Have you ever wanted to redesign your dashboard? With a blend of skills in art, business, and engineering, commercial and industrial designers develop and improve concepts for everyday products— from cars and appliances, to toys and sneakers. These designers take into account the function, appearance, production costs, and usability of products when developing new ideas. Some designers specialize in a type of product, such as bicycles or furniture, but they all make their designs with the client’s project requirements in mind. Their work spaces often have drawing tables to sketch designs, meeting rooms with whiteboards to brainstorm with colleagues, and computers and office equipment to prepare designs and communicate with clients. Engineers and other experts help industrial designers ensure their designs can actually be made. They may travel to testing facilities and to clients’ and users’ locations to ensure their designs are on track, and visit manufacturing facilities to observe production. Commercial and industrial designers may need to meet with clients on weekends or evenings. Those who are self-employed or work in consulting firms also spend time looking for projects and competing for contracts. A bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering is usually required for entry-level positions. An electronic portfolio of design projects is needed to apply for jobs.
What they do:
Design and develop manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.
On the job, you would:
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.
Engineering and Technology
product and service development
Manufactured or Agricultural Goods
manufacture and distribution of products
Math and Science
arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
reading work related information
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it
Ideas and Logic
come up with lots of ideas
create new and original ideas
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
People interested in this work like activities that include creating, designing, and making your own rules.
They do well at jobs that need:
Attention to Detail
You might use software like this on the job:
Computer aided design CAD software
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks
Video creation and editing software
Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects
Graphics or photo imaging software
Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Cloud software
Trimble SketchUp Pro
bachelor's degree or some college usually needed
Get started on your career:
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.