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What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value, and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer. Industrial designers develop these concepts and specifications for the user and manufacturer through the collection, analysis, and synthesis of data, often within the context of cooperative working relationships with other members of a development group such as management, marketing, engineering, and manufacturing specialists. They then communicate their clear and concise recommendations through drawings, models, and verbal descriptions that embody all relevant design criteria determined by the group.

The industrial designer’s unique contribution emphasizes those aspects of the product or system that relate most directly to human characteristics, needs, experiences, and interests. This contribution requires specialized understanding of visual, spatial, and tactile senses as well as product safety and convenience criteria. Industrial designers are experts in anticipating psychological, physiological and sociological factors and perceptions that influence users of products and services. Industrial designers also maintain a practical concern for the technical processes and requirements for manufacturing; marketing opportunities and economic constraints; and regulatory requirements relevant to good design.

In addition to supplying concepts for products and systems, industrial designers are often retained for consultation on a variety of problems that have to do with product and organization identity systems, development of communication systems, interior and exhibit design, advertising devices and packaging, and other related services. Their expertise is often sought in a wide variety of administrative arenas to assist in developing industry standards, regulatory guidelines, and quality control procedures to improve manufacturing operations and products. Industrial designers are guided by a professional obligation to protect the public safety and well-being, to respect the environment, and to observe contractual and ethical business practices.