Industrial Design Careers (Plus Salaries)

Drawing, creating, testing, and researching could be enjoyable pursuits for anyone with an interest in industrial design careers. They might also be passionate about developing goods that people will want or that will make their everyday lives easier. You have a wide range of employment opportunities in numerous fields if you’re thinking about earning a degree in industrial design. In this post, we define industrial design and look at a list of some industrial design careers you might be able to get after receiving your degree.

Why do we need industrial design?

A job in industrial design entails the development and testing of a wide range of products, including furniture, automobiles, and technological gadgets. Industry professionals develop design concepts that take into account social, functional, financial, environmental, and aesthetic considerations to produce products that people want to use or purchase and can afford. In this sector, problem-solving, research, and visual modeling are some useful talents. One of the key elements in creating a brand is design. A company can fail if the necessary time, money, and effort are not put out. Design is what makes you stand out from the competitors and aids in achieving the intended outcome.

Giving a product additional value that extends further than the fundamental functional engineering is crucial for this profession.

The Work of Industrial Designers

Industrial designers provide ideas for manufactured goods including toys, gadgets for the house, and automobiles. They blend engineering, business, and the arts to create things that people use daily. When creating novel ideas for products, industrial designers consider the product’s usability, manufacturing costs, aesthetics, and purpose.

Responsibilities of industrial designers

Common activities for industrial designers include:

  • Collaborate with clients to ascertain design needs
  • Investigate the numerous applications for a given product and the target market.
  • Draw out concepts or produce renderings, which are pictures on paper or on software that show how design concepts might look.
  • Create virtual models of various designs using the software.
  • Design and build physical models of their ideas
  • Analyze the needed supplies and manufacturing processes to calculate production costs.
  • Collaborate with additional experts to see whether their design proposals will meet needs at an affordable price, like mechanical engineers and manufacturers.
  • Assess a design’s viability by examining the product’s functionality, attractiveness, and safety. Show concepts and prototypes to customers for approval.

Several product portfolio specialists work with industrial designers. For instance, some create consumer electronics like computers and smartphones, or they work on hospital devices. Other designers create concepts for different products like new surfboards, motorcycles, furniture, and home goods. Designers who work for themselves have more freedom in the product areas they work on. Manufacturer-employed designers use their designs to influence how a brand appears and feels.

Some designers, referred to as user interaction or interface designers, concentrate on a product’s usability, like an electronic gadget, and make sure that it is as easy and fun to use as possible.

Industrial designers test several designs on real people to discover how each one functions and how users could utilize a product. To determine whether their concepts are practical, industrial designers frequently consult with engineers, production specialists, and market research analysts. To improve their designs, they incorporate the advice and professional insight of their peers. For instance, industrial designers might collaborate with analysts of market research to create ideas for promoting novel product ideas to clients.

A crucial instrument for industrial designers is the computer. Due to the ease of making modifications and presenting alternatives, industrial designers often utilize two-dimensional computer-aided drafting and design (CADD) software to sketch concepts. Industrial designers are increasingly using three-dimensional CAD software as a tool to convert their two-dimensional drawings into prototypes with the assistance of three-dimensional printers. They might also utilize computer-aided industrial design (CAID) technology if they operate for producers to develop precise machine-readable commands that specify how other machines should construct the product.

Prominent jobs in industrial design

The following list of careers for industrial design majors.

1. A production designer

Nationwide average yearly salary: $33,407

Primary responsibilities: Creating the aesthetics that establish the scene for a tale is the main responsibility of product designers in both cinema and television. They might assist in selecting filming locations as well as props, backgrounds, and other setting-specific items to depict a particular era, region, or other requirements. To ensure that their decisions represent the intention of the work, production designers in industrial design careers collaborate closely with directors, producers, and cinematographers.

2. Web developer

Nationwide average yearly salary: $48,839

Primary responsibilities: Web designers in industrial design careers are primarily responsible for creating a website’s structure, usability, and aesthetics. For the creation of online content for corporations and organizations, they combine technological expertise with graphic design. Web designers pay close attention to the user experience to determine the best way to arrange the pieces to make the site simple and easy to use so that people come back.

3. A color expert

Nationwide average yearly salary: $44,375

Primary responsibilities: Color experts in industrial design careers advise clients in interior decoration on color selections for home d├ęcor. They can tell you about current design trends and assist in establishing color schemes. When the designer serves as the team’s leader or project manager, color specialists may collaborate with interior designers to provide specific services in these fields.

