Product designers innovate and create new products or improve and enhance existing ones to provide well designed, aesthetically pleasing and functional designs across a range of industries, including metal and plastic manufacturers, building and construction firms and household, furniture, clothing, toy and game retailers.
Some Product designers are self-employed, while others may be employed by an organisation where they work in teams with other designers, engineers and model makers to find effective solutions to the requirements of their clients, known as a 'brief'.
Concepts and designs may be initially drawn or sketched, then 2 or 3 designs are created using computer aided design software and then prototypes, models or samples are then produced to examine how the product can be used most effectively and safely.
National or international travel may be required to meet with clients and suppliers.
Duties may include:
- meeting clients to discuss design requirements, budgets and timescales
- designing and developing prototypes, models and samples
- researching trends and design concepts, including competitor analysis and market research
- creating new designs using sketches and computer aided design software
- presenting ideas to design teams and clients
- solving design problems
- communicating designs to suppliers
- writing reports
- visiting suppliers to oversee design and large scale production process.
Personal Qualities and Skills
Key skills for product designers
- creative and innovative
- strong technical design, drawing and sketching skills
- excellent IT skills, computer aided design software, such as Solidworks and Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
- commercial awareness, good understanding of the industry and competitors
- knowledge and understanding of safety and quality policies and procedures
- ability to translate designs into products
- good team player
- ability to communicate confidently and effectively
- high level of attention to detail
- highly organised, with strong project management skills.
Pay And Opportunities
Typical employers of product designers
- design studios and consultancies
- furniture designers and retailers
- construction firms
- engineering companies
- metal, plastics and textile manufacturers
- department store retailers
- colleges and universities.
Qualifications and training required
Creativity and the ability to problem solve is a key requirement to become a product designer.
Apprenticeships may be offered by some companies.
A Level and BTEC product or industrial design are offered at some schools and colleges.
Entry to industrial, product or special design degrees usually require an art and design based course, in addition to maths or physics.
In Scotland Product design related Higher National Diploma courses can be studied at college. These require around 1 Higher in Art and Design, Design and Manufacture or Graphic Communications in addition to National 5 English. Degree courses are also available. These require around 4 Highers Grades A – C. Design orientated courses are likely to require Art and Design or a technological subject as well as English. More engineering orientated courses are likely to require Higher Maths and Physics