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.
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. For full details, refer to the entries on the website at www.goodcareersguide.com.au or university handbooks.
Industrial designers may perform the following tasks:
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.
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.
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).
A furniture designer creates designs for the manufacture of domestic, commercial and industrial furniture.
A sustainable design consultant advises on environmentally sustainable methods and materials for creating and producing designs for products.
A transport designer works in large teams to add shape, style and comfort to cars, trucks, trains and trams.