Often there is a lot of confusion about whether product design and industrial design are similar. Do product designers and industrial designers do similar jobs? Or do they differ in their work and job philosophy? Long story short, product design is a part of industrial design and vice-versa. Both product and industrial design certainly overlap each other in a few areas but the silver lining can be identified by the typology of the study and its end goal.

Career Guide: Industrial Design Sheet1
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Product design involves the process of inventing products that are tangible to its users by developing user-centric designs that are conceptualized and evaluated for the idea of further development. The product designer’s role is to design products that are an amalgamation of art, science, and technology whereas industrial design brings together this artistic form and usability of product design and combines it with the ergonomic aspects which generate ideas for the development and mass-production of these products. 

The industrial design also combines the communication and core services of the value-adding business aspect to the end product.   

Evolution of the Field

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Evolution is inevitable and looking back at the past certainly provides us with answers that pave our way forward into the future, and that helps us develop and invent new products. Product design is dated way back in the era of the industrial revolution since the mid 18th century. Evolution in this field depends on the varying and changing needs of the people, day to day and time to time. 

From the industrial revolution during the 18th century to the postmodern and modern revolution of the 2000s, product/industrial design has developed many folds due to the significant demand and supply of mass production of products for the users and various design industries. From product design being a job of craftsmen who made handmade products to products being designed and manufactured in mass and used by millions across the globe, the evolution in this field was rapid and evident. With advanced software developments and technological inventions, product/industrial design is one of the fast-growing and evolving industries in the world. 

Career Scope in Product/Industrial design

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Product/Industrial design offers a pool of opportunities in the field of product design and manufacturing industries. Consumers run the world and the economy. There is always going to be something new or the demand for number one products in the industry never goes out of flow, this provides tremendous opportunities in industries, and demand for the product/industrial designers keeps growing day by day. Product/industrial designers are trained to meet the huge demands of ever-evolving industries. Product/industrial designers possess fresh ideas and skillsets that help them to create innovative products and designs that work efficiently in meeting the growing demands of a variety of users worldwide. 

Some of the career options in this field include; product manager, marketer, product designer, design consultant, advertising director, product manufacturer, etc. Hence this field provides ample career opportunities and scope for career aspects. Product/industrial design overlaps or works with various multinational organizations and advanced engineering design forces generating widespread exposure to multitudes in the other industries as well.

Qualifications Needed to be an Industrial Designer/Product Designer

Career Guide: Industrial Design Sheet4
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The basic qualification to become a product/industrial designer is to hold a Bachelor’s degree in the fields of industrial design, engineering, architecture, or any other similar design dominant field. Basic undergraduate degrees are Bachelors of Design (B.Design), Bachelors of Engineering (B.E or B.Tech) in any engineering branch, and Bachelors of Architecture (B.Arch). Additionally, product/industrial designers can broaden their horizons by holding a second degree of master’s education (M.Design) Masters in Design. Although, a few product designers also pursue a foundation degree or a HND (Higher National Diplomas) in design-related subjects. 

Skill Requirements for an Industrial Designer/Product Designer

Skills as a product/industrial designer are very essential for excellence and development in the field of product/industrial design. Few key skill requirements are:

  • A high degree of technical knowledge along with creative design development skills.
  • Analyzing and problem-solving skills along with a user-centric mindset.
  • Ability to visualize and develop products that meet commercial demands.
  • Computer literacy and the ability to handle graphic intended and design-centric software. 
  • Knowledge of the current and future trends in product/industrial design and development.
  • Knee with the industrial standards, processes, and techniques. 
  • Communication skills in the consumer-centric world.
  • Willingness to build positive relationships with team members in improving the overall teamwork that is put into different stages of the product/industrial design industry.

Top Countries to Pursue Industrial Design/Product Design

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The countries where industries are booming and evolving and producing world-class products give scope for establishing design schools, colleges, and universities for students to pursue this field of product/industrial design. This provides a mental and physical environment for students to study this broad field which involves ample theoretical and practical learning. 

The top countries to pursue product/industrial design are The United States of America (USA), United Kingdom (U.K), Canada and Switzerland. The Average Salary for a Product/Industrial Designer is $ 110,334 per annum in the USA; £47,702 per annum in the U.K; C$ 65,827 per annum in Canada; and 70,469Fr per annum in Switzerland.

Online Courses to Enroll for Aspirants of Industrial Design/Product Design

  • Master Digital Product Design: UX Research and UI Design. (Available on Udemy).
  • Product Design, Prototyping, and Testing. (Available on www.edx.org/learn/industrial-design)
  • Product Design Engineering. (Available on www.cloudkampuz.com/certified/course

References 

Ignitec – Product Design Consultancy, Creative Technology and R&D Lab – Ignitec Product Design, Bristol. (2019). Product design & industrial design, what is the difference? | Ignitec. [online] Available at: https://www.ignitec.com/insights/product-design-and-industrial-design-whats-the-difference [Accessed 27 Aug. 2021].

Wikipedia Contributors (2019). Industrial design. [online] Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design.

Designerrs (2021). Time travel through the evolution of Product Design. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.com/detaux/time-travel-through-the-evolution-of-product-design-957221705313.

www.productplan.com. (n.d.). What is Product Design? | Definition, History and Tools of Product Design. [online] Available at: https://www.productplan.com/glossary/product-design.

www.prospects.ac.uk. (n.d.). Product designer job profile | Prospects.ac.uk. [online] Available at: https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/product-designer.

www.payscale.com. (n.d.). Product Designer Salary in Switzerland | PayScale. [online] Available at: https://www.payscale.com/research/CH/Job=Product_Designer/Salary [Accessed 27 Aug. 2021].

Author

An architect, academic & an aspiring writer. Anvitha believes architecture is a way of life & written communication acts as a medium in connecting people & architecture. Embracing the other side of her life, she loves travelling, cooking , singing , dancing & is dying to be a dog parent one day.

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