4. CAD creator

Nationwide average yearly salary: $55,493

Primary responsibilities: CAD designers produce drawings and schematic designs for equipment and structures. Using the use of computer-aided design (CAD) technologies, they could produce 2D and 3D renderings. To create the designs for their more significant projects, CAD designers in industrial design careers work collaboratively with civil engineers and architects.

5. Graphic artist

Nationwide average yearly salary: $50,897

Primary responsibilities: The main responsibility of a graphic designer is to manually or digitally produce visual concepts. They typically collaborate closely alongside marketing departments to create brochures, billboards, web graphics, and other products that help to define a company’s branding. It’s possible for graphic designers in industrial design careers to produce product packaging or shipping supplies.

6. Architectural designer

Nationwide average yearly salary: $60,487

Primary responsibilities: Under the direction of an architect, architectural designers are employed. They might be familiar with CAD software and contribute to the planning of building construction logistics. If you want to become a certified architect in industrial design careers, this job can be a good entry-level choice.

7. Interior decorator

Nationwide average yearly salary: $57,595

Primary responsibilities: Interior designers’ main responsibilities are to develop strategies and plans for interior and exterior design and decorating projects. They might collaborate with architects, engineers, and homeowners to comprehend their objectives. Contractors and suppliers in industrial design careers frequently have close working relationships with interior designers. They are familiar with color theory, spatial reasoning, and how textures and patterns combine to establish a mood or theme.

8. Industrial architect

National average yearly salary: $69,610

Primary responsibilities: Industrial designers develop new goods and enhance current ones to increase their consumer appeal or utility. They research target markets and product needs. To turn concepts into products, industrial designers collaborate with scientists, producers, engineers, and marketers. Industrial architects in industrial design careers also create drawings and use software programs to create blueprints.

9. Visual artist

Nationwide average yearly salary: $63,292

Primary responsibilities: Art directors’ main duties include supervising the production and application of multimedia elements in a range of contexts. They might work in package design, publishing, entertainment, or media. As directors in industrial design careers, they frequently talk to the customer or the relevant team to make sure the design team is aware of the vision and is carrying it out appropriately.

10. Production director

National average yearly salary: $74,104

Primary responsibilities: Production directors’ main responsibilities include ensuring that things are produced quickly and effectively. They search for ways to enhance processes and the total output of a business. Production managers in industrial design careers may consider team objectives, reports, and diagnostics when determining how to improve production efficiency.

11. Industrial engineer

National average yearly salary: $73,805

Primary responsibilities: The main responsibility of industrial designers is to develop the systems and methods that increase production productivity. They can assist businesses in making the best possible use of their employees, machines, resources, energy, and other resources. Industrial designers in industrial design careers can travel to customer locations in addition to working in laboratories, offices, or production facilities.

12. Architect

National average yearly salary: $93,148

Primary responsibilities: Architects in industrial design careers plan the layouts of structures including schools, workplaces, and stadiums. They normally perform their duties in an office setting, but they might also visit construction sites to see how certain projects are coming along. To make sure that their ideas are secure and adhere to all applicable local, state, and federal construction regulations, architects collaborate with civil engineers.

13. Purchasing Manager

National average yearly salary: $77,451 year.

Primary responsibilities: Procurement managers collaborate with businesses to establish and implement purchasing strategies. They are aware of the steps necessary to obtain the greatest price for the business’s resources and goods. Most procurement managers in industrial design careers are familiar with risk management and the supply chain.

14. Product manager

National average yearly salary: $95,909

Primary responsibilities: Product managers supervise the development team as they transform a concept into an item for marketing and sales. They are aware of the need of making strategic decisions during product development. To create distinctive products to offer clients, product managers in industrial design careers analyze consumer markets and rival products. Also, they work together with the engineering group during development and manufacturing.

15. Materials engineer

National average yearly salary: $94,650

Primary responsibilities: Materials engineers’ main responsibilities include developing, testing, and processing the substances that make products. To decide which material is optimal for the creation of various objects, they may experiment with metals, ceramics, composites, or plastics. Moreover, materials engineers in industrial design careers may create proposals and produce reports to communicate findings to other coworkers or to obtain funds for research.

