How to Become an Industrial Designer?

The majority of us out here are quite familiar with the fact that industry, as well as a huge variety of industrial facilities, are all around us and they are everywhere to be seen. This is so, since industry is one of the fields of human activity that measures constant and increasing growth since its well-known and great outburst, which traces back to the nineteenth century and the period that we nowadays know and recognize as the very beginning of the contemporary world, the one we know and live among right now. Therefore, industry is indisputably a field to which all of us need to pay utmost attention – all of us out there should at least get the basic information about the world of industry, which, and we will all agree on that, literally makes our world go around.

What is This Working Position about?

Thus, many people engaged in various working positions are dedicated to striving to make the growth of industry increase for even a greater deal and they also strive to help industry set the  path to its further development. Some of the working positions that should be connected to industry are design and architecture. However, if we would like to break these versatile vocations down into more strictly specialized disciplines, we may easily conclude that a discipline known as the industrial design will definitely pop up in such an analysis. Therefore, that is exactly what this article will be about. The aim of this article is to help the ones who desire to dedicate their lives and careers to working in the field of industrial design, but it also aims to give interesting pieces of information to the ones who are simply interested in getting to know the field of industrial design better.

Essential Vocation

We have already mentioned in the introduction to this article that industry is the field of human activity that appears to be the foundation of the contemporary world as a whole and it does not cease to measure constant growth and development.

In order for the industry to go for such a rapid development, many requirements should be reached. First of all, the ones who work in the versatile field of industry must be provided with sufficient working conditions as well as with the facilities that will have all the properties needed for completing their work successfully. Besides, in order for the industry to keep developing, it is essential to work on the development of technology and the mass production of technological devices.

That is the point at which industrial designers take over the stage and perform their magic. Hence, a working position of an industrial designer really sets serious requirements in front of the ones who desire to get engaged in it. This is a working position that comes along with a great number of responsibilities. In addition to that, in an ever-growing field of industry, with industrial facilities popping up from everywhere, employing a huge number of industrial designers is a must. Therefore, this working position, which many of us have not even heard of and thus it is underestimated, is essential.

An Often Mistaken Vocation

Before we proceed to the rest of the article and reveal the secrets of the working position of an industrial designer, it is mostly important to point out that this working position should by no means be mistaken with some other vocations that are quite similar, but definitely not the same. For example, the first vocation that many of us tend to mistake with industrial design is interior design. Although these two positions have much in common, there are also sharp differences between them. Here is a list that presents some of those differences:

  • Industrial designers have more responsibilities than interior designers
  • Industrial designers pay more attention to the safety and utilizing components of a facility or a product than interior designers
  • Industrial designers pay less attention to aesthetics, and more attention to the safety and usefulness than interior designers
  • Industrial designers must be highly informed about technology and be up to date on that field and they also need to obtain computing skills.

In addition to that, industrial designers should be more familiar with the field of industry, whereas interior designers are supposed to be mostly familiar with art and even human studies, in order to be able to communicate and negotiate with their clients and in order to reach their expectations.

Now that we have covered these differences, we may proceed to the next part of the article that will reveal some more specific facts about industrial design in particular.

What Do Industrial Designers Do?

From the very name of the vocation, it is obvious that this working position is tightly bonded with the world of industry, which we pointed out is constantly developing and growing. Since technology is one of the areas that appears to measure constant development, the ones engaged in industry often resort to dedicating their work to producing technological devices. That is the point at which industrial designers, who this article is about, are inevitable.

The main task of industrial designers is to create and design mass produced goods, such as various vehicles and various devices, for example, television, computers and a broad range of all the other gadgets and devices one may think of. Therefore, they need to be highly educated and they are supposed to be familiar not only with the field of design but with the fields of industry and technology, as well. Besides, they need to pay utmost attention to creating such a product that will be safe to use and that will be utilizing for the customers it is offered to. Thus, being an industrial designer is a highly responsible vocation and it requires thorough education, as well as a lot of practice and training.

Work Environment

It has already been mentioned in this article that the vocation of a designer is quite versatile itself and therefore there is a number of specialized vocations derived from it that are similar to each other and often mistaken one for the other, such as graphic design, interior design and industrial design. However, one of the things they definitely have in common is the fact that all of them, in most cases, can be performed in almost the same types of work environment.

Therefore, here is a list of certain places or venues where an industrial designer may get down to work:

  • Co-working space (offers a great opportunity for cooperation in the similar fields)
  • An office
  • An industrial facility
  • Manufacturing industrial firms
  • Working online from home/a cafe on internet websites and platforms such as: Upwork , Freelancer

How to Become a Successful Industrial Designer?

