Industrial Designer

Job Description:

Industrial designers research and develop ideas for new products and the systems used to make them.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

Industrial designers or design engineers draw on their technical knowledge, mathematical expertise and design skills to create solutions in a range of sectors.

You’ll work in a variety of industries, from electronics to synthetic textiles, on projects as diverse as the redesign of consumer products, such as mobile phones, to the construction of motorcycle parts.

Your day-to-day duties would depend on the project, but could include:

  • research (using mathematical modelling to work through new developments and innovations)
  • design (turning research ideas into technical plans for prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-assisted engineering (CAE) software)
  • testing (collecting and analysing data from prototype testing)
  • modifying designs (ahead of manufacture or installation)
  • reporting (writing or presenting to project managers and clients)


You’ll need:

  • design skills and knowledge
  • understanding of technology, materials and manufacturing methods
  • analytical thinking skills
  • complex problem-solving skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
  • the ability to come up with new ways of doing things (creative skills)
  • persistence and determination
  • thinking and reasoning skills
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become an industrial designer, it’s important to have a well-rounded education that encompasses a mix of creative, technical, and practical skills. While there are no specific subjects that are mandatory for this profession, certain subjects can be beneficial in preparing for a career in industrial design. Here are some subjects and skills to consider:

  1. Art and Design: This is a crucial subject for aspiring industrial designers. It helps develop your creativity, understanding of aesthetics, and ability to visualise and conceptualise designs.
  2. Design and Technology (D&T): This subject provides practical skills and knowledge in areas like product design, materials, manufacturing processes, and CAD (Computer-Aided Design).
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for measurements, calculations, and understanding technical specifications.
  4. Physics: A foundational understanding of physics can be helpful in comprehending the principles behind the functioning of products and materials.
  5. Computer Science or IT: Familiarity with computer software and CAD programs is crucial for modern industrial design work.
  6. English: Strong communication skills are essential for presenting and explaining design ideas, as well as creating design documentation.

Post School

You’ll usually need a foundation degree or a degree in a subject like:

  • engineering product design
  • industrial design
  • computer aided design engineering
  • engineering design and manufacture
  • materials science

Mechanical, electrical and civil engineering qualifications may also help.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday.

Most of your time would be spent in a design or drawing office, with occasional travel to meet clients.

Career Path & Progression:

You can work in industries from construction and engineering to electronics and renewable energy. You can progress your career by working towards incorporated or chartered engineer status and registering with an industry body.