Product Design is a great career choice for someone who wants to impact the world. The product designer’s work has the potential to touch people in every corner of life, from education and medicine to entertainment and travel.
Product designers are creators at heart – they make things that solve problems or fulfill needs. They invent new ways of thinking about how everyday products can be used differently or better. They see what others don’t, making their designs stand out among the rest.
Product designers use creativity every day to come up with solutions for complex problems – whether it’s determining how best to organize a kitchen so food stays fresh longer; coming up with a memorable logo that will help sell more products, or figuring out how many buttons to place on an ATM so that it’s easy to use for everyone.
As a product designer, you could work in any industry, including fashion, health care, education, and business. Product designers often work for corporations or start their own companies. You can also choose to work freelance or become a consultant – either way, your work leads to better products and more successful businesses.
Product Design is a broad field that can lead to many different career paths. You could choose to work in the design department of a large company, become an independent product designer, or even become a teacher and share your knowledge with others. Have fun exploring our site and learning about all the options for Product Design.
1. What is Product Design?
Product design is the process of designing a product to fulfill a specific need or want. It encompasses everything from the initial conception stage to the final production phase, and it can be applied to both physical products and digital ones. Good product design is essential for ensuring that a product meets the needs and expectations of consumers while also being profitable for businesses. Product design can refer to both the user interface of a digital product or it can refer to the entire product outside of the software.
The process of designing a product is typically divided into four stages: research and analysis, brainstorming, prototyping, and testing.
Research and Analysis
Research and analysis are integral parts of any good product design. Understanding what consumers want and need from a product can be challenging, but it is even more complicated when the product designer lacks expertise in the field of study. As such, research into related topics is conducted to provide insights into how certain products could potentially solve problems within the market. This includes researching both competitor products as well as products that already exist. Alongside researching markets and competitors, product designers may also research consumer trends and behaviors to aid them in designing a better product.
Brainstorming is an excellent tool for generating ideas and concepts for potential products. This is the part of the design process where individuals or teams generate hundreds of ideas without filtering them or evaluating their merits. This stage aims to generate as many product concepts as possible that the team may explore further.
Once several potential product designs have been generated through brainstorming, they are then prototypes. Most software teams use each other for testing ideas and concepts in the prototyping phase. These prototypes are meant to represent a miniature version of a potential product design. They often take much less time and effort to produce than fully-fledged products but still provide invaluable insight into how consumers may respond to a particular idea or concept.
The final stage is testing, where the initial prototype is tested with a small focus group of potential customers. This stage can sometimes be difficult, as it requires finding the right people to test the product without influencing their responses. However, this step provides invaluable insight into how consumers respond to specific concepts and ideas, allowing for better-informed decision-making when designing a final product.
Prototyping is a crucial yet costly stage in the product design process, and it can sometimes be challenging to know when a prototype will provide enough information for a designer. In some cases, designs may require producing several different prototypes, which are then tested with consumers before moving forward in the development process.
In today’s age of technology, designers and product teams have a multitude of tools and resources available to them that can help speed up the design process while providing more accurate outcomes. Product teams may hire experts in the field, such as UX designers or researchers, who can provide valuable insight into how specific consumers receive ideas and concepts. This often speeds up the testing stage by generating insights from experts who might not be part of the same team but can provide invaluable information about how products are used.
Additionally, product teams may use online prototyping tools, like UXPin and Solidify, which allow for quick prototyping of different concepts. This allows designers to test multiple ideas without spending time generating each one from scratch.
2. How to Get a Job in Product Design?
If you want to become a product designer, there are certain things you can do to increase your chances of success. The most crucial step is to get a degree in industrial design or engineering. It would help if you also tried to gain experience in the field by working on projects related to product design. It’s also helpful to have strong visualization skills and think outside the box.
Choosing the Right Degree
The first step to becoming a product designer is figuring out what kind of degree you need. There are two main options to choose from industrial design or engineering.
If you want to focus more on aesthetics, an art-oriented program might be best for you. If you have a strong interest in robotics and manufacturing, engineering might be the way to go.
When choosing a program, it’s essential to consider your career goal and what kind of experience you hope to get in the field. For example, an art degree is suitable for working on products such as furniture or lamps. If you follow this path, you might get jobs at independent companies that are looking for someone who has strong visualization skills.
On the other hand, engineering degrees can take you down a path where your work will be hands-on and more focused on manufacturing and mechanics. Engineering is a good option for people who want to gain practical experience in product design and get a job in the industrial sector.
After you graduate, having some work experience might be helpful when applying for jobs. If you’re still in school and don’t have professional training yet, you can volunteer or intern at companies that do product design. This will give you real-world experience and a chance to find out if product design is a good fit for you.
There are many ways to get the necessary experience, and some of them might be more accessible than others. For example, you can volunteer your time at an industrial design studio or showroom. You can also ask your school’s career office whether any companies are looking for interns. During your internship, you might not get paid much or at all, but it’s still an excellent way to gain experience in the field.
