What Is Industrial Design?
Often associated with the term design, industrial design is a professional discipline that focuses on the design of products and processes, with an emphasis on form, functionality and usability. Industrial designers work with engineers, marketers, manufacturing staff, and other professionals to develop concepts and specifications for products, negotiating design solutions to maximize the benefit for end users and the manufacturer.
Industrial design often relates to visual and interior design, but may also overlap with engineering design. Industrial design is commonly taught at vocational schools or universities. The degree a student earns is usually a Bachelor of Industrial Design or a Master of Fine Arts. Some colleges and universities offer advanced degrees in industrial design, such as a Master of Design or a Master of Engineering.
The origins of industrial design lie in the transition from the industrial revolution to mass production of consumer goods. Industrial design became a profession in the early 19th century, when draftsmen began to prepare patterns for silk manufacture. Early designers straddled the lines between art and engineering. In the late 1800s, the first design schools began to appear in the United States. Today, most industrial designers work in small teams. They use CAD programs, and often use a 3D printing process to produce prototypes.
Industrial design has been employed in many countries, with varying degrees of success. For example, the United States has embraced industrial policies in response to perceived external threats. The government has created programs to support strategic industries, such as the defense advanced research projects agency (DARPA), which paved the way for the modern internet. Other programs include the manufacturing USA initiative, which promotes advanced manufacturing, and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA-Energy), which focuses on developing new energy technologies.
During the industrial revolution, early industrial designers focused on the aesthetics of products. Today, industrial designers use a variety of design methodologies, including user research, comparative product research, and model making. They also test their designs in focus groups to find the best solution. These designers may also affect the technical aspects of products through usability design, form relationships, and the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Industrial designers are a highly transdisciplinary profession that bridges the gap between what is and what is possible. Their primary responsibility is to create competitive advantage over similar products. They design products that are aesthetically pleasing and improve product functionality. They can also simplify designs to increase the manufacturability of a product, reducing time and costs to market. In addition, industrial designers develop industrial standards and specifications for products.
Industrial design is an important profession that enables business to be more successful. It also leads to a better quality of life through innovative products. Whether it’s a chair or a car, every object we use in our everyday lives is the result of industrial design. Designers create products that are aesthetically pleasing, optimize functionality, and provide lasting value for end users. They use a variety of methodologies and techniques, including 3D printing, and focus on overall user experience.