What is an Industrial Designer
Ever since my days at University, people would ask 'So what is an Industrial Designer?'. My simple answer would be, we're product designers however it was not quite that simple. A product designer can be one of many things including website, systems, furniture, automotive...the list goes on.
I've decided the best way to describe what we as Industrial designers do is as follows: "We design physical products, usually on mass to improve or provide novel forms and functions to the world".
To break it down, 'Industrial designers explore solutions to meet marketing, manufacturing and financial requirements and arrive at the optimum design of a product.' https://www.design.org.au/designindustry/design-disciplines-2/industrial-design
Industrial designers not only provide for form and function they take special consideration to the ergonomics and development for human centered design. The process generally includes a client providing a brief, which is interpreted by the designer. Iterations of concept are created, bringing the idea to a visual presentation. After the concept is considered and approved, a process using CAD (Computer Aided Design) is used to develop the concept in 3D. This process can then produce 3D renders providing the end user with a real world visual representation of their idea.
Often the client will need to feel their product before committing to manufacture, and this is where the process of 3D printing and rapid prototyping comes in. Depending on the requirements, 3D printing is often a fast and cost effective solution to provide a detailed representation of a product. The whole process from iteration to prototype, is overseen and refinements and adjustments are made before manufacturing.
Industrial Designers provide detailed plans and systems for assembly, material use and manufacturing and are involved in the tooling and production where necessary. Depending on the size of the brief and in most cases, Industrial Designers work within a product development team consisting of marketers, engineers & managers. The main aim for the Designer is to work on the overall structure of the product, it's form and its function according to how the user will react with it.
Its common for Industrial Designers to work for Manufacturing companies but usually will consult to these companies as most manufactures don't use internal design teams and don't have development capabilities.
If you've ever looked at your water bottle with the spring lid, or scrolled Facebook with your wireless mouse, or asked Alexa to turn your TV on, you have, in-part an Industrial Designer to thank.