How to become a Industrial Designer

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.

Personal requirements of a Industrial Designer

  • Aptitude for problem-solving
  • Patient
  • Creative and practical
  • Aptitude for technical activities
  • Good communication skills

Education & Training for a Industrial Designer

To become an industrial designer you usually have to complete a degree in design, engineering or industrial design at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and physics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to submit a portfolio of work, sit a test and/or attend an interview. A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.

Duties & Tasks of a Industrial Designer

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.

Working conditions for a Industrial Designer

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.

Employment Opportunities for a Industrial Designer

Most industrial designers work for manufacturing firms. They also work for private consultancies and government departments. Most designers should expect to spend several years after graduation engaged in industry gaining experience as staff designers before attempting to enter the highly demanding field of design consulting. Most manufacturers prefer industrial designers to have had some previous commercial experience. Due to competition with overseas products that are cheaper to manufacture, Australian manufacturers are moving towards producing products with better design. There is a broad range of opportunities in product design, including one-off commissions, small-scale production and industrial production. There are also opportunities to establish designer/maker practices specialising in such disciplines as objects of art and furniture. Work is predominantly concentrated in the manufacturing sector, in Sydney and Melbourne.


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.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:

strong growth

Employment by state:

ACT 0.4%

NSW 35.4%

NT 0.4%

QLD 9.9%

SA 2.4%

TAS 0.6%

VIC 40.9%

WA 9.9%

Hours worked:



below average

Gender split:

Proportion of male workers 46.4%

Proportion of female workers 53.7%

Education level:

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 10: 0%

Proportion of workers who have not completed Year 12: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is secondary school: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 0%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 33.3%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 66.7%

Proportion of workers whose highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0%

Age bracket:

Proprortion of workers aged below 35 years: 52.8%

Proportion of workers aged above 35 years: 47.3%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

Additional Information
After gaining some industry experience, graduates may qualify for full membership of the Design Institute of Australia. Student, graduate or associate membership may also be available prior to meeting the requirements for full membership. Graduates may also be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their websites for more details.
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