In 2006, there were approximately fifty thousand industrial designers in the United States according to the Labor Department studies. These Industrial designers work to improve the existing product by various methods which may include changing the shape of the product, modifying the existing technology, enhancing the quality of an object and various similar tasks. Simply, industrial designers try to find a solution to improve the marketability of the product to consumers by making it more efficient.
There are number of schools providing higher degrees and diplomas in industrial design. The institutions comprise of various specialized private schools and a number of state run Universities. California is among the leaders in industrial design education. Regions around San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Jose provide ample opportunities to excel as industrial designer.
According to the National Association of Schools and Design, there are around 45 institutes of higher education that provide a specialized degree in industrial design. Apart from these, more than 200 other schools now offer a similar degree with a strong emphasis on industrial design.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement to establish a firm foothold in one of the larger commercial firms. Due to the stiff competition in this field, successful industrial designers need to get a solid foundation in engineering, design software and business studies. As a hub of industrial design schools, large cities in California and developing cities like Sacramento and San Jose provide excellent opportunities for continuing education.
Sacramento – A Case Study
Apart from the large cities, California is popular due to the quality of industrial design degrees offered in other well known municipalities. The city of Sacramento is such an example where three large institutions offer industrial design degrees. The State University of California at Sacramento, The American River College and the Sacramento City College are the premier providers of commercial design degrees. Private schools in Sacramento, offering industrial design degrees, include the Art Institute campus.
Designers in Sacramento earn a hefty $45000 on average whereas the paycheck increases to almost $55,000 for occupations including industrial designer, graphic designers and interior designers. More than 85 percent of the design jobs in Sacramento are held among Whites, Blacks and Asians but the gap is narrowing to include more Hispanics and other minorities.
Industrial design is a unique concept which embodies Art and Engineering. A key requirement to a successful career is creativity and a basic knowledge of engineering concepts. An industrial designer works closely with all the departments in a corporate environment.
The design process may involve the use of color, texture, shapes, numbers and technical concepts. Experts utilize computer aided industrial software and may need to design their own survey and research methods to come out with a plausible and improved solution. They also work closely with the marketing and advertising departments of the firms to understand the needs of its customers so to improve the product, accordingly.
Due to a high involvement with design software, around thirty percent of the work force is self employed. Another primary reason for self employment is that it helps designers retain the copyrights of their creation. Besides these, a vast majority of the industrial designers are also employed in an Engineering company. Furthermore, many successful industrial designers are now providing their services on-line. These designers are either associated with an Industrial design organization or implement their creative ideas through the use of web based platforms which makes it much easier for them to reach a worldwide audience.
Attraction for future prospects
The pay for industrial designers in commercial sector is on a higher side. On average, an industrial designer demands more than $55000 per annum. Part of the attraction in Industrial design is the easy going work environment. The job is tailored towards meeting the demand of the customers which requires constant scheduled meetings. Both commercial and freelance industrial designers are accustomed to setting their own pace while adjusting to the demands of their customers. Examples of successful creations by industrial designers involve the launch of the ipod and the redesigning of Volkswagen brand.