We hope that this article has grasped your interests so far and that we are now having your attention as well since the following paragraph will be dedicated especially to the ones who maybe desire to get engaged in industrial design or the ones who have at least considered it as their possible future occupation. Therefore, here are some of the requirements in the field of industrial design.

  • Get properly educated.

What is essential regarding almost any of work occupations, especially the ones that bring as many responsibilities as it is the case with industrial design, one must finish an education program in the field. One may choose a formal educational one or an informal educational one and one must thus obtain a certain degree or certificate in order to get only the basic qualifications for the job at stake.

  • Gain broad knowledge and be eager to broaden it even more.

Once one has got one’s Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in the field of industrial design, one’s education is by no means over at that point. A person engaged in the field of industrial design should be aware of the fact how versatile that field is and how broad knowledge in various other fields it requires. Therefore, those industrial designers must be constantly eager to broaden their knowledge and to be familiar with similar fields, such as graphic design. They also need to be well informed about technology and new technological breakthroughs and demands.

  • Be up to date with your field.

Many working positions require the one engaged in them to be up to date on all the news regarding that field. Moreover, since the field of industry and the field of technology, which is tightly bonded with it, are measuring constant development and increased growth, the ones engaged in industrial design must always be up to date with the latest news in these fields. Furthermore, they must apply all the new breakthroughs in their work, as well.

  • Practice makes perfect.

The aforementioned phrase is by no means a cliché, especially when it comes to certain working positions, such as the working position of an industrial designer. When a person has successfully completed an education program and got a degree or certificate, that person should definitely not stop perfecting their skills. Therefore, all the ones who aim for successful careers in the field of industrial design should start with less demanding beginner’s assignments that will provide them with the opportunity to practice and hone their skills before going big and aiming for the most complex tasks and positions.

  • Cooperation is an option for winners.

If you want to be considered successful in the field of industrial design, you should definitely follow the strategy of the real winners in this field and try to learn from them. In other words, the best way to set a path for your own successful career and to open new opportunities for yourself is to cooperate with the ones who work in your field and the ones dedicated to similar work occupations. In order to make their business boom and to gain more opportunities, all industrial designers should resort to cooperating with technology engineers as well as with graphic designers. Therefore, they will always receive fresh and new ideas and they will also view their working tasks from a different angle, which will help them think outside the box and dedicate to their tasks more thoroughly.

In addition to taking up these pieces of advice, someone who is engaged in the field of industrial design and aims to become successful in the field must have certain skills, such as:

  • Creativity
  • Resourcefulness
  • Ability to come up with solutions and ideas quickly
  • Knowledge in computing and informatics
  • Knowledge in industry as well as design
  • Willingness to cooperate with the colleagues from the same field and similar fields

Nevertheless, having gone through all these facts that show how different industrial design is from interior design, industrial designers may always reap the benefits of using their opportunity to cooperate with their colleagues from similar fields, architects, graphic designers and interior designers in the first place.

Education and Training for a Successful Industrial Designer

In order to be able to take up a certain profession, one must usually go through a program of education first. The same definitely applies to the working position of an industrial designer as well. If one desires to become an industrial designer, one must complete a certain educational program. It is up to every person to decide whether it will be a formal education program or they will resort to informal education since one may become an industrial designer without attending a university that has this program among their curriculum. Therefore, in order to reach the expectations and inform all the ones interested in industrial design, this article will bring up both the opportunities in formal and informal education when it comes to the field mentioned.

The importance of education for industrial designers is obvious from the fact that a highly renowned society dedicated to this field, Industrial Designers Society of America, pays utmost attention to education in particular. The mission to increase the efficiency of education is the key component of their Strategic Plan.

ID Schools

There is a list of industrial design schools made by Industrial Designers Society of America and it includes schools and university programs that have an IDSA Student Chapter and that are also accredited by National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Those schools have been given the accreditation because they provide their students with an efficient education that will enable them to gain the proper knowledge and practice in the field of industrial design.

Therefore, here is the list of those university programs for future industrial designers that were top ranked by IDSA:

