Can I Become an Industrial Designer with a Graphic Design Degree?

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Industrial DesignerWhile an industrial designer typically has a degree in industrial design, there are select jobs available for students with a graphic design degree. Keep reading to learn why a graphic design degree is beneficial and why you should become a professional designer.

Why is a Graphic Design Degree Beneficial?

Graphic design is a broad term that involves using industrial art and visual communication platforms to create visual content. Typically, this results in ads, posters and online graphics. A graphic design degree will help the holder get a job as a graphic designer, art director, software developer and commercial designer. However, the field of industrial design also needs graphic content created for product manufacturing purposes.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design is the process of creating the manufacturing models of current and future products. Designers research, sketch and use software programs to create virtual models that are the basis for product prototypes. However, it also involves certain project management aspects, such as product cost estimates, safety guidelines and engineering adjustments. Many designers specialize in a particular product category, such as electronics or home appliances. However, almost all designers use three-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided industrial design (CAID) software. Therefore, there are many positions available for graphic design savvy students.

What are the Education Requirements for an Industrial Design Job?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), entry-level industrial designer jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree in engineering, architecture or industrial design. Industrial design courses cover everything from sketching to manufacturing methods to computer-aided design and drafting (CADD).

Which Industrial Design Classes Should Graphic Design Students Take?

Industrial design programs typically start out teaching math, drawing synthesis and basic industrial design techniques. Next, students learn about anthropometry, design communications and the principles of two- and three-dimensional industrial design. Following this, the students will learn about proper presentations, packaging, photography and product design and materials. Therefore, any student who wishes to pursue an industrial design career should choose these classes as electives.

What is the Typical Curriculum of a Graphic Design Program?

During the first semester, graphic design students typically learn about form, color, drawing and typography. The second semester may cover industrial design concepts, such as form and space, design and communication and visual creativity. The following semester may teach the student about advanced web, graphic and publication designs. The final semester will probably require the student to complete a major project, build a senior portfolio or participate in an apprenticeship. Clearly, a graphic design program has many applicable classes that will help an industrial design professional.

What Skills are Needed to be a Successful Designer?

Designers must have a wide array of marketable skills and core competencies. For example, they must have both strong analytical, mechanical and creativity skills. Therefore, they must be very logical, but also innovative. Of course, they must have strong computer and IT skills because most of their work will be performed on complex software programs. Interpersonal skills are important because designers must develop and maintain professional relationships with different clients, coworkers and contractors. In the end, designers must use their advanced problem-solving skills to continually identify, assess and resolve various production problems.

To review, students with a degree in graphic design can work within the field of industrial design. A graphic design program will prepare a student for the artistic and design demands of an industrial design class. Being an industrial designer is a difficult, yet rewarding career path.

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