By Blog, Design

Industrial Design: An introduction to ID

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Industrial Design (ID) is a dynamic problem-solving discipline that builds firm business success, drives innovation, and results in a better quality of living through creative solutions, innovative products, innovative processes, and complementary experiences and devices. The discipline of industrial design was born out of the need to develop products and processes more efficiently. The Industrial Revolution made this possible. Industrial designers use visual reasoning, product, and design-process thinking, and knowledge creation and design to improve a product or process in one or more industries. In other words, they solve problems by thinking.

Industrial designers usually start out as designers for one specific product or process, such as toy designing, bicycle making, or aircraft design. As their experience and understanding grow, they can branch out into other industries, such as automobiles, clothing, furniture, textiles, lighting, and electronics manufacturing. Many industrial designers have also found their careers helping oversee the creation of computers, game consoles, and DVD players. Designers can work with a number of different professions, including creative industry specialists, engineers, consultants, artists, educators, finance professionals, attorneys, marketing gurus, and other professionals.

Design Consulting

Industrial designers frequently serve as advisors to companies and other organizations. These consultants use their expertise to help guide organizations through the design requirements and analysis. Consultants can be involved in many aspects of an organization’s business operations, assisting management to plan, develop, evaluate, implement, or control the design process.

Graphic Design

A designer who specializes in graphic design uses many of the same tools and concepts as an industrial designer. He is able to create memorable images, using both analog and digital technology. Graphic design can involve the creation of posters, banners, books, directories, television shows, advertising campaigns, websites, point of purchase displays, signage, product packaging, and more.

Product Development

In the 21st century, functional products are often produced in a variety of sizes and shapes. In order for these products to be successful, they need to meet the needs and desires of consumers. The product development process includes the identification of customer needs and their definition; analysis of competing designs; development of a concept; prototyping, and production of functional products.

Technical Support

Many businesses rely on industrial designers to provide them with technical support. These individuals provide insight and guidance on the creation of products as well as advice on the process of product development. With the increased complexity of the design process, manufacturers often enlist the aid of these experts. Some manufacturers allow for in-house technical support, while others require outside technicians to assist in the design process. In some cases, these technicians will simply act as advisors and contractors to industrial designers.


Designers rely on industrial designers to identify and resolve complex design problems. These problems can range from finding the right material for a given application to determining how best to package products for maximum sales appeal. These professionals may solve design problems by developing new processes or techniques or finding a creative solution to a problem.

Many people are confused between business and design when considering whether they have a choice in the matter. While there is much overlap between business and design, there is also a clear distinction between the two disciplines. Business is focused on products while the design is more about how a product will be used (function) and how it will look (aesthetics.) Business can also involve production planning, management, sales, and advertising. Design is both aesthetic and functional. It is concerned with the way things will look, such as furniture, packaging, lighting, and signage. Product designers and industrial designers focus on the way a product will function and how it will be used. Both need to communicate to the public and show that their organization or business solutions are unique and offer real-world solutions to complex problems. By studying these different divisions of the industrial design program, you will learn how each section helps the company to grow and succeed.

Video by Autodesk Design Academy