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Become A Product Designer

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Working As A Product 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

  • $75,515

    Average Salary

What Does A Product 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 A Product 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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Product Designer Videos

Product Designers - A Day In The Life

Career Advice - Interior Design

How to Become a Product Designer - Heal's Discuss

Product Designer Jobs

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Product Designer Career Paths

Product Designer
Computer Aided Design Designer Designer Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
9 Yearsyrs
Computer Aided Design Designer Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Art Director
Creative Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Design Engineer
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Product Manager Director Of Sales
Director Of Global Sales
13 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer Senior Designer Creative Director
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer General Manager Business Development Director
Director, Global Business Development
14 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Senior Project Manager Senior Manager Of Marketing
Director, Marketing & Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Product Engineer Production Manager Senior Buyer
Divisional Merchandise Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Product Manager Brand Manager
Global Brand Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Program Manager Product Manager
Group Product Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Product Manager Product Development Manager Research And Development Manager
New Product Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Product Design Engineer Engineering Manager Product Development Manager
Product Design Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Design Engineer Application Engineer Product Manager
Product Director
11 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Designer Mechanical Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Designer Project Manager Product Manager
Senior Manager, Product Development
10 Yearsyrs
Product Design Engineer Product Development Engineer Product Developer
Senior Product Developer
8 Yearsyrs
Freelance Designer User Experience Designer User Experience Architect
User Experience Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Design Manager Creative Director Web Design/Development
Web Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Product Designer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Owner & Designer 6.0 years
Tool Designer 4.6 years
Product Designer 4.0 years
Textile Designer 4.0 years
Head Designer 3.4 years
Detailer/Designer 3.0 years
Creative Designer 3.0 years
Designer 3.0 years
Package Designer 2.9 years
Freelance Designer 2.6 years
Assistant Designer 1.7 years
Top Careers Before Product Designer
Designer 15.0%
Internship 5.6%
Draftsman 4.1%
Drafter 3.0%
Top Careers After Product Designer
Designer 11.7%
Engineer 3.4%

Do you work as a Product Designer?

Product Designer Demographics

Gender

Male

71.1%

Female

23.4%

Unknown

5.4%
Ethnicity

White

59.3%

Asian

14.9%

Hispanic or Latino

13.4%

Black or African American

8.9%

Unknown

3.5%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

22.1%

Mandarin

14.1%

Chinese

14.1%

French

12.1%

German

6.7%

Korean

4.0%

Russian

4.0%

Cantonese

4.0%

Japanese

3.4%

Arabic

2.7%

Swedish

2.0%

Hindi

2.0%

Portuguese

2.0%

Vietnamese

1.3%

Carrier

1.3%

Italian

1.3%

Igbo

0.7%

Marathi

0.7%

Gujarati

0.7%

Danish

0.7%
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Product Designer Education

Schools

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.5%

Art Center College of Design

9.2%

Pratt Institute-Main

7.0%

Fashion Institute of Technology

7.0%

Henry Ford College

5.4%

Macomb Community College

5.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

5.4%

University of Phoenix

5.1%

Oakland Community College

4.8%

Rhode Island School of Design

4.8%

Carnegie Mellon University

4.4%

Stanford University

4.1%

Purdue University

4.1%

Academy of Art University

3.8%

Auburn University

3.8%

University of Wisconsin - Stout

3.5%

Eastern Michigan University

3.5%

Wayne State University

3.2%

University of Cincinnati

3.2%

University of the Arts

2.9%
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Majors

Graphic Design

30.6%

Drafting And Design

15.7%

Mechanical Engineering

12.6%

Business

6.7%

Fine Arts

5.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.8%

Engineering

3.3%

Design And Visual Communication

2.3%

Industrial Technology

2.2%

Architecture

1.9%

Computer Applications

1.9%

Computer Science

1.8%

Engineering Technology

1.7%

Electrical Engineering

1.6%

Management

1.6%

Communication

1.6%

Marketing

1.6%

Interior Design

1.3%

Education

1.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

42.9%

Other

19.7%

Associate

17.0%

Masters

14.6%

Certificate

3.9%

Doctorate

1.1%

Diploma

0.8%
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Product Designer Videos

Product Designers - A Day In The Life

Career Advice - Interior Design

How to Become a Product Designer - Heal's Discuss

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Product Designer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Product Designer Netflix, Inc. Los Gatos, CA Aug 25, 2015 $300,000
Product Designer-Enterprise Solutions Bloomberg, LP New York, NY Sep 01, 2015 $240,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Mar 09, 2015 $210,818
Product Designer Whatsapp, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 19, 2016 $202,445
Product Designer Whatsapp Inc. Mountain View, CA Oct 01, 2015 $192,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Mountain View, CA Sep 15, 2015 $192,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Feb 09, 2016 $187,035
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Sep 02, 2015 $182,400
Principal Product Designer Nerdwallet, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 31, 2015 $180,000
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Aug 27, 2016 $172,861
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 12, 2015 $170,000
Product Designer Whatsapp, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Dec 12, 2016 $167,763
Product Designer Facebook, Inc. Menlo Park, CA Jul 13, 2016 $165,000 -
$185,000
Associate Product Designer Salesforce.Com San Francisco, CA Aug 05, 2015 $118,000
Product Designer Bugcrowd, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 22, 2016 $117,770
Product Designer Elation Health, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 10, 2016 $117,770 -
$130,000
Staff Product Designer, Matrix Salesforce.Com Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 05, 2015 $117,603
Lead Product Designer Connect Software Corporation San Francisco, CA Oct 09, 2016 $117,603 -
$138,362
Product Designer Edifecs, Inc. Bellevue, WA May 17, 2016 $117,458 -
$130,000
Product Designer Citrix Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Apr 27, 2015 $117,200 -
$120,000
Product Designer Thumbtack, Inc. San Francisco, CA May 16, 2016 $116,542 -
$150,000
Product Designer Trizetto Corporation Boston, MA Jan 03, 2015 $88,691 -
$106,000
Product Designer Cornerstone Ondemand, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Dec 09, 2016 $87,975
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Clearwater, FL May 08, 2016 $86,782
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Sun Prairie, WI Nov 16, 2016 $85,350
Product Designer Majesco Software and Solutions, Inc. Clearwater, FL Dec 21, 2015 $85,080
Product Designer Daily Burn, Inc. New York, NY Dec 19, 2016 $85,000
Product Designer Coinbase, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 05, 2015 $85,000 -
$130,000
Product Designer Spotify USA Inc. New York, NY May 01, 2016 $85,000 -
$145,000

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Top Skills for A Product Designer

  1. New Product Development
  2. CAD
  3. Concept
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed, directed and developed private label brand statements and exclusive product for new product development initiatives.
  • Contracted to Ford Motor Company APTE - Allen Park, MI Engine cooling and intake components using CADDS 5.
  • Designed collateral & proposal boards for development of consumer electronics, conceptualized new products for leading electronics firms.
  • Design and prototype innovative product packaging that provide new functionality and enhance user experience.
  • Created presentation boards of new exhibition product using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.

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Top 10 Best States for Product Designers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Oregon
  4. Arizona
  5. Idaho
  6. South Carolina
  7. Arkansas
  8. North Carolina
  9. Louisiana
  10. Nebraska
  • (1,413 jobs)
  • (241 jobs)
  • (132 jobs)
  • (133 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (83 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (224 jobs)
  • (30 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)

Top Product Designer Employers

Jobs From Top Product Designer Employers

Product Designer Videos

Product Designers - A Day In The Life

Career Advice - Interior Design

How to Become a Product Designer - Heal's Discuss

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