Industrial Designers are responsible for designing all our favorite products we know and love. They work on product teams and create designs and schematics for products and take those ideas and turn them into  prototype products, They are also responsible for choosing the materials and processes that are used in the manufacturing process.

On average, an Industrial Designer earns between $34,610 and $94,250 annually.

Average Starting Salary:
The average starting salary for an entry-level Industrial Designer is $51,029 annually.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Consult with clients to determine design needs
  • Research products and how they will be used
  • Sketch either by hand, or on a computer to visualized ideas
  • Use computers programs to create virtual models of design concepts
  • Create prototypes of their designs
  • Examine materials and production costs to determine manufacturing needs
  • Work with other specialists to determine if their designs fill a need at a reasonable cost
  • Evaluate Product Safety
  • Determine whether designs are practical for users’ needs
  • Present designs and prototypes to clients or higher ups

Necessary Skills:

  • Analytical Skills
  • Artistic Ability
  • Computer Skills
  • Creativity
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Mechanical Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Business Savvy

Degree and Experience Requirements:
Typically, one only needs a Bachelors degree in Industrial Design, Architecture, engineering or another related field. While in school, they learn Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) programs, sketching, manufacturing methods and materials and other subjects essential to the process of design. Applicants often need to submit a portfolio of their work along with their application to show examples of their work. While in school, projects provide students to build a professional portfolio  which can help them attain a job after school. While most Industrial Designers may only need a Bachelor’s Degrees, it is often wise to earn a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), possibly down the road, in order to gain business skills. These skills come in handy when working with clients and determining design needs that fit within a firm’s budget.

Getting Started:
As with many fields, internships provide students and recent graduates opportunities to work with professional designers and build a professional portfolio of one’s work. There are also freelance opportunities for designs on a project by project basis and can lead to full-time opportunities.

Future Outlook: 
Demand Industrial Designers in expected to grow only by 4% over the next 10 years, which is slower than the average for all occupations. Consumers are demanding more new products now more than ever and can help to sustain the demand for designers. However, due to automation and increase in affordable manufacturing technology, demand in Manufacturing is expected to decrease significantly.  However, design software is becoming more readily available so it is very possible for one to be design their own products and be self-employed. With new technology and crowd-funding, anyone with a good idea is able to build their own business and sell their own products. It is also more common to hire designers on a project by project basis as needed to support product teams.

Companies That Employ Industrial Designer:

  • Manufacturing
  • Design Firms
  • Wholesale Trade
  • Architectural
  • Engineering

Traits of A Good Industrial Designer:

  • Free thinking
  • Artistic
  • Thoughtful
  • Eye for Design
  • Humility
  • Team Player
  • Artistic vision

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About the Author

MikeMike Gdovin has been blogging about technology since 2006 on his blog, He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Electronic Media from Kutztown University with a minor in Journalism, Public Relations and Business. In addition to blogging about technology, Mike is a video producer, technology consultant and social media expert.