what is an industrial designer?

As an industrial designer, you develop the concepts for manufactured products. You create products like cars, electronics, home appliances and toys. By combining engineering knowledge with arts, you develop the best consumer products. As an industrial designer, you imagine ways a consumer may use a product and find unique designs that create value for customers. Some industrial designers focus on a specific product category. For instance, you can join a team to design medical equipment or work on consumer electronic products like computers and smartphones. Industrial designers also develop ideas and designs for automobiles and furniture.

Industrial designers work alongside engineers, product experts or marketing specialists to incorporate consumer requirements into product designs. For instance, you work with production experts to ascertain that the designs are feasible for the market and suitable for production.

As an industrial designer, you use computer-aided design software (CAD) to sketch ideas since computers make drawing and changing details easy. You are likely to use computer-aided industrial design software (CAID) in manufacturing industries. The software develops machine-readable instructions that instruct machines to build a product.

Would working as an industrial designer suit your artistic abilities and creativity? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in an industrial designer role.

industrial designer jobs

average industrial designer salary

According to ONS, the average industrial designer salary is £37,500 annually. The average hourly rate is £19.23. Entry-level positions attract a compensation package of £31,375 per year. As you improve your skills and expertise, your salary increases gradually and your earnings peak at £50,000 annually. Working overtime usually attracts overtime pay at higher rates than standard hourly rates.

how to increase your salary as an industrial designer

As an industrial designer, your compensation package depends on your work experience and qualifications. You have low bargaining power when you are new with minimal qualifications and experience. An experienced industrial designer can negotiate a higher salary based on the knowledge and skills they bring to the table.

The product you design and the industry sector also affect your compensation. If you design cars or automobiles, you are likely to take home a higher pay than an industrial designer who creates toys or housewares. Electronic products may also attract higher salaries due to their popularity and specialisation requirements.

smiling working man
smiling working man

types of industrial designers

Some of the types of industrial designers include:

automotive designer: as an industrial automotive designer, you create designs for products associated with transportation. You design the automotive concept for public transportation methods like trains. Some industrial designers also design aircraft interiors. The role requires detailed knowledge of software programmes and engineering.

tool designer: as an industrial tools designer, you focus on designing the initial prototypes for modern machinery. You use industrial drawing concepts, engineering data and complex calculations to design tools used in industrial production. You develop the preliminary sketches and use drafting equipment to prepare technical drawings and models for the equipment.

automobile designer: as an industrial automobile designer, you combine your technical skills and creativity to enhance vehicles' aerodynamic design and style. You are trained in automobile part designs, drawings and overall structure to create attractive and stylish automobiles.


working as an industrial designer

A career as an industrial designer usually focuses on creating a functional product with an attractive external appearance. The role requires hands-on participation in design and manufacturing to achieve the best outcomes. Read on for details on the tasks and work environments associated with the role.


education and skills

Some of the routes of becoming an industrial designer:

  • university course: to become an industrial designer, pursue a foundation degree, higher national diploma or undergraduate degree. Some relevant subjects include product design, industrial product design and engineering. Alternatively, pursue courses covering a particular design subject with options like automotive engineering or furniture design. After completing the courses, consider getting work experience through internships to improve your job prospects.
  • apprenticeship: instead of pursuing a degree in industrial design, complete an engineering product design and development degree apprenticeship. The programme covers academic study at an approved institution and combines it with workplace learning. The apprenticeship programme typically takes around 60 months to complete.

industrial designer skills and competencies

While technical knowledge is essential in industrial design, having the following qualities also improves your job prospects:

  • analytical skills: as an industrial designer, you rely on logical thinking and analytical skills to analyse consumer needs. These skills help you develop design concepts that address consumers' preferences.
  • artistic ability: as an industrial designer, you require artistic skills to draw aesthetically appealing design concepts for clients. Your drawing skills help you create the best design drawings.
  • computer skills: since you rely on CAD and CAID software to draw the designs of various products, computing skills are essential. They help you create the best virtual models and prototypes for clients.
  • creativity: as an industrial designer, you participate in brainstorming sessions to develop a product's initial design concepts. Creativity helps you create unique designs.
serious working man
serious working man


FAQs about working as an industrial designer

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