WHAT IS AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER?
What is an industrial designer? Industrial design deals with designing and developing new products. These can range from designing and creating bicycles, mobile phones to even fashion magazines. Industrial designing involves developing design concepts after taking into account its financial, social, environmental, functional and aesthetic aspects.
You can call this form of designing as the next step to basic invention and innovation as the techniques applied need to be for products that can be mass produced.
An industrial designer is responsible for imagining various uses of a product from the end consumer’s point of view. After conclusive testing, the final design that is the most user-friendly is short-listed.
WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER DO?
Works Closely With Other Professionals
An industrial designer works in close tandem with other professionals of an industry to design a client product. The usual professionals that designers work with production specialists, marketing experts, and engineers among others. They have to be involved until the very last step of turning imaginary ideas into new products that are functional, efficient and profit making.
Can Work On All Types of Designs
They can even work on intangible products. For instance, an industrial designer can work with a marketing specialist to create a design and develop efficient plans in order to market a new product to customers. They can also work to build everyday consumer products.
Right Education is Critical
Hence, there is a high level of education involved in this field. Successful designers would never stop at simply acquiring a bachelor’s degree. After working for some years in the sector, they go on to pursue a Master’s degree in order to become an authority on their specialization.
Hired In Every Industry
These designers need to be dedicated to their level of specialization as they are responsible for bringing art, engineering, and business together to make bigger and better products for consumers to use. Most industrial designers work on manufactured products. However, only 29% are engaged in the manufacturing industry. They have a niche in almost every industry starting from service (where their plans are sold to clients) to manufacturing (where they are directly hired). Some designers even work for themselves as freelancers.
Qualifications, Duties, & Salary
An industrial designer is the backbone of civilization. By creating new ideas and better products, they ensure constant innovation. The right kind of education is very important. This is the reason why top universities also offer Industrial Design Masters.
Educational & Technical Qualifications Required
Industrial design courses generally include drawing, three-dimensional modeling, computer-aided design, and drafting (CADD), computer-aided industrial design software (CAID), and other courses such as manufacturing methods, business opportunities, industrial processes, material acquisition, etc.
It is necessary to get a bachelor’s degree in architecture, engineering or industrial design to secure an entry-level job in this field. Some colleges before granting entry into their course require applicants to submit proof of their artistic abilities by way of sketches. Others might require classroom projects, extra-curricular activities or other experiences while granting entry.
Behavioral and Qualitative Qualifications
Apart from educational and technical qualifications, a firm might require a candidate to clear other aptitude based qualifiers such as:
It requires logic and reasoning to understand and complete a design based on user needs and requirements.
Skills prototypes and designs are made on computer-aided design software such as CADD and CAID.
Engineering process is important in order to make a functional design.
The Imagination of a designer needs to be expressed into illustrations to make it easier for professionals from other fields to understand it better.
Innovation is required to merge existing technologies to develop better products.
Designing and manufacturing is a team effort. They require cooperation at all times.
Needs and the cost of a product are determined by designers. Anticipating issues in production and coming up with alternative solutions is critical.
Duties of an Industrial Designer
There are many job responsibilities and duties that need to be performed by industry-specific designers such as:
Determining a Requirement
Designers need to consult with clients in order to understand the basic requirements needed. In a manufacturing unit, this would be related to company goals and aspirations.
Research End User
All products are made for the final customer. They require in-depth research to create a functional and acceptable product.
Illustrations are needed to bring ideas alive. Renderings or blueprints are necessary to help provide a visual of design ideas.
Use of designing software is critical in creating virtual prototypes.
Create Physical Prototypes
Physical prototypes are also created by these designers with help from other professionals.
Materials and manufacturing requirements need to be taken into consideration in order to understand production costs and feasibility.
Work on Suggestion
Ask suggestions from other professionals such as mechanical engineers and production specialists in order to find cheaper and more realistic financial alternatives.
Thorough product testing and evaluation are required to determine safety, function, practicality, and appearance of a product for complete satisfaction.
Present the final design and physical prototype to clients for approval.
Currently, the highest paid are designers from the manufacturing sector with self-employed worker segment following as close seconds. Other areas of employment are specialized design services, wholesale trade, architectural services, and engineering services among others.
The average salary a designer receives after completing Bachelor’s degree is $69,820 as per a study conducted by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015. Needless to say, the salary amount will increase with regards to experience and higher qualification such as Master’s Degree.
What Do They Do?
These designers are extremely important in every field and sector. These are some of the areas they work in:
As Product Designers
These industrial product designers are focused on inventing new devices or making them better. Product designers can create products in any dimension such as consumer goods or electronics. Even machines and technology fall under this category. These designers are focused solely on creating functional designs that can lead to mass production. They are also dedicated in their efforts to evaluate pre-existing designs and working on them to create more efficient and functional products.
Product designers are important in every industry segment. They have a ready job available in technical, manufacturing, engineering, scientific, and architecture related companies.
There are many job requirements from these designers. They are responsible for conducting in-depth analysis and research into materials and technology in order to improve designs. They are also required to possess knowledge about manufacturing and marketing methods to create designs that are financially sound and practical.
As Industrial Design Researchers
These designers are involved in researching and understanding user needs. Unlike product designers, they are not involved in the actual creation of the end product. However, they are more focused on coming up with new solutions and ideas or suggestions for improving elements of a design. These designers conduct research for electronic appliances, gadgets, websites, software, and apps among others. Research institutes and information technology companies and manufacturing companies are the usual takers for design researchers.
Design researchers are involved in determining the right target audience. They have to carve out a niche from the audience pool to focus their attention completely in order to identify the right design or improvement. They are involved with gathering end-user opinions and experiences. They test new products on the target audience pool in order to analyze reactions.
These designers are also responsible for problem-solving and coming up with alternative solutions for any design flaw or product flaw. This is conducted after completely evaluating and understanding results.
As Art Directors
This is another quirky field where industry designers have carved a niche for themselves. Art directors are responsible for visual aspects in print media, dynamic advertisements, product labels, movie features, and every other related field. These designers can work as directors in many industries such as public relation firms, newspaper publisher, advertising agency, magazine, firms, and books among others.
The main responsibility for an art director is to choose the best option to represent an idea or concept visually. They need to select the best approach that can bring in positive reaction and acceptance for the concept. Art directors are also responsible for other design staff that is not necessarily from an industrial design segment. Reviewing their work and making final approvals is a big part of the job description.
An industrial designer is a brilliant mind that unites artistic imagination with engineering know-how and IT skills. Even an entry-level designer makes use of innovative thinking to create mesmerizing artifacts from plain products on a daily basis. Designing is the backbone of making any idea a possibility. Prototypes and functional models thrown into the mix makes these designers a critical aspect of manufacturing as well as consumer research.