If you have friends who are product designers, ask them if they would be willing to take you on as an unpaid assistant or intern. If that doesn’t work, you can also apply to open positions at companies with a significant online presence. For example, many product design companies have jobs listed on their websites and might hire an intern.
Finding a Job
There are several resources for finding a job as a product designer. Job boards such as Career Builder and Monster enable you to search for product design jobs in different locations and narrow down your choices based on the company’s size, job title, and so forth.
LinkedIn can also be effective when searching for a new position. First-degree connections are always the most relevant option, so you should ask people who currently work in product design if they know of any openings at their company. You should also reach out to people who work at companies that you’d like to work for and ask whether they know of any positions that may be available.
Lastly, websites such as Pinterest and Behance can help you network and get your name out there. Both platforms are valuable tools when it comes to promoting your work and allowing other people to look at what you’ve done.
3. The Skills Needed for the Job
To become a product designer, you need to develop several skills. Creativity and imagination are essential, as is the ability to think outside the box and develop innovative solutions to problems. Strong visualization skills are also necessary, as you will need to create sketches and renderings of your ideas. In addition, you must have strong engineering and manufacturing knowledge to turn your designs into reality. Finally, good communication skills are essential to convey your ideas to others effectively.
4. Tools of the Trade
While product designers may use various tools to create their designs, most do so using standard CAD software. This is particularly true for product designers who work in the automotive industry, where their products will often be created using CATIA. On top of this, many companies will also expect their employees to use additional tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.
5. Each Design Project Is Different
Every design assignment you are given will involve developing a solution to a unique problem for industrial designers, who are often expected to have some experience with CAD before they are considered for many positions. Most industrial designers also need various 3D modeling programs, such as Solid Works and CATIA.
6. The Future of Product Design
With the increasing use of 3D printing technology, product designers will likely need to utilize this new tool effectively. In addition, most companies are now trying to design products with a more global appeal, so sophisticated cultural knowledge is becoming an essential quality for product designers to have. In the future, it is also likely that digital products will steal a larger share of the market, leaving very little room for traditional items. As a result, companies may look for more talented product designers who can develop innovative designs that use new technologies and materials across a broad range of goods.
7. Design Qualifications
Product designers usually hold an associate degree (preferably in industrial design), although some may also have a bachelor’s degree. Most product designers also take courses on technical drawing, business management, and CAD before beginning their careers. Some companies may accept students who are still completing their studies, but most expect applicants to have previous work experience. Those who wish to advance their careers may also consider gaining further qualifications, such as a master’s degree in design or engineering management.
8. Where Do Product Designers Work?
Most product designers begin their careers at manufacturing companies. Still, the field is wide open, and you could end up working for any company that produces products, such as a toy company or even a school.
Most product designers work either for an industrial design firm or for a business where they will be expected to produce new products. Some also start their own companies and become freelance product designers.
Product designers can join professional associations which provide them with information about career opportunities, educational resources, and networking. They may also be able to get advice on advancing their careers. Some examples include the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDS), The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
9. The Salary of a Product Designer
As a product designer, you can expect to earn a competitive salary with other professionals in the field, such as user interface designers who also focus on software interfaces.
In addition to earning an average of $64,000 per year, the following factors influence the earning potential of product designers:
Average salaries for an experienced designer can be around $77,000 to over $100,000 per year. The BLS reports that more than 200 design technicians with ten years or more of professional experience are employed in the United States. However, these figures may not reflect the salaries of only product designers.
Salaries for product designers are highly influenced by the cost of living, which varies significantly. For example, in the San Francisco area, most design technicians can earn an average salary of up to $100,000 per year, according to PayScale’s data in 2013. However, in a lower cost of living city such as Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, the same job may only earn around $48,000 per year. Salary figures provided by PayScale are highly variable and should be treated with caution.
Product designers who work at companies that regularly win international design awards will likely have a higher salary than those who work for companies that do not. Salary figures provided by PayScale are highly variable and should be treated with caution.
10. Is There a Demand for Product Design?
There is a high demand for product design, as it can help businesses create and sell products that are more in line with what consumers want. Good product design can also help businesses stand out from their competitors and can be a significant factor in helping businesses succeed. As such, it is worth considering gaining an education and training in product design if you would like to gain a career as a product designer.
11. Best Colleges to Study Product Designing
If you’re interested in studying product design, then you’ll want to check out this list of the best colleges for the subject. These schools are known for their excellent programs and top-notch faculty, and they’ll provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to pursue a career in product design.
- College of the Arts, Virginia Tech
- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Blacksburg, Virginia)
- The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Las Vegas, Nevada)
- Savannah College of Art and Design (Savannah, Georgia)
- Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island)
- College for Creative Studies (Detroit, Michigan)
- University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Department of Design, Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
- Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
- Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, Rhode Island)
- California College of the Arts (San Francisco, California)
- College for Creative Studies (Detroit, Michigan)
Product design is an exciting and unique career that can be very rewarding. It involves taking a product from concept to creation and ensuring that it is functional and appealing to consumers. If you are creative, detail-oriented, and have strong problem-solving skills, then product design may be the perfect career for you. Keep in mind that this field requires hard work and dedication, but the results can be truly unique.