Regardless of the retail industry you’re in, the products that sell best are the ones with the most effective design scheme, so they are both easy to use and aesthetically pleasing. The person responsible for the look and usability of these products is known as an industrial designer.
It is an industrial designer’s job to shape and accessorize products to have the ultimate appeal to consumers. If you have ever been using a product and thought, “This handle should be curved more,” or “Why doesn’t this lid fit more tightly?”, industrial design may be for you.
Industrial Designer Education Requirements
Industrial design demands a high level of engineering knowledge. A designer must have an in-depth understanding of how a product works in order to alter the product without impeding functionality. Making a product more functional is ideal, so the better educated you are in engineering principles, the better a candidate you will be in the eyes of company hiring managers.
Securing an entry-level position in the industry will require at least a bachelor’s degree, but previous work experience proves highly beneficial. You will begin to build your portfolio during your college career, but working on your own projects on the side can greatly enhance your portfolio by the time you graduate. Taking an internship with a company and working closely with skilled industrial designers is also vital in gaining real-world experience that looks good on resumes.
Increasing Your Desirability
Along with an eye-catching portfolio, an enhanced degree or secondary degree proves highly advantageous to those looking to score an industrial design position with a major company. A business, accounting, or marketing education is beneficial, because as an industrial designer you will need to look at all aspects of a product’s design, not just the look and operation. Being able to work within budget constraints, to get inside the heads of consumers to know what they want, and to manage material suppliers makes you the most effective industrial designer you can be.
Industrial Designer Salary
If you get your education squared away, and your portfolio in top-notch condition, you can build a lucrative career in industrial design. To compete in the marketplace, companies need their products to be the best, so if you have a proven eye for creating successful products, you’ll be in high demand.
While the bottom rung of industrial designers make less than $35,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage is nearly $60,000 a year. How much you can earn depends heavily upon your focus area. What many would consider the “fun” positions in the field – those in entertainment and sports – come in at a median wage under $44,000. Designers in manufacturing fields (retail product creation), however, can expect to make between $50,000 and $60,000.
Top pay in the field goes to those in the area of architecture and engineering, who earn a median pay of nearly $70,000 per year.
Industrial design is a hybrid occupation that falls somewhere between the scientific and creative fields. While you must understand the mechanics involved, you have a lot of freedom to be creative with product designs, and, in fact, are encouraged to do so. Your creativity is the greatest benefit you offer to any company for whom you work. As an industrial designer, you are both engineer and artist, and your work will be on display on shelves all around the world for consumers to admire and purchase.