What Is Industrial Design?


Quick Answer

Industrial design involves the creation of visual concepts, through hand drawn sketches, computer animation or 3-D models, for products such as appliances, furniture, electronics and vehicles. These designs influence the physical appearance of a product and, in some cases, how a product operates.

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Full Answer

In addition to creating concepts for the visual appearance of a product, industrial designers also test prototypes, review consumer reviews and work closely with marketing testers and product engineers to enhance product functionality and the user experience. The placement of buttons, knobs and handles, for example, should aid in the appearance of a product as well as its overall functionality. Increasingly, industrial design sketches and designs are created using computer software. This software allows designers to make changes quickly during product development and testing stages or to provide visual examples of product variations.

Industrial designers work with engineers and marketing personnel to develop safe, useful and attractive products. Designers must stay within specific budgets, may have to create multiple prototypes to satisfy the needs of manufacturers and incorporate all the features of a product into the design without compromising the product's appearance. After a product enters the marketplace, industrial designers may have to update the products depending on sales, the level of competition or to differentiate the product from similar products.

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