Designing for Industry
Industrial design is an intellectual profession, Sumitha Martin finds out.
Industrial designers design products which are produced in quantity, through industrial processes. They merge art with technology to design products such as consumer goods, electronic products, workshop machinery, and medical and educational equipment.
Through the selection of the most appropriate technology and consideration of efficiency, economy, dependability, safety and simplicity, industrial designers retain the basic function of, and create, products that give maximum appeal to consumers.
Industrial design is also an activity in which products, services, graphics, interiors and architecture, work together to enhance the value of life.
Industrial designers are therefore people who practice in an intellectual profession, and should not be mistaken as tradesmen.
Studying industrial design
Industrial design education in Malaysia, is available at diploma and bachelor’s degree levels. Courses cover subjects such as design methodology, ergonomics, the aesthetic principles of design, and materials and processes. Business skills are also taught to enable students to put principles into practice in the working world.
Diploma holders are well prepared for the job market and therefore, have the option to work for a few years in industry before proceeding to complete a bachelor’s degree programme. Students should check if a course is accredited by LAN (the National Accreditation Board), before signing up at an institution.
Three credits at SPM level are needed for a diploma course while an STPM certificate or foundation course is a prerequisite for a bachelor’s degree programme.
Skills of an industrial designer
Designers need to:
- have a good working knowledge of engineering
- be familiar with modern materials
- have a firm understanding of production techniques
- understand market requirements, and
- anticipate user’s needs
Who employs industrial designers?
Design graduates are employed in the automobile, furniture and plastic industries, as well as multinationals, the civil service and design consultancies. Product design is diverse so designers need to find their niche, be it in jobs which focus on aesthetics and styling or engineering.
Fast facts about industrial design
- Classic industrial designs include the Volkswagen Beetle and the Coke bottle.
- Automotive design refers to the development of the visual appearance or aesthetics of the vehicle.