16. Industrial Design Researcher

National average yearly salary: $71,000

Primary responsibilities: Industrial Design Researchers are employed by research organizations, manufacturing firms, and IT firms. To develop fresh approaches and ideas for design components, industrial design researchers in industrial design careers must first conduct user needs research. You could research things like apps, websites, technological goods, gadgets, etc.

Some of your responsibilities as a researcher in industrial design are:

  • Determine the appropriate market for an item or service.
  • Research the target market, put the product to the test with them, and acquire their feedback and user experience.
  • Review the findings and develop fresh concepts for your designs.

17. Furniture Designer

National average yearly salary: $51,400 annually

Primary responsibilities: Furniture Designers work for firms that provide work and home furnishings, among others. Based on the requirements of the customers, a furniture designer in industrial design careers makes custom furniture. Furniture for homes places greater emphasis on aesthetics than purely functional design. Office furniture, in contrast, focuses on usability, utility, and safety.

The duties of a furniture designer often consist of:

  • Create and test out various prototypes and design aspects using CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software.
  • Engage in cooperation with other experts, such as decorators and project managers.
  • Provide material suggestions and calculate project expenses.

18. Package Designer

National average yearly salary: $51,000

Primary responsibilities: Package Designers work for toy manufacturers, electronics retailers, and medical facilities. Several packaging solutions are developed, made, and tested by package designers for businesses. Package designers in industrial design careers consider project specifications, resources, and finances to carry out their duties successfully.

Some of the most typical industrial design careers for a package designer include the following:

  • Do research to identify new resources and equipment that will enhance the production of packages.
  • Develop designs and prototypes to the product requirements.
  • Create uniform packaging designs.

19. TV, movie, and theater set designer

National average yearly salary: $59,300

Primary responsibilities: TV, movie, and theater set designer work for theaters, movie studios, advertising firms, and television networks. Film, television, and theater productions use sets that are created by set designers that combine creativity with technical proficiency. To ensure that your design and its concepts mesh properly, set designers in industrial design careers collaborate with directors, editors, and casting directors.

The following are typical industrial design careers for set designers:

  • Provide suggestions and make various set models.
  • Selecting goods, calculating expenses, and controlling spending
  • Attend rehearsals and alter as necessary to satisfy the client’s requirements

Industrial designers’ working environment

There are 29,300 industrial designers working today. The following are the top industrial design employers:

  • Manufacturing: 37%
  • Services for specialized design: 13%
  • Retail sales: 12%
  • Services in architecture, engineering, and related fields: 11%
  • Self-employed individuals: 3%

Industrial designers frequently use workstations for drawing designs, conference rooms with whiteboards for group brainstorming sessions, and other office supplies for creating designs and corresponding with clients. Although they spend most of their time in offices, industrial designers may also visit test sites, design studios, client exhibit locations, users’ residences or places of employment, and manufacturing facilities.

Work schedules for industrial designers

Industrial designers who are self-employed or who are employed by businesses that subcontract their services to other organizations might need to often change their workdays to accommodate client meetings in the evenings or on the weekends. Also, they might spend some time hunting for new industrial design careers or vying for contracts with other designers.

How to Start a Career as an Industrial Designer

Most entry-level positions in industrial design call for a bachelor’s degree. Having an electronic portfolio that showcases their greatest design work is crucial for industrial designers.

Industrial designers should get an education

Entry-level industrial design employment typically calls for a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture, or a related field. The majority of industrial design courses include business, industrial materials and processes, and manufacturing methods classes in addition to drawing, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), and three-dimensional modeling classes.

Over 350 postsecondary schools, colleges, and private institutions providing art and design programs are accredited by the National Association of Colleges of Art and Design. Before allowing admission to a bachelor’s program of study, many colleges need the satisfactory conclusion of a few foundational art and design courses. Moreover, the submission of sketches and other samples of applicants’ artistic talent may be required.

Several programs give students the chance to compile examples of their designs through assignments, internships, or other events to create a professional portfolio of their work. These samples of student work can be used by students to showcase their design abilities when submitting job applications and proposals for contracts.

