How to Become an Industrial Designer
A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs.
A bachelor’s degree is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. It is also important for industrial designers to have an electronic portfolio with examples of their design projects.
A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level industrial design jobs. Most industrial design programs include courses in drawing, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and three-dimensional modeling, as well as courses in business, industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods.
The National Association of Schools of Art and Design accredits more than 360 postsecondary colleges, universities, and independent institutes with programs in art and design. Many schools require successful completion of some basic art and design courses before granting entry into a bachelor’s degree program. Applicants also may need to submit sketches and other examples of their artistic ability.
Many programs provide students with the opportunity to build a professional portfolio of their designs from classroom projects, internships, or other experiences. Students can use these examples of their work to demonstrate their design skills when applying for jobs and bidding on contracts for work.
Analytical skills. Industrial designers use logic or reasoning skills to study consumers and recognize the need for new products.
Artistic ability. Industrial designers sketch their initial design ideas, which are used later to create prototypes. As such, designers must be able to express their design through illustration.
Computer skills. Industrial designers use computer-aided design software to develop their designs and create prototypes.
Creativity. Industrial designers must be innovative in their designs and the ways in which they integrate existing technologies into their new product.
Interpersonal skills. Industrial designers must develop cooperative working relationships with clients and colleagues who specialize in related disciplines.
Mechanical skills. Industrial designers must understand how products are engineered, at least for the types of products that they design.
Problem-solving skills. Industrial designers determine the need, size, and cost of a product; anticipate production issues; develop alternatives; evaluate options; and implement solutions.
Experienced designers in large firms may advance to chief designer, design department head, or other supervisory positions. Some designers become teachers in design schools or in colleges and universities. Many teachers continue to consult privately or operate small design studios in addition to teaching. Some experienced designers open their own design firms.