Powerful Geography
Industrial Designer

Industrial Designer

Industrial Designer

Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview:  Industrial designers develop the concepts for manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and toys. They combine art, business, and engineering to make products that people use every day. Industrial designers consider the function, aesthetics, production costs, and usability of products when developing new product concepts.  Some industrial designers focus on a particular product category. For example, they may design medical equipment or work on consumer electronics products, such as computers and smart phones. Other designers develop ideas for products such as new bicycles, furniture, housewares, and snowboards.  Other designers, sometimes called user interface designers or interaction designers, focus on the usability of a product, such as an electronic device, and ensure that the product is both simple and enjoyable to use.  Industrial designers imagine how consumers might use a product and test different designs with consumers to see how each design looks and works. Industrial designers often work with engineers, production experts, and market research analysts to find out if their designs are feasible. They apply the input from their colleagues’ professional expertise to further develop their designs. For example, industrial designers may work with market research analysts to develop plans to market new product designs to consumers.  Computers are a major tool for industrial designers. Industrial designers use two-dimensional computer-aided design and drafting (CADD) software to sketch ideas, because computers make it easy to make changes and show alternatives. Three-dimensional CAD software is increasingly being used by industrial designers as a tool to transform their two-dimensional designs into models with the help of three-dimensional printers. If they work for manufacturers, they also may use computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software to create specific machine-readable instructions that tell other machines exactly how to build the product.  Geography is important for industrial designers in understanding relationships between people, places, culture, and economics, and how successful products are dependent on sensitivity to location.

Geographers at work:  Industrial geographer, cultural geographer, economic geographer, environmental geographers, human geographers

Recommended College Courses:  Economic geography, cultural geography, industrial geography, environmental geography, human geography, natural resource use and management

Skills:  Understanding of economics, finance, markets, logistics, and labor, as well as how product design is influenced by geography (people and places); computer and database systems; critical thinking; teamwork

Occupation Group: Arts and Design

Learn more about Industrial Designer from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and U.S. Department of Labor:  https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/industrial-designers.htm#tab-1

Written by Christopher Anderson