Product Design vs. Industrial Design: What is the Difference? What Skills Overlap?
When first considering what product design and industrial design have in common, it’s easy to assume the only thing they have in common is the word “design.” However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a fair number of skills required to work in both fields overlap. But that doesn’t apply to every aspect of these professions. Some considerable differences exist as well. But what skills overlap? And what differences do these types of design possess? We’ll be answering that and more here today.
Before we get into all that, let’s first talk about definitions.
What is Product Design?
To put it simply, product design is the process of designing and developing products. This can apply to anything from phones to toothbrushes to computer software.
Essentially, if a company creates a physical or digital product, they need someone in charge of making sure that product is designed well. This means taking into account how the product will be used, what materials it will be made of, and how it can be manufactured efficiently.
What is Industrial Design?
Industrial design is a bit broader. It covers the design of pretty much anything that can be mass-produced. This could be products, packaging, furniture, vehicles, you name it.
The main focus of the industrial design is to make products functional and aesthetically pleasing. This can be done by considering the ergonomics, form, and aesthetics of the product.
It also encompasses making products that are easy and efficient to manufacture. This can be done by streamlining the design and using standard materials whenever possible.
Skills Need for Both Product Design and Industrial Design
Some skills are necessary for both types of design. After all, they sound like pretty similar professions on paper. Let’s go over a few examples.
An Understanding of Materials
A firm understanding of materials is important for both product and industrial designers. This is because the type of material used in a product can have a big impact on both the functionality and the cost of the product.
Designers need to be able to select the right materials for their products. They also need to be able to communicate with manufacturers about the best way to use those materials.
3D Modeling Skills
Both types of designers need to be able to create 3D models of their products. This helps them to visualize their designs and make sure that everything is proportionate. It also allows them to create prototypes to test out their designs.
There are many different software programs that can be used for 3D modeling. Some examples include Rhino, Solidworks, and Autodesk Inventor.
The ability to use programs like these is essential for both product and industrial designers.
Creativity is important for all designers. After all, designing new products is all about coming up with innovative solutions to problems.
Product and industrial designers need to be able to think outside the box. They need to be able to come up with creative solutions to the challenges that their products present.
Strong Communication Skills
Designers also need to be able to communicate their ideas clearly. This is important for presenting designs to clients and communicating with manufacturers.
Product and industrial designers should be capable of explaining their designs in a way that is easy for others to understand. They also need to be able to listen to feedback and incorporate it into their designs.
What Skills Are Unique to Product Design?
There are a few skills that are unique to product design. These are the skills that set product designers apart from other types of designers.
An Understanding of Human Factors
Product designers need to have a strong understanding of human factors. This is the study of how people interact with products.
They also need to be able to design products that are easy and comfortable to use, while being aware of the different ways people will use their products.
This information is important for designing products that meet the needs of the end user.
An Understanding of User Experience
Similar to the above, user experience is all about how people interact with products. It encompasses everything from the first time someone sees a product to the way they use it on a daily basis.
Product designers need to be able to design products that offer a good user experience from the moment they lay eyes on it. And this requires a certain level of conceptual creativity. Thinking of all of the alternative ways someone may approach your product (if they didn’t have instructions in front of them) is key for creating a product that’s intuitive.
Creating a good user experience is essential for designing successful products.
What Skills Are Unique to Industrial Design?
There are a few skills that are unique to industrial designers as well. Let’s explore these now.
An Understanding of Manufacturing Processes
Industrial designers need to have a strong understanding of manufacturing processes. Whatever they design will likely be manufactured at some point, so having a firm grasp on this process is essential.
They also need to be aware of the different methods that can be used to manufacture their products along with the limitations associated with each.
This information is essential for designing products that can be easily and affordably manufactured while still checking all the boxes on ideal industrial design.
Key Differences Between Product Design and Industrial Design: A Summary
One of the biggest differences between these two types of design is the focus. Product design is all about designing individual products. Industrial design, on the other hand, is about designing anything that can be mass-produced.
Another big difference is the scope. Product design usually only applies to one product. Industrial design, on the other hand, can apply to many different products.
Finally, industrial design is usually more concerned with aesthetics than product design. This is because industrial designers are responsible for making products that are not only functional but also pleasing to look at on a broader scale.
Product Design vs. Industrial Design: Understanding Both Means a More Targeted Hiring and Application Process
Whether you’re looking to hire a product designer or industrial designer, or you’re a designer looking for the right type of job, it’s important to understand the key differences between these two types of design.
By understanding the difference between product design and industrial design, you’ll be able to more accurately target your search. This will result in a more efficient and effective hiring process.
And as a designer, understanding the differences here will also help you to more accurately target your job search. You’ll be able to focus your search on the type of design that you’re interested in, which will make your job hunt more efficient and effective.
Happy job hunting – or hiring!