INDUSTRIAL DESIGN

A STEAM Lesson

OVERVIEW

HOW TO USE THIS SITE:

TEACHERS can start by clicking on the FOR TEACHERS button in the main menu. That will link to an editable Google Doc Template that can be used to plan a hands-on and collaborative Industrial Design project for students.

STUDENTS can start by clicking on the FOR STUDENTS button in the main menu. That will link to an editable Google Doc Template that can be used to execute the Industrial Design project. This Doc references and links back to the OVERVIEW, USER CENTERED DESIGN, & PROCESS EXAMPLES pages on this site.

WHAT IS INDUSTRIAL DESIGN?

According to the Industrial Design Society of America:
"Industrial Design (ID) is the professional service of creating products and systems that optimize function, value and appearance for the mutual benefit of user and manufacturer. Industrial designers develop products and systems through collection analysis and synthesis of data guided by the special requirements of their client and manufacturer. They prepare clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models and descriptions. Industrial designers improve as well as create, and they often work within multi-disciplinary groups that include management, marketing, engineering and manufacturing specialists."

WHAT DOES AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER DO?

The profession of Industrial Design parallels the development of the Industrial Revolution that began in Great Britain in the mid 19th century. Prior to that, products were hand made with specialized tools by artisans and their apprentices, one at a time, often using templates and guides to ensure some consistency in design and function. The assembly line and automated manufacturing processes changed all that. By the mid 20th century, hand made products by artisans were the exception and considered crafts. The vast majority of the objects we utilized, played with and admired were mass produced, affordable, plentiful and offered enough variety that consumer choices could now be tied to personal style. This manufactured world along with massive public works projects that built roads, electrical grids, telecommunication networks and, yes, indoor plumbing, created the emerging middle class that was enjoyed by the post WWII Axis and Allied powers.

These new manufactured products were designed by a new kind of designer, a designer that understood manufacturing constraints and opportunities, an "Industrial Designer" Today, Industrial Designers are experiencing unprecedented success and notoriety as they create consumer products that are deeply integrated into our lives. Our productivity, the way we play, our very identity, is symbiotic with the products we consume. Industrial design is at the core of everything we see, touch, smell, taste and hear in the "designed" world in which we live. And, as digital technology integrates into the objects of our lives, the human experience will become more and more integrated with networks, sensors, data and virtual realities. It seems like science fiction, but so did the Star Trek communicator not long ago. Now the flip-phone is old news and smart devices have surpassed our wildest imaginations from that era.

HOW DOES ONE BECOME AN INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER?

Careers in Industrial Design start with a demonstrated, keen interest in shaping the world around you, a high school diploma as well as a college degree in Industrial Design or a closely related field. The types of college degrees inclde:

  • Bachelor of Industrial Design
  • Bachelor of Science with a focus in Design
  • Bachelor of Fine Art with a focus in Design.

Teaching design at a University level typically requires at least a Master's Degree in Design or a related field.

Industrial Designers are employed either by companies that produce products or agencies that provide design services to them. Their skills include:

  • Critical thinking
  • Creative problem solving
  • Writing
  • Drawing and sketching
  • Physical model building
  • Business and marketing knowledge

RESOURCES

Core 77
IDSA
I.D. Magazine
Yanko Design