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Industrial Designer

Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Interview

Also known as Product Designer.

Industrial designers create and produce designs for commercial, medical and industrial products.

They also make models and prototypes of these designs for mass production.

The products that industrial designers create cover a wide range of manufactured goods, from toys and toasters to furniture and heavy machinery.

Some work is carried out on the development of new products. Other work is related to updating and improving the design of existing products.

Industrial designers work closely with other professionals in the field, such as engineers, manufacturers, market researchers, marketing consultants, drafters and product testing staff.

They work in studios when creating and refining designs, using their hands and/or computer-aided design.

They may also spend time in the field observing and researching product usage, and in manufacturing plants observing methods of production and collecting information about new materials and production processes.

Designers