Famous and not-so famous Industrial Designers

What do these names have in common-Russel Wright, Eva Zeisel, Jony Ive, Marc Newsom, and Raymond Loewy? None of them is a household name. However, they are famous in their own right. Add James Dyson to the list, and you may guess that they are industrial designers. Dyson is familiar to many as the inventor of a brand of vacuum and other products that bear his name. He is an inventor and industrial design engineer.

Individuals set on a career in this field would love to attain the success of Jonathan (Jony) Ive. He was born in London, England and as an undergraduate, he won the coveted Student Design Award. Probably few people recognize the recipient of the 2013 Knight Commander of the British Empire. Hundreds of millions use products he designed for Apple. Sir Jony Ive is their Chief Design Officer.

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The example above illustrates where your degree in industrial design could take you. You may not receive as many awards as Mr. Ive, but this should not deter you from pursuing industrial design. However, before you start researching schools with industrial design programs, you need to assess your qualifications. Are you creative? Did you spend your spare time as a child doodling and sketching? Have you looked at a product with the realization that you could improve its design? If you answer these in the affirmative, you may have a flair for this art form.

The art of design applies to a host of industries. A short list is automobiles, furniture, electronics, appliances, household gadgets, machinery, and packaging. Despite the range of employment areas, the job growth is only 4%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The increase represents a change in 1,800 jobs over ten years (2016-2026). As of 2016, there were 39,700 employed in the profession with a median salary of $65,970.

The BLS reports that the majority (31%) work in manufacturing, followed by self-employed designers (19%). The industry with the highest number of workers is in Specialized Design Services (3,980). The best pay is in the section of software publishers ($97,150). Unfortunately, only 40 people work in this group in the U.S.

If you want to go where the jobs are, you should consider Michigan. According to the BLS, there are 5,690 industrial designers in the state. California is second with 3,610. In the former state, the concentration of jobs (3,550) is in the Warren-Troy-Farmington Hills areas. New York-Jersey City-White Plains is the next highest metropolitan location with 2,080 employees.

One way to examine where you can work in industrial design is to review current job postings online. Some of the sources are ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Monster. Type in the profession and numerous opportunities appear in diverse industries.design smart

The following are random examples of businesses that require designers.

Packaging

The design of a package attracts a consumer’s attention. Before the brand reaches retail, it goes through two and three-dimensional creations. Designers build models and prototypes for analysis by management. Marketing may provide their assessment of the sales potential of the design.

Children’s Toys and Playthings

Design with a child in mind. The toy industry generates over five billion dollars in U.S. sales. The famous names are Hasbro, Mattel, and Lego. Hasbro, for example, made over $1 billion from its Transformer brand. The high revenue came with the help of designers whose creation became the desire of millions of children. Therefore, there is a need for designers for playthings. Their design must capture a child’s attention, such as dollhouses, furniture, action figures, games, and stuffed animals.

Home Goods

Retail sales of furniture and home furnishings in the United States exceed $100 billion annually. Mattress sales alone have revenue of approximately $8 billion. Companies in these businesses hire industrial designers. You can work in outdoor furniture, furnishings, mattresses, and lighting as a designer. Your proficiency in 3D modeling, use of Adobe Suite, knowledge of textiles and composite materials, and a bachelor’s degree could secure your job in this field.

Electronics

Consumer electronics is another large revenue market. From stereo speakers, sound bars, televisions, and computers, there is a designer on the payroll. Couple your creativity with knowledge of electrical engineering and you may have what it takes for this profession. Companies focus on candidates with a bachelor’s degree along with the skill to visualize, face challenges, and collaborate with development technicians.

Conclusion

The jobs above just scratch the surface. The employment possibilities extend to sprinkler systems, baby products, cookware, art supplies, recreation, and many more. There are also jobs in consulting firms who work with clients across the globe. As a design consultant, you engage Fortune 500 companies, small private enterprises, and non-profit organizations.

Additional Resources

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