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Have you ever considered entering the exciting field of product design?

Product designers use their ingenuity and talents to help devise new products for the marketplace and also enhance existing designs.

A skilled product designer contributes value to the lives of other people. Whether the designer works on a simple problem or a very complex one, the results ultimately benefit society by making daily life better, happier, or more convenient.

In fact, sometimes the very best product designs improve widely used everyday products. If you enjoy creative work, you may find this career irresistible!

1. Product Design: a Brief Job Description

Today, this emerging career appeals to people who love to improve the experience of many different types of products. Product designers transform the features of numerous items, from mobile phones and automobiles to industrial equipment and heavy machinery.

A successful product designer draws upon familiarity with existing technology to implement creative solutions.

This area of work encompasses four broad types of activities:

  • Conceiving new designs;
  • Crafting models;
  • Producing prototypes;
  • Testing products and new improvements.

For instance, in close association with qualified engineers and model-makers, a designer may help develop written proposals for the creation of new or improved products. This work typically requires conducting extensive market research, since the designer must operate within realistic budget parameters to generate cost-effective goods for commercial markets.

2. A Product Designer’s Work Day

Architecture Team

Photo Credit – Pixabay.com

During a typical day, a product designer needs to rely on several tools. These frequently include sketches, drawings, three-dimensional models, and computer-enhanced plans.

A product designer who seeks to improve upon an existing proprietary product needs to obtain legal permission from the product owners in order to make specified improvements.

Many companies and startups hire product designers to help them develop new, creative designs for existing products and brands.

3. Frequent Job Responsibilities

A successful product designer may spend time juggling a variety of daily commitments. This career frequently transpires in an office or a design studio, but may also require visits to workshops and factory production facilities.

The multiple tasks that are undertaken by a busy product designer sometimes include:

  • Meeting with clients;
  • Working collaboratively with others as part of a design team;
  • Drafting new concepts with the assistance of computer-assisted drafting programs;
  • Preparing samples;
  • Helping to build prototypes;
  • Conducting research into product materials;
  • Assisting with product-market testing campaigns, and more!

4. Necessary Qualifications and Skills

The backgrounds of successful product designers within specific industries sometimes vary widely. Extensive experience working within a particular niche, an advanced degree in an applicable field, or accredited college-level academic degrees in industrial designing or engineering usually form the prerequisites for steady employment. However, breaking into this lucrative occupation may prove difficult.

Students who pursue formal degrees in the design field must often complete initial coursework in basic art and design principles as freshmen.

Helpful courses to consider taking include:

  • Principles of design;
  • Sketching and drawing;
  • CAD drafting;
  • Industrial materials and processes;
  • Production methodology;
  • Design history and design movements;
  • Engineering principles, engineering, and 3-D design modeling.

Due to the competitive nature of this occupation, product designers must take steps to remain current in their field by reading, contributing to blogs, and following contemporary design trends.

A skilled product designer must absolutely possess the ability to construct or contribute to prototype development. It often helps to network with other professionals in order to enhance your business contacts and opportunities.

5. Career Advancement

Many manufacturing companies and professional design firms hire product designers as employees. Frequently product designers with successful track records decide to work independently as inventors or consultants. Some even establish their own design studios.

Building a great portfolio and networking assist many independent product designers. Some practical ways to obtain greater career recognition include:

  • Attending training workshops and industry conferences;
  • Participating in trade fairs;
  • Creating product exhibitions;
  • Accepting unpaid work in exchange for favorable publicity.

Employers may require product designers to attend in-service training or continuing education classes in order to maintain currency within specific fields.

6. Your Product Design Career

A career as a product designer may offer great personal satisfaction, as well as a lucrative income. By gaining a solid educational foundation and then pursuing your career objectives consistently, you’ll stand the best chance of succeeding. Many full-time designers focus on niche areas and work to expand their expertise within specialized markets.

Written By
Heather Redding is an avid reader, freelance writer and coffee addict from Aurora, Illinois. When she isn’t working, she likes to capture life's little moments with her camera. You can reach Heather via Twitter .

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