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Industrial Design student project, Annie McDonald

Industrial Design

The Industrial Design Program prepares students to be creative, practical, user-centered, aesthetics-focused, problem-solving, and opportunity-exploring designers, design strategists, or design leaders.

The NC State University Industrial Design Program is one of the top professional programs in this discipline in the country. The program offers Bachelor of Industrial Design (BID) and Master of Industrial Design (MID) degrees, both accredited by The National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD).

Students learn and practice design in a studio environment very similar to that of professional design offices. Students methodically study human physical and cognitive interaction with artifacts and services in order to discover user experience insights and then create innovative solutions to design problems. The dynamic and sophisticated balance of form, function, innovation, and practicality are constantly debated and articulated throughout the journey to better design.


Tsai Lu Liu, Department Head of Graphic Design and Industrial Design

Tsai Lu Liu

Department Head of Graphic Design and Industrial Design

Finally, a Home

Over the past 40 years, the Industrial Design program at NC State has grown into one of the highest-ranked ID programs in the U.S. Its graduates go on to be designers at companies like IBM, Adidas, and Under Armour. Its faculty partner on grants from the NIH to tackle human centered design for maternal and fetal medicine. Finally, the program will be moving to a dedicated space where they can work collaboratively and creatively. 

Industrial Design Studio Space

The Industrial Design faculty have joined NC State University from prestigious institutions around the world, each bringing years of experience in design, research, innovation, and education. The graduates from the program are enhancing the quality of life experiences with the creative design of products, services, branding, and communication systems for companies such as IDEO, Nike, Volvo, IBM, Toshiba, Dell, Pentagram, PepsiCo, RKS Design, Microsoft, The Smithsonian, Adidas, Hasbro, Target, and Bosch.

What is Industrial Design?

What is ID? Post-It note board

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.

See Student Work

See more examples of student work here: Department of Industrial Design Student Work

Student Takeover! Tomorrow, hear from Megan Brown, a senior in graphic & experience design. She`s currently in Prague and will be sharing photos from her drawing and etching studio as well as around the city.

From Megan: "Hi, I`m Megan from Cleveland, NC! I love being around nature, reading when I can, and hanging out with my friends."

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Built to pay tribute. Designed to inspire. This Memorial Day, learn about the iconic structure on NC State`s campus honoring those who gave their lives in service. Link in bio. ...

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❤️🥚o b s e s s e d 🥚❤️ ...

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Published in the winter of 1951, the first issue of The Student Publication was conceived in the wake of tragedy.

The year before, Maciej (Matthew) Nowicki — who’d been commissioned by officials in India to help design a new state capital, Chandigarh — was traveling home to Raleigh after months working abroad when the airliner he was on crashed in the Egyptian desert, killing all aboard.

Much of the first edition of The Student Publication was devoted to Nowicki’s sketches for two of his postwar projects: his collaboration with American architect Albert Mayer on the design for the planned Indian city of Chandigarh, and his commission to create new designs and improve existing structures at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.

Read the full story about the origins of The Student Publication and explore a selection of digitized issues dating back to the first volume in 1951. 🔗 in bio.

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"You need to find your community when you`re in a big school like [NC State], especially as a minority student."

Art Clement enrolled in NC State in 1966 to study architecture at the School of Design. He later went on to become the first African American student to graduate from the school in 1971.

Clement has worked with nearly a dozen historically Black colleges and universities throughout his 30-year career, drawing on his passion for preservation architecture.

Read the full story in our bio.

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Thank you to all of our partners and fellow designers for today’s birthday wishes. 🥳🥰

Keep the memories from the college alive by contributing your own recollections at our 75th-anniversary website in our bio.

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“Look to your left and look to your right,” said Henry Kamphoefner, first dean of North Carolina State College’s newly formed School of Design, in the fall of 1948. “Next year, one of you will be gone.” Out of about 120 students in Elizabeth Bobbit Lee`s class, only 23 graduated.

Under a new dean and new curriculum, Lee thrived as the sole female graduate in a class full of men, even as she set the mold for a life well lived. Read "Shattering Glass Ceilings to Shape a Modern World" in our bio.

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This week, we`re going back to where it all began. As we turn 75, we`re sharing the firsts at the College of Design - the people who made us, the events that shaped us, and the community that laid the foundation for NC State to become a powerhouse in design education.

Our first story is about the students who graduated from the School of Design in the spring of 1953. They were the first to complete the new school’s five-year course load. Their commitment set the pace for everything that came after. They were the class that started it all. Link in bio to read the full story.

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Turn the page into great design. 👀🐺 The Designlife Magazine 75th-Anniversary issue is now online in our bio.

Read about one faculty member’s experience piecing together the college’s history. Dive into the timelines and milestones that built our campus. Explore how it was then, what it’s like now, and the possibilities and dreams for the future at the College of Design.

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The stories. The memories. The designs. In one week, we turn 7️⃣5️⃣.

Take a look back on the journey we`ve taken, and the people who made us who we are along the way. Explore it all and share your own recollections in our bio. 🐺🐾

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