Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

If you love art, design, and cool gadgets, this may be the major for you! Industrial designers are the people behind the design of many cool products and gadgets that we use daily. Besides sketching design ideas and using computer-aided design programs, industrial designers must become experts on different kinds of materials and learn to stick to a budget while collaborating with engineers, clients, and users. They make products appealing to a general audience and combine art, engineering, and business while doing so.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial Design is the use of both applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, functionality, effectiveness, ergonomics, and usability of a product. Industrial designers work shaping everyday products and design solutions for problems of form, usage, or functionality of different products. Many industrial designers concentrate within a specific branch, such as kitchen appliances or cars. Industrial designers work on the functionality and aesthetics of a product while staying on a budget.

Basically, industrial designers improve the design of a specific product and solve any usage problems to make it the most ergonomic and functional it can be. This article shows 25 examples of products created by industrial designers who combined functionality and an aesthetically pleasing design.

What do industrial designers typically do in the workplace?

Industrial designers work in a variety of industries. Most industrial designers work in offices for the most part, but many travel to testing facilities, design centers, exhibit sites, clients’ homes or workplaces, and places where products are manufactured. Industrial designers work closely with many other professionals, such as materials engineers, scientists, cost estimators, and marketing experts. The categories in which industrial designers can specialize in are practically endless, from cars to tools, and from appliances to housewares.

Is this the major for me?

Obviously, it’s important that you love art and design. It helps to have strong skills in math and science. Good problem-solving skills are very important, as well as the ability to stick to a budget successfully. Industrial designers should be creative and imaginative, but practical at the same time. Industrial designers create user-friendly products that are inexpensive and functional. Making a beautiful or appealing product is only part of the final equation.

It’s important to work quickly, follow deadlines, communicate effectively, and follow and adapt to new trends. Industrial designers should be prepared to study material science, and to become proficient in the use of different computer-aided design (CAD) programs.

How can I prepare for a career in Industrial Design?

Make high school count! Do your best in science and math classes, so you can have a strong foundation for college. Math is especially important (particularly geometry) because proportions and measurement are fundamental to industrial design. You can use shop classes to learn about materials and tools. It would also help to start learning how to master CAD and drafting programs for familiarity later on. But industrial designers don’t just draft with computers. Of course, art class is also fundamental to develop much-needed sketching skills.

For the most part, Industrial Design degrees are fundamental, but if your school does not have this major, architecture and engineering degrees are pretty close.  During your college career, it’s super important that you participate in internships and classes where you can get hands-on experience. Internships are particularly helpful because, besides hands-on experience, you will also develop problem-solving and time management skills.

To gain these internships and jobs, a good portfolio is essential. In it, you should showcase your abilities and thought process. A portfolio that shows your best works is usually the deciding factor when securing employment.

What’s the outlook and compensation for Industrial Design?

Jobs for industrial designers are expected to grow about as fast as the average for all careers through 2020.  Industrial designers who work designing precision instruments and medical equipment are expected to have more opportunities than others. Industrial and commercial designers earned a median yearly salary of $59,610 in 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Where can I study Industrial Design?



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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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