Industrial designers are in charge of developing concepts for manufactured products. They design, develop and document industrial, commercial or consumer products and then make prototypes to test the design to be considered for production. What does an industrial designer do?
What is industrial design?
Industrial design is a strategic process that focuses on the appearance, functionality and manufacturing ability of a product.
Whether it’s a mobile phone, TV, or a vacuum cleaner, the point of industrial design is to seamlessly blend both form and function to make products the best that they can be so that they may offer long-lasting value to end-users.
In terms of dimensions, an industrial design can either consist of 3D features such as the shape of a product, or 2D features, such as patterns, lines or colour.
What is the difference between product design and industrial design? Product design is all about creating solutions or products whereas industrial design is about creating solutions or products and then taking them to manufacture.
Responsibilities of an industrial designer
Industrial designers plan and design potential products or work by drafting sketches, illustrations, and storyboards of product concepts and then presenting them to clients.
They research the various ways that a particular product might be used and also research design trends and product limitations.
These designers negotiate design solutions with clients, management, and manufacturing staff and also test designs in focus groups or surveys. They also fabricate models using samples and supervise the preparation of patterns and the manufacture process.
They develop industrial standards and guidelines and travel to facilities to supervise manufacturers’ efforts. Furthermore, they detail and document the selected designs for production and are in charge of evaluating product safety, appearance, and function to check if a design is practical.
What are the responsibilities of an industrial designer?
- Plan and design potential products
- Draft sketches, illustrations, and storyboards of product concepts
- Present sketches to clients
- Research various ways that a particular product might be used
- Research design trends and product limitations
- Negotiate design solutions with clients, management, and manufacturing staff
- Test designs in focus groups or surveys
- Fabricate models using samples
- Supervise the preparation of patterns and the manufacture process
- Develop industrial standards and guidelines
- Travel to facilities to supervise manufacturers’ efforts
- Detail and document the selected designs for production
- Evaluate product safety, appearance, and function
Skills of an industrial designer
To become an industrial designer, you need to have excellent CAD skills and a knack for hardware, tools, and machines. You also need to be incredibly market savvy and should be comfortable in a manufacturing environment.
Working as a designer also requires you to have strong knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles and experience with computer software. You also need to have good IT skills and have experience with industry-specific modeling software such as Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Alias.
Since these designers have great interpersonal skills, you need to be able to concisely articulate a concept, and should be practical and creative. You also need to be an expert in troubleshooting as well as drawing/mechanical drafting.
In addition, you need to be original and imaginative and excellent at translating an idea into a design. You also need to have strong analytical thinking and should be an independent thinker who can easily adapt to a team approach.
What skills do you need to become an industrial designer?
- Excellent CAD skills
- Knack for hardware, tools, and machines
- Market savvy
- Comfortable in a manufacturing environment
- Strong knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles
- Strong computer software skills
- Good IT skills
- Experience with industry-specific modeling software such as Autodesk Inventor and Autodesk Alias
- Good interpersonal skills
- Ability to concisely articulate a concept
- Good at troubleshooting
- Excellent drawing/mechanical drafting
- Highly imaginative
- Ability to translate an idea into a design
- Strong analytical thinking
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A Bachelor’s degree is often the first step to becoming an industrial designer. This can be in Industrial Design, Architecture or Engineering. Keep in mind though that many universities and colleges often require you to successfully complete some basic art and design courses before granting you admission into their Bachelor degree programs.
Once you have a Bachelor’s degree, you can either choose to obtain a Master’s degree in Industrial Design, Architecture or Engineering, or boost your career by obtaining online certifications. Check out options for these down below:
- Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society
- Creative Design, Prototyping, and Testing
- Design Sketching Blueprint: Industrial Design Essentials
- Marker Sketching: Master Design Sketching with Markers
What is the salary of an industrial designer?
The salary of an industrial designer depends primarily on what position they occupy and what industry they are in. Generally though, a junior designer can earn about $43,000 whereas senior designers can earn around $89,000 per year. The average salary of an industrial designer is $59,800 per year.
In the UK, the salary range is £22,000-£41,000 whereas in Germany, the range is €30,000-€71,000.
Salary of an industrial designer:
Salary range of industrial designers:
How much do freelance industrial designers earn?
According to the freelancermap rate index, industrial designers earn an average of $39 per hour. Working this rate out to an 8-hour day, the daily average is around $312.