As the pandemic has made us re-evaluate our medium for education. Online courses have become one of the fastest-growing markets in the education industry. According to Statista, by 2026 over 370 billion US dollars are forecasted to enter this industry. The internet has become an endless resource hub, where most skills are easily accessible. Within the realm of design, industrial designers can find courses that directly and indirectly link to their work. This article offers 10 online courses suitable for industrial designers which will help expand your design knowledge, aiming to better understand your course or profession. The courses mentioned are run by professors from a variety of universities as well as professionals working in their field. 

1. Introduction to Product Design Online Short Course | Industrial Designers 

This online course by UAL is a great start to product design to begin the journey of becoming an industrial designer. The course is set to provide understanding at both a theoretical and practical level. Within the duration of this course, you will be able to develop your project and make a meaningful development to the design through hands-on experimentation. The online course is set out to help you receive useful feedback and continuous learning through tasks. For industrial designers, this course will help you understand the design process as well as work with other attendees. 

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The start of the design process. ©

2. Human-Centred Design for Work at a Distance

This is an online course run by the University of British Columbia which aims to provide primary understanding on human-centred concepts and strategies. Industrial design is consistent with designing for our needs and being able to derive a foundation for our designs is crucial to becoming better designers. Similarly, the online course helps you overcome challenges surrounding human-centred design. The course also helps build your physical skill set, where you will generate prototypes. In the end, you will be taught how to understand other people’s designs and use them as precedents for your work.

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Stages of creating a design that is human-centred. ©

3. Sustainability Science- A Key Concept for Future Design 

This online course provided by the University of Tokyo gives an in-depth understanding of sustainability science. While not providing a direct link to designing products, developing a deeper understanding of our environment and especially sustainability can have a much greater impact on our designs. It offers both historical and current sustainability issues on a global scale. If your designs are linked to nature, the course can give you are more in-depth understanding of human nature and sustainable societies. While our studies are often focused on the countries we live in, this course will give you an insight from a Japanese perspective.

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Diagram indicating how to ensure the product is sustainable at each stage.  ©

4. Product Design: The Delft Design Approach 

The TU Delft product design course offers beginners a suitable approach to start their design process. The course guides you from understanding the user and utilising this to create a meaningful design catered to their needs. Not only will you be able to benefit from the knowledge of professionals, but the course includes designing and delivering your product. This course will help you generate ideas but also offer another level of critical thinking where ideas are filtered to give the most promising ideas your attention. 

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Image 4_Different forms of presenting your design process. © Adam Theosone on Behance

5. Principles of Manufacturing | Industrial Designers 

The Principles of Manufacturing is a course created by MIT. The course aims to help you develop a new perspective when designing. Moreover, the course helps industrial designers piece together each stage of the manufacturing process ensuring an understanding of rate, quality, cost, and flexibility throughout. The course ensures that optimal awareness is maintained at a more complex level beyond basic design. If your interests lie beyond simply designing but want to gain an understanding of the process, this course will show you methods of designing supply chain systems. 

All of the stages of the design process including technology used throughout. ©

6. Theories of Media and Technology 

The combination of media and technology is presented through this course run by NYU. This online course will help you understand the impact of media and technology as well as creating a concept with this groundwork. This course emphasises linking trends, issues to your designs. The ability to apply knowledge and translate this into a greater framework will help industrial designers, design more meaningful products. It is the ability to identify trends that help enhance the design process and the final product. 

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Product design surrounding media consumption. ©

7. Packaging Design: Sketching Concepts That Surprise and Delight 

This design course has been developed by Evelio Mattos, an editor in chief of the packaging design blog The Dieline, which aims to connect packaging designers and provide sustainable solutions. To be able to convey your designs accurately sketching is an important step in the design process, in this course, sketching is an emphasised skill.  The course will set a specific task and the aim is to create a product suitable for its users focusing solely on the form and function of the product. At the last stage of the process, the cost of materials and their production will be discussed to ensure the impact of your design decisions are clear.

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Sketches during the design process. ©

8. Sustainable Packaging in a Circular Economy 

This course from TU Delft teaches industrial designers the impact their designs can have on the world. It is important for designs that often have a short product lifespan to be designed with the natural environment in mind. While most packaging is becoming more sustainable it is important to understand where the system is failing and how to counteract this through design. Despite a large amount of effort to guide users to recycle packaging, there are still large percentages of waste slipping through recycling systems and end up on waste sites instead. The course will guide and teach you how to design within a sustainable packaging system by exploring the business strategies of the circular economy

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Image 8_Simple sustainable packaging design. © SHEYN

9. Become an Industrial Designer 

This course is a clear run-through of the whole design process, from start to finish. This is an excellent course for those who are starting their product design journey or for those having gaps in some of their knowledge such as 3D modelling. Similar to the other courses, you will be guided by experts in their field. Some of the lessons include ‘Sketching for Product Design and AEC’, ‘Product Design: From CAD to 3D Model’ and ‘Reverse Engineering Foundations: Product Design’. You will be able to earn a certificate upon completion. 

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3D modelling of a console. ©

10. Introduction to 3D Design and Printing | Industrial Designers 

The final course which is important for industrial designers is understanding how to produce physical models for their designs. Augustin Arroyo will guide you on how to use different 3D modelling software as well as essential steps to take to develop 3D printed models. The course also offers knowledge on how a 3D printer works. You will be able to learn how to adapt your designs to the 3D printer. This course prepares industrial designers to make physical models throughout their design process. 

3D printing a complex object. ©

Halima Mohammed is an architecture student whose passions lie in investigating what makes design connect with us emotionally. She believes that architecture is always worth questioning and discussing, trusting that architecture can be analysed like a piece of literature.