Industrial design schools teach the conceptual thinking, drawing, drafting, and modeling that goes into the design of products. That includes everything from planes, trains, and automobiles to toothbrushes and water bottles. The field can even be extended to include processes and systems, including computing technology, which now plays a huge role in industrial design schools.
Industrial design has been an integral component of society since the Stone Age, when the first spears were produced and the first arrowheads were whittled from flint. Even these early devices had the same purpose as modern-day products: to improve the quality of life, either by making the impossible possible, or the difficult, easy. Maybe there weren’t any industrial design schools at that time, but there should have been.
Industrial Design Schools Produce Creative Problem Solvers
Industrial designers constantly use both sides of their brain, the creative problem-solving side as well as the methodical, logical, left-brain. On one hand, designers are asked to create new contributions to their host company’s product line. For this aspect of their work, they need to be aesthetically minded, keeping up with current fashion and trends and producing work that is elegant, sharp, and unique.
In contrast, a designer will also need to know how much materials cost and weigh, how durable they are, and how to piece together components to achieve the desired effect. Occasionally, they need to perform or compile research, build models, test, etc. They are artists and physicists, rolled into one, clean, presentable package. They can do it all.
Talk to a professor at industrial design school about anything and you will quickly realize how much people in this industry enjoy thinking in three dimensions. They think about products that will function in the real world and look good while doing so. Even ethereal concepts tend to take up six-walled rooms in a designer’s brain.
Professionals in this industry tend to think innovatively about improving existing systems or creating ways to accomplish feats no one had previously considered. To this end, they design tools, products, or packages for any number of human endeavors, from transportation to industry, business, and consumer activities.
Industrial Design Schools Designers can work freelance but tend to work in groups. This becomes increasingly true as an employer increases in scope. Automobile companies, for instance, employ hundreds of research and development personnel such as engineers, designers, market researchers, and managers. Engineers communicate necessary specifications to designers, who then translate them into a product that has aesthetic appeal. Smaller firms work with small groups or sometimes just one designer, but these are rare.
As a field, industrial design is highly competitive and it is typically better to know early on whether you may be interested in pursuing it. Classes such as drawing, wood shop, sculpting, and even drafting are sometimes required for entry into some of the top undergraduate industrial design schools, so you will want a couple of years’ preparation before applying in earnest. It is not the end of the world if you find yourself interested in industrial design school in your senior year, but it can mean that a different track may be necessary. You may need to take a year of drawing, drafting, and sculpting classes in college and then apply to transfer. And sometimes the decision is not made until a year or two of college has been completed. These professionals seek their education in design after college, enrolling in a two-or three-year graduate program.
Industrial design school is competitive to enter and the pressure does not lessen. Afterward, the job market is usually just as fierce, with new graduates vying for the top spots in the country. Some even take their expertise overseas, where many high-technology products are being developed.
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Industrial Design School Leads To Rewarding Careers
After a few years of work experience, designers often begin to specialize in a particular type of product or part of the design process. Focusing on a single aspect of design is particularly appealing because with specialization comes increased job stability, salary, and benefits. Some work with packaging only; others with ergonomics or human-centered design. Those who continue to crave control over the big picture become senior designers, leading teams and communicating with company executives. Some designers eventually open their own private studios.
Do not let anyone kid you; industrial design is a difficult field to break into, but it is also one of the most rewarding. It offers a number of divergent roles as well as a creative outlet to the professional. At the same time, miraculously, the profession pays well, comparing favorably to almost any other major occupation that implements creativity. Graduates of industrial design schools tend to do very well for themselves.