Industrial Design

What Is It?:

Industrial Design determines the form of a manufactured product, shaping it to fit the people who use it and the industrial processes that produce it. Areas of design investigation include furniture, appliances, transportation, tools, farm equipment, medical instruments, electronics, human–computer interfaces, and recreational support equipment.

Industrial designers look for innovative and better ways to do things, linking technical knowledge with understanding people and the visual arts. They approach their work as problem solving, asking, "How do people want to travel?" rather than, "Let's build another car." To answer such questions, industrial designers explore a broad range of alternatives through drawings and models, steadily refining their designs as they test them against the user's needs and manufacturer's capabilities.

In addition to a thorough understanding of the physical sciences, engineering principles, ergonomics, aesthetics, and industrial materials and processes, industrial designers should be well rounded in the social sciences (such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology) and the communication arts (such as photography, video, print, and electronic media).

For more information, please visit the School of Art and Design

Courses That Introduce the Major:

  • ARTF 101—Contemporary Issues in Art
  • ARTF 102—Drawing I
  • ARTF 104—Drawing II

Students should consult with an academic advisor regarding course selection prior to the advanced registration period.

Possible Career Opportunities:

  • Corporate Design Groups
  • Digital Media Groups
  • Exhibit Design Firms
  • Environmental Design Firms
  • Furniture Design Firms
  • Industrial Design Firms
  • Lighting Design Firms
  • Product Design Firms
  • Sports Equipment Companies
  • Toy Design Firms

Common Career Titles Related to this Major:

(Some careers may require education beyond an undergraduate degree)

  • Exhibit Designer
  • Industrial Designer
  • Interface Designer or Developer
  • Multimedia Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Product Developer

Enhancing Your Academic Experience:

Related Skills:

  • Ability to convey concepts with quick sketches
  • Computer proficiency
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude and basic understanding of how things work

Further Information:

For more information on what you can do with a major in Industrial Design, visit The Career Center’s webpage: What Can I Do With This Major.

There are several professional organizations dedicated to Industrial Design. Their websites might be able to provide a glimpse in the world of Industrial Design. These organizations include: Industrial Designers Society of America and Association of Women Industrial Designers.

For more information on the classes needed for a degree in Industrial Design, visit Undergraduate Programs.