  • Alabama: Auburn University
  • Arizona: Arizona State University
  • California:
  • Academy of Art at the University
  • Art Centre College of Design
  • Art Institute of Orange Country
  • California College of the Arts
  • Otis College of Art and Design, California State University – Long Beach
  • San Francisco State University
  • San Hose State University
  • Colorado:
  • Art Institute of Colorado
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Connecticut: University of Bridgeport’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design
  • Florida: An Institute of Fort Lauderdale
  • Georgia:
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Illinois:
  • Southern Illinois University
  • The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • University of Illinois-Chicago
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Campaign
  • Indiana:
  • Purdue University
  • University of Notre Dame
  • Iowa: Iowa State University
  • Kansas:
  • University of Kansas
  • Kansas State University
  • Louisiana: University of Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Massachusetts:
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • Wentworth Institute of Technology
  • Michigan:
  • College of Creative Studies
  • Kendall College of Art and Design
  • Northern Michigan University, University of Michigan
  • Wayne State University
  • New Jersey:
  • Kean University
  • Montclair State University
  • New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • New York:
  • Parsons the New School of Design
  • Pratt Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology
  • School of Visual Arts
  • Syracuse University
  • North Carolina:
  • Appalachian State University
  • NC State University – College of Design
  • Ohio:
  • Cleveland Institute of Art
  • Ohio State University
  • Oregon:
  • Art Institute of Portland
  • University of Oregon
  • Pennsylvania:
  • Art Institute of Pittsburg
  • Carnegie-Mellon University
  • Integrated Innovation Institute
  • Drexel University
  • Philadelphia University
  • Rhode Island: Rhode Island School of Design
  • Texas: University of Houston
  • Utah: Brigham Young University
  • Virginia:
  • James Madison University
  • Virginia Tech
  • Washington:
  • Art Institute of Seattle, University of Washington
  • Western Washington University
  • Wisconsin: Milwaukee Institute for Art and Design

Is your head already spinning from the number of universities that have the best industrial design programs among their curriculum? Since education matters, the whole list made by IDSA was included in this article.

Bachelor and Master Studies

One who wants to get engaged in the field of industrial design must strive to obtain a broad and thorough education, as it has been previously mentioned in this article. Therefore, this article provides the readers with the pieces of information about the huge number of the opportunities and recommended programs to choose from, which can be seen in the list above. When it comes to the degree, most of the aforementioned programs offer both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree, and some of them offer a PhD degree as well.

Practical Work and Career Development

After completing any of the education programs mentioned or completing an online course in industrial design successfully, one must go for further development, in order to perfect one’s skills and obtain some practical experience, which is essential no matter what working position may be at stake. Therefore, this article will present you an interesting and extraordinary opportunity to combine industrial design and healthcare. Since industrial designers work on various applications and devices, sometimes they may get a task to work on a certain healthcare digital device. Thus, if any of you out there who are engaged in industrial design are interested in combining it with healthcare, honing your skills and contributing to medicine all at the same time, you may be interested in attending webinars and courses or taking up practical apprenticeship programs sponsored by the widely renowned Philips company.

Certification and Degree

When it comes to the degrees that can be obtained in the system of formal education, here are the ones that can be acquired after having successfully completed some of the programs at the universities from the list given above:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Design
  • Bachelor’s Degree in Products Design
  • Master’s Degree in Industrial Design
  • PhD in Industrial Design

If one does not have a degree or a valid certificate in the field of industrial design, one may still have a chance to become an industrial designer regardless. But, one must be ready to engage in non-paid internship first in order to show one’s skills to the client and convince them one is capable of working and reaching the requirements.

Salary

According to the results of the research conducted in the year 2015 by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, average annual salary of an industrial designer reaches the amount of $ 69,820, whereas the predicted job growth was marked with 2%.

Job Outlook

When it comes to the job outlook of an industrial designer, since this is a versatile vocation, they have various opportunities in front of themselves they can choose from when starting their career. For example, the most common occupation of an industrial designer is to work in certain manufacturing firms. In addition to that, they can cooperate with business persons engaged in the fields of industry and technology, since the main task of every industrial designer is to design mass produce goods, various vehicles and devices. When it comes to devices, industrial designers may also wish to combine their working position with healthcare and to produce medical devices for the companies such as Philips.

It is important to point out that there are numerous occupations similar to industrial design, such as interior design, graphic design and architecture, so they can always become a part of a multi-professional co-working space.

Similar Occupations

It is widely known and commonly accepted that the field of design is quite broad and versatile and that the field is strongly related to the one of architecture, as well. Therefore, when it comes to the working position of an industrial designer, in particular, it is obvious that this position is connected to various other positions, such as interior design, interior architecture, or even graphic design. Thus, industrial designers have many opportunities for cooperation with their colleagues from similar vocations, but they also tend to have their working position mistaken with the similar ones, especially with interior design. Therefore, we will mark the difference of the main preoccupations and tasks of an industrial designer and confront it to the ones of an interior designer:

Industrial designer

  • deals with design aspects of mass produced goods
  • they design vehicles, computers and a variety of other gadgets and devices

Interior designer

  • deals with designing homes and offices
  • pays more attention to aesthetics than to the function of the product

Hopefuly, this article will appear interesting and helpful to both the ones engaged in the working position of industrial design and the ones simply interested in this occupation.