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 artistic ability, you develop successful 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 mining equipment or work on consumer electronics 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 will likely use computer-aided industrial design software (CAID) in the manufacturing or mining industries. The software develops machine-readable instructions that instruct machines to build a product.

industrial designer careers

average industrial designer salary

As an industrial designer, your remuneration package fluctuates based on your experience, qualifications and skills. Your average salary is $83,000 per year. Industrial designers in entry-level roles usually earn as low as $70,000 annually. Your remuneration package increases with experience and additional skills to $90,000 yearly.

While the main determinants of your earnings are experience and qualifications, other external factors affect your remuneration. For instance, the industry you work in influences your salary. When you work in a manufacturing company that produces consumer goods, you are likely to earn less than industrial designers in pharmaceutical, manufacturing or mining plants. You require specialised skills when you design medical equipment, mining machinery and other complex items. Hence, you can negotiate a higher remuneration based on the complexity of the role.

When you work for a small manufacturing company with limited resources, you will earn less than industrial designers working in large companies. Big companies have unlimited resources and pay more due to project complexity. Your location also influences your earnings. For instance, some states and territories have a higher demand for industrial designers, increasing the remuneration prospects. Some states also factor in the cost of living and adjust the salaries to meet the standards.

Want to know what you will earn as an industrial designer? Check out what you are worth with our salary checker.

industrial designer careers

types of industrial designers

Some of the types of industrial designers include:

  • sustainable designers: Sustainable designers innovate and promote products and production processes, emphasising environmental sustainability.
  • furniture designers: Furniture designers understand furniture design and manufacturing processes. They create functional, safe, comfortable and aesthetically pleasing furniture. They are involved in the process from designing drafts to manufacturing.
  • transport designers: Transport designers create new and improved designs for cars, trucks, trams and trains. They are involved in various planning and testing exercises before the project manufacturing and delivery phases.
A man looking at his desktop searching for the best jobs in 2022
A man looking at his desktop searching for the best jobs in 2022

working as an industrial designer

As an industrial designer, you design various products and tools for mass manufacture. Explore industrial designers' daily activities and work schedules if you enjoy creating product designs.


education and skills

Some of the educational qualifications of an industrial designer include the following:

  • education: to become an industrial designer, complete a bachelor's degree in industrial design. The course covers design technology and engineering and takes four years of full-time study. The first three years are for undergraduate study, while the additional year is for honours.
  • experience: you require practical experience to excel in the role. Seek internship opportunities to learn the ropes and develop a portfolio to show prospective employers. It would help if you also were a member of a professional body like the Design Institute of Australia.

industrial designer skills and competencies

As an industrial designer, you require the following skills and competencies:

  • artistic ability: as an industrial designer, you design products and consumer goods. For consumers to purchase the items, they should be aesthetically pleasing. You use your artistic ability to create beautiful product sketches and illustrations. Your artistic skills also help you develop fresh ideas and product designs for various items.
  • computer skills: as an industrial designer, you use computer-aided design tools to develop models for product designs. Having computer skills helps you use computer-aided software and improves your proficiency in AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
  • research skills: as an industrial designer, you are involved in consultation to help clients decide on the ideal product design. You rely on your research skills to determine consumer needs and the feasibility of a product design.
  • analytical skills: you require analytical skills to determine if new ideas are feasible. With logical thinking and reasoning, you can determine the best ideas.

FAQs about working as an industrial designer

Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of an industrial designer.

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