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Career profile Industrial Designer

Also known as Design Engineer, Designer, Industrial Designer, Mechanical Designer, Mold Designer, Product Design Engineer, Product Designer, Product Development Engineer, Sign Designer

Industrial Designer

Also known as Design Engineer, Designer, Industrial Designer

Interests Profile
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
  • Realistic
Pay Range
$41,860 - $118,440 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Active Listening
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Design
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Prepare sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
  • Modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Evaluate feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
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What does an Industrial Designer do?

Industrial Designers design and develop manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys.

In addition, Industrial Designers combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

What kind of tasks does an Industrial Designer perform regularly?

Industrial Designers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Prepare sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
  • Modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Evaluate feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
  • Present designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval and discuss need for modification.
  • Confer with engineering, marketing, production, or sales departments, or with customers, to establish and evaluate design concepts for manufactured products.
  • Research production specifications, costs, production materials, and manufacturing methods and provide cost estimates and itemized production requirements.
  • Direct and coordinate the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
  • Investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using, and maintaining it.
  • Develop manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to improve operations and product quality.
  • Participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products.
  • Read publications, attend showings, and study competing products and design styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate design concepts.
  • Fabricate models or samples in paper, wood, glass, fabric, plastic, metal, or other materials, using hand or power tools.

The above responsibilities are specific to Industrial Designers. More generally, Industrial Designers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment
Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

What is an Industrial Designer salary?

The median salary for an Industrial Designer is $71,640, and the average salary is $76,290. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Industrial Designer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Industrial Designers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Industrial Designers earn less than $41,860 per year, 25% earn less than $54,820, 75% earn less than $94,190, and 90% earn less than $118,440.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Industrial Designers is expected to change by 5.7%, and there should be roughly 3,100 open positions for Industrial Designers every year.

Median annual salary
$71,640
Typical salary range
$41,860 - $118,440
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
5.7%

What personality traits are common among Industrial Designers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Industrial Designer are usually higher in their Artistic, Enterprising, and Realistic interests.

Industrial Designers typically have very strong Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

Also, Industrial Designers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Industrial Designers typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Industrial Designer tend to value Relationships, Achievement, and Independence.

Most importantly, Industrial Designers strongly value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Second, Industrial Designers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Lastly, Industrial Designers moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Industrial Designers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, initiative, and dependability.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Industrial Designers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Industrial Designers need?

Many Industrial Designers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Industrial Designers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Industrial Designers

  • 2.0% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 5.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 14.9% completed some college coursework
  • 5.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 58.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 12.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 1.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Industrial Designers

Industrial Designers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as design, engineering and technology, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Industrial Designers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.

Important Abilities needed by Industrial Designers

Industrial Designers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Industrial Designers need abilities such as originality, near vision, and fluency of ideas in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Industrial Designers, ranked by their relative importance.

Originality
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Fluency of Ideas
The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Critical Skills needed by Industrial Designers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Industrial Designers frequently use skills like active listening, reading comprehension, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Industrial Designers, ranked by their relative importance.

Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.