What Do Commercial and Industrial Designers Do?
Nearly every product you can buy, from children’s toys to appliances to automobiles, begins existence on a designer’s drawing board or model. Commercial and industrial designers develop and create items to be manufactured and sold. As a designer, you will study usage, consumer trends, and raw materials, and apply your artistic and engineering skills to make marketable, functional, and appealing products for sale, according to a company’s needs and specifications.The field of commercial and industrial design is a fairly stable market, with steady demands from industry businesses. The number of available jobs is expected to rise 4% by 2022, with an expected 1,200 positions opening every year in companies around the country.
Commercial and Industrial Designers Skills and Abilities
Commercial and industrial designers have substantial knowledge in a number of areas. Depending on the specific position, you may need education in mechanics and engineering, as well as materials and production methods in order to understand the range and limits of the manufacturing process. For all design work, a good understanding of design techniques is required, along with high competency with computers. You must possess strong problem-solving and critical thinking skills to evaluate and choose the best options for products, and a creative streak for coming up with unique solutions. You also need strong communication skills to present your ideas for approval, and the ability to take and apply constructive criticism to your work.
Commercial and Industrial Designers Duties
As a commercial and industrial designer, you’ll be responsible for creating original designs for marketable products. You’ll do extensive research to develop appropriate items, including conferring with engineering and sales departments, studying competitive products, and participating in market research to determine what is in demand. Once you have a complete understanding of the requirements, you’ll brainstorm and develop concepts into functional designs, making sketches, diagrams and computer models. You’ll test for safety and standards, present your ideas to committees and customers, and take suggestions for modification into account to fabricate prototypes.Once a design is approved for production, you may be tasked with developing the manufacturing process, as well as designing graphics and materials for promotional advertising and packaging. Designers also assess the work of other designers and coordinate product lines to adapt to changing customer demands, and may be called upon to advise companies on corporate images and industry standards.
Commercial and Industrial Designers Tools and Technology
While designers these days still may make physical sketches and models, the majority of your work will be done on desktop, laptop and tablet computers, using graphics and video editors as well as computer-aided design (CAD) software and desktop publishing programs. You also will use email, databases and flash drives to share designs and for research. Designers in specific industries may employ some of the manufacturing tools required to work with particular materials to construct prototypes.
Education and Training for Commercial and Industrial Designers
The majority of industrial and commercial designer positions require a bachelor’s degree, particularly in design, engineering, or related fields. Additional training in commercial art and communications can be helpful for advancing in your career.
Commercial and Industrial Designers Salary
The average commercial and industrial designer makes a decent salary, at approximately $60,000-$70,000 a year. While entry-level and lower paying positions may be below $37,000 annually, designers in areas of high demand can be paid over $110,000 a year.
Commercial and Industrial Designers Jobs by Geography
Most commercial and industrial designers are employed in manufacturing centers and company headquarters. The majority of positions are concentrated in the Midwest between New York and Illinois, and other centers in California and Texas. Specific company locations vary widely, with some of the highest paid jobs in Massachusetts, Michigan and Nevada.