How to Become an Industrial Designer

Written by

Beatrice Harrison


August 14, 2014


People around the world use mass-produced products, from bathroom sinks and toothbrushes they use every morning, to the computers they use to check their email and the cars they drive to get to and from work. Specially-trained industrial designers outline the shape, color and packaging of the products that people use every day, helping to create the familiarity we have with the products we use.

What does an industrial designer do?

Industrial designers merge the disciplines of art, engineering, and business to design for manufacture mass-produced goods that people use on a daily basis. They guide the function, style, safety and quality of virtually all manufactured products.

When creating a new design or improving an existing one, industrial designers determine the needs of the client, along with who the users of the products will be and how the product will be used. They then determine the preferred characteristics of the product such as shape, size, color, weight, and materials to be used, keeping in mind overall cost and safety.

Industrial designers make sketches and diagrams of products either by hand or using computer-aided design (CAD) tools. Industrial designers employed by manufacturing firms use computer-aided industrial design (CAID) tools to produce designs and then fabricating instructions that can be read by machines that will produce the items. Industrial designers often make physical scale models of the products from wood, clay or other material to create a prototype of the product for presentation to the client.

Industrial designers usually specialize in a specific category such as automobiles, house wares, appliances, tools, medical equipment, toys, technology equipment, furniture, and construction equipment. Click here to find out how to become an industrial designer.

What kind of training does an industrial designer need?

Most employers require a bachelor degree in industrial design, engineering or architecture. Many degree programs offer industrial design internships at manufacturing companies or design firms to enable aspiring industrial designers to gain practical work experience. Many industrial designers obtain a master degree in industrial design or business administration to improve their employment opportunities and even manage their own business.

Industrial designers must have sound technical knowledge and focused creativity. They must also have a strong eye for color and detail with a well-developed sense of proportion and balance. Click here for a list of online industrial design degree programs.

What are the prospects for a career in industrial design?

Industrial designer jobs are projected to increase about 7% from 48,000 jobs in 2012 to more than 51,000 jobs in 2016. (1) Industrial designers who have strong engineering and computer-aided design backgrounds partnered with significant business specialization will have the best job opportunities. Click here to get a list of programs to get your industrial design degree online.

How much do industrial designers make?

Currently, the average entry-level industrial designer salary is between $42,192 and $54,316. The highest 10% earns more than $60,000 per year. (2)

For anyone considering how to become an industrial designer, this is a great career choice for someone who enjoys designing products and packaging for the everyday consumer. Industrial designers must have an artistic eye and good problem-solving skills. They must be able to work under stress and pressure and have exceptional time management skills.

If you are serious about a career in arts and design, check out our list of the best online graphic design schools.

Becoming an Industrial Designer Requires Training Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Industrial Designer? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the  College Mouse Degree Search tool  to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!

Written by:  Beatrice Harrison

Educated at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Beatrice Harrison has extensive professional experience in career counseling, having helped a growing number of job seekers find fulfilling and meaningful careers in a variety of fields and disciplines.

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