Industrial Designer

Summary

Industrial designers create and produce designs for commercial, medical and industrial products. They also make models and prototypes of these designs for mass production. The products that industrial designers create cover a wide range of manufactured goods, from toys and toasters to furniture and heavy machinery. Some work is carried out on the development of new products. Other work is related to updating and improving the design of existing products.

Duties & Tasks

Industrial designers may perform the following tasks:

  • discuss manufacturers' and clients' requirements
  • undertake research and development
  • consider factors influencing product design, such as cost, selection of materials, production methods, new technology, safety, fashion trends, ergonomics, the environment, marketing and business strategy
  • prepare presentation sketches showing style, size, shape, configuration of internal components and general appearance of products, either by hand or using a computer
  • supervise construction of models or samples of products and test them for function, quality and consumer appeal
  • estimate production costs
  • make engineering drawings and detailed diagrams of products and report these to manufacturers
  • modify designs where necessary to meet manufacturing or cost requirements.

Specialisations

Consumer Appliance Designer

A consumer appliance designer works in a design team that develops products and appliances to assist or entertain in the home or office (whitegoods, electronic goods and computer equipment, for example).

Furniture Designer

A furniture designer creates designs for the manufacture of domestic, commercial and industrial furniture.

Sustainable Design Consultant

A sustainable design consultant advises on environmentally sustainable methods and materials for creating and producing designs for products.

Transport Designer

A transport designer works in large teams to add shape, style and comfort to cars, trucks, trains and trams.

Working Conditions

Industrial designers work closely with other professionals in the field, such as engineers, manufacturers, market researchers, marketing consultants, drafters and product testing staff.

They work in studios when creating and refining designs, using their hands and/or computer-aided design. They may also spend time in the field observing and researching product usage, and in manufacturing plants observing methods of production and collecting information about new materials and production processes.

Designers may work long hours and experience periods of intense pressure when deadlines must be met.

Personal Requirements

  • aptitude for problem-solving
  • patient
  • creative and practical
  • aptitude for technical activities
  • good communication skills.

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