Key Characteristics of Industrial Designers

  • Analytical abilities. Industrial designers analyze consumer behavior and identify the demand for new goods using reasoning or logical thinking.
  • Artistic talent. Initial design concepts are sketched by industrial designers before being used to build prototypes. As a result, designers need to be able to illustrate their designs.
  • Computer literacy. Software for computer-aided design is used by industrial designers to develop their ideas and build prototypes.
  • Creativity. The designs they create and the methods they incorporate current technologies into new products must be inventive.
  • Communication abilities. Industrial designers must establish constructive working connections with customers and coworkers who have expertise in relevant fields.
  • Technical expertise. Industrial designers must be aware of how engineering works for the kinds of goods they create.
  • Abilities to solve problems. A product’s necessity, size, and cost are determined by industrial designers, who also anticipate production problems, create alternatives, consider choices, and put answers into practice.

Growth for Industrial Designers

Large corporations may promote seasoned designers to chief designers, heads of the design industry, or other management industrial design careers. Some designers decide to pursue teaching careers in educational institutions or design schools. Several educators also run small design firms or continue to work as private consultants. A few seasoned designers start their design businesses.

Salaries for industrial designers

Industrial designers earn an average yearly salary of $77,030. The wage at which half of the employees in a profession made more money than that amount and half made less is known as the median wage. The bottom 10% made below $44,840, while the top 10% made more than $128,210.

The followings are the industrial designers’ leading industries and their median yearly salaries:

  • Services in architecture, engineering, and related fields: $81,230
  • Services for specialized design: $80,570
  • Manufacturing: $64,700
  • Wholesale commerce: $63,920

Industrial designers who are self-employed or who are employed by businesses that subcontract their services to other organizations might need to often change their workdays to accommodate client meetings in the evenings or on the weekends. Also, they might devote some time hunting for new industrial design careers or vying for contracts with other designers.

Employment Prospects for Industrial Designers

Industrial designers are expected to see slower job growth than the median for all professions, at just 3% over the next 10 years.

Over the next ten years, there are expected to be, on average, 2,700 vacancies for industrial designers. Many of those industrial design careers are anticipated to be brought on because of the requirement to replace people who change careers or leave the workforce due to retirement.

What Kind of Professional Certifications Are Required for industrial design careers?

No license is required to operate as an industrial designer. A bachelor’s degree is all that’s required for entry-level work. You can choose to concentrate on engineering, architecture, or industrial/product design. You can apply for the Professional Engineer (PE) license to grow in your engineering design profession. Engineers can manage projects and operate in management positions with this certification.

Do Foreign Universities Provide Industrial Design Studies?

You can choose from several degrees, including the BSc, BEng (Bachelor of Engineering), BDes (Bachelor of Design), and BID (Bachelor of Industrial Design).

Universities You Might Attend Include:

Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Australia are the top places to study this field.

Professional experience

Developing your portfolio and creating a helpful network of connections both depend on having relevant professional experience. Find a local industrial designer and inquire about doing a placement with them while you are a student. A placement might even result in a permanent job in rare circumstances.

Keep an eye out for exhibitions or contests for commercial or industrial design which you might enter. Any additions to your portfolio would be beneficial. You must be able to show the range of your job and any professional interests.

Studying design journals will help you stay informed about market trends and advancements as well as new technology.


In a word, industrial designers are great minds who mix the artistic perspective with computer science and engineering skills to develop things that are useful, approachable, secure, and visually beautiful.

You should begin looking for the appropriate degrees if you want to pursue a profession in industrial design. Often, the sole educational need for a profession in industrial design is a bachelor’s degree. Nonetheless, as the area of industrial design becomes more competitive, master’s degrees have grown more widespread and constitute a distinct advantage.

To impress potential employers, you’ll need to demonstrate your skills and knowledge, so create a solid, unique portfolio. Consider doing internships while you are a student to benefit from the chance to learn from experts.

With an education in industrial design, you can utilize your creative thinking to develop items that improve the comfort, security, and enjoyment of people’s lives.

Frequently Asked Questions about industrial design careers

  • What can industrial design help you with?

Industrial designers typically work from offices, yet they might also visit the factories where the goods are made. Industrial designers provide ideas for manufactured goods including toys, gadgets for the house, and automobiles. They blend engineering, business, and the arts to create things that people use daily.

  • How excellent is an industrial design as a major?

Over the next eight years, the profession of industrial design is anticipated to have significant growth, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics. Also, the industry provides excellent job safety and economic stability, with an average income of $77,030 per year reported in 2021 (however, in San Francisco, it’s closer to $104,000).

  • Is there a future for industrial design?

The field of industrial design is on the cusp of another industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. This paradigm change will have an impact on how goods are manufactured, which will therefore have an impact on industrial designers in the future.