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What do Industrial Designers do?

They blend art, engineering, business, sociology, and anthropology. Industrial designers experiment and invent. They also prefer to specialize. A designer may choose electronics, for example, cell phones, as his/her area of expertise. Another, with the appropriate scientific and medical training, may focus on the design of medical equipment. Industrial designers may work in tandem with marketing specialists and production engineers to test the manufacturing capability and feasibility of a model.

Degree Options

There are three degrees at the undergraduate level. These are a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, and a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Science. Although the general requirement courses may differ, most of the core classes devoted to the major will be similar.

The curriculum of Bachelor of Science may encompass the area of design, graphics, and the psychology of design. Design looks at what it takes to perform in industrial design. What tools and methods will best accomplish your tasks as a designer? You may practice designs using Computer Aided Design (CAD).

Graphics are a form of communication. You accomplish this by becoming proficient with color, using different styles in type, communicating through social networks, and working with photography. You may also have classes in the application of videography.

The psychological aspect in design refers to the inclusion of human factors. How do the thinking and perception of humans affect design? A brilliant design is of little use if it does not appeal to the psyche of the buyer.

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Bachelor of Industrial Design

There are several schools with this title for their degree in the major. By the second year of a four-year program, you have finished the general courses that might include Composition, Fine Arts, Mathematics, and History. Similar to the science degree, the curriculum intends to provide the artistic and technological skills required for the profession. Students learn not only about design techniques, but also materials and their traits.

Bachelor of Fine Arts

This degree will offer the same career opportunities in the design of an array of products including medical devices, prosthetics, and sports products, as well as household and industrial products, tools and accessories. In this endeavor, you can expect classes to involve 2D and 3D Dimensional Design, Ergonomics, Drawing, and studio assignments.

A Fine Arts program typically emphasizes aesthetics. However, you will still learn about the technicalities of design. Your education involves the appropriate uses of polymers, different materials, casting, and manufacturing. You will gain knowledge in visualization, designing prototypes, commercialization of products, and creative thinking.

Bachelor of Design

This degree typically refers to a program that offers a choice of specializations. For example, the University of Illinois at Chicago has a Bachelor of Design (BDes) in two areas: Graphic Design and Industrial Design. The latter looks at design from a fabrication point of view. The program focuses on how a design will solve a problem for people. You need to understand the history of design and the evolution of design methods to master current trends in design.

questionOther Considerations

Although the degree titles differ, the coursework is similar in most programs. In addition to selecting one that meets your career goals, also verify if the National Association of Schools of Art & Design (NASAD) accredits the institution. Since 1944, NASAD has accredited undergraduate and graduate programs at colleges, universities, and art schools. By selecting a school with this accreditation, you choose an institution that meets a standard of excellence in design and art. These standards reflect on the quality of the faculty, the curriculum, the technology, and even the library of the respective institution.

NASAD has a directory of their accredited learning institutions. From community colleges to graduate schools, these comprise their list of approved programs.

Another consideration in your school selection is how much hands-on experience you will experience. You need to learn the history and methods of design, as well as have the benefit of studio-based projects. Will you be creating computerized 3D models or to-scale models? Does the program have 3D printers? Take a look at what companies associated with the school. There are prestigious companies, such as Bose, Calphalon, Converse, Hasbro, and Lucent Technologies who support the school’s design program. This affiliation may bode well for job placement upon graduation.

Additional Resources

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