Career and Job Search Guide

Commercial and Industrial Designers

Commercial and industrial designers use their expertise and training to design consumer goods. Most manufactured products found on the market were designed by one of these specialists. Commercial and industrial designers usually specialize in a particular product.

Before a new product is designed, commercial and industrial designers must find out what specifically their client is seeking in a product and its intended use. During new product development, designers frequently conduct research to make these determinations. They must determine such product features as size, color, and building resources while developing a new product. To make these determinations commercial and industrial designers interview clients, review consumer magazines, spend time at trade conventions, and meet with representatives from manufacturing firms.

During the next phase, commercial and industrial designers prepare blueprints by using software or making hand drawings after meeting with people from the development division. More designers are now using computer software to develop blueprints since this technology speeds up development and enables users to make quick changes. Industrial designers employed by manufacturing companies utilize computer-aided industrial design (CAID) technology to develop blueprints that can be read by automated equipment. Sometimes, commercial and industrial designers will develop small models to provide their clients a preview of the completed product.

After their models and plans have been reviewed by clients, they make any requested alterations. To improve product designs or cut project costs, designers frequently collaborate with accountants, engineers, and other professionals. Upon completion of a project, designers conduct tests to determine whether products are safe and user friendly. From these tests, designers can make product changes to better suit consumers' needs.

More designers are now working closely with management and company strategists to make sure finished products comply with its corporate image, values, and vision. They also collaborate with the marketing division to develop advertising strategies. Designers are also concerned with staying ahead of the competition by developing innovative goods.

Work environment. Designers working for large factories or companies work normal hours in brightly-lit, easy to work in environments. Those running their own businesses or working for smaller companies are often contracted to perform specific jobs or tasks. Commercial and industrial designers must be flexible to accommodate their customers' schedules, so they frequently work nights and weekends. Those running their own companies or working as consultants frequently work long days. Anytime a deadline must be met, design professionals often work overtime.

Designers can perform their work at home or at a client's personal residence. Designers are sometimes required to travel to factories, testing labs, or other facilities where new products are designed or manufactured. Because of new technology, many designers are working with clients from all over the world.