Industrial Designer / Product Designer

Industrial designers are responsible for the design, development and preparation of products for manufacture. They are particularly concerned with the ergonomic (human) factors, marketing considerations and manufacturability, when preparing designs and specifications of products for mass or batch production.

Industrial designers often work as part of a product development team, collaborating with other specialist such as mechanical engineers, and electrical engineers. These specialists may work on the mechanical/electrical components of the product, while the industrial designer works on the overall structure, appearance and the way the user operates the product.

It is common for Industrial designers to be employed by manufacturing companies in the development and maintenance of a product line (e.g. cars, electronics) as part of the manufacturer's core business. While others work for design consultancies in the research and development of new and occasional products as determined by market needs.

Job titles can vary: as well as Industrial/ Product Designer you are also likely to come across 'CAD Designer' or 'Design Engineer'.

Industrial designers may perform the following tasks:

  • Determines the objectives and constraints of the design brief by consulting with clients and stakeholders
  • undertakes product research and analyses functional, commercial, cultural and aesthetic requirements
  • consult with other specialists such as mechanical engineers and electrical engineers to ensure functionality
  • prepare drawings, illustrations, models and prototypes to assist in the decision making process, demonstrate and test the viability of the product
  • selects, specifies and recommends functional and aesthetic materials, production methods and finishes for manufacture
  • organise and oversee the production and development
  • oversee subsequent adjustments and refinements of the product

Freelance Industrial Designers

Freelance Industrial designers fulfill similar roles to industrial designers; however in addition to the above, freelance designers also need to complete the necessary paperwork and administration associated with self-employment.