLinesFurnitureAdobePhotoshopIllustratorGraphicDesignProjectManagementConceptDevelopment3DModelsDesignProcessMarketResearchDesignConceptsUserInterfaceKeyshotTechnicalDrawings

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  1. Concept Generation
  2. New Product Development
  3. CAD
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assisted in design and ergonomic research, concept generation, brainstorming and design refinement.
  • Reviewed competitive patents pertaining to new product development.
  • Create CAD models to specifications and create physical prototype from RP's
  • Reverse-engineered plastic injection molded component for the Square D company using SolidWorks.
  • Incorporate new 3D sensors, cameras, and laser into an existing design while keeping overall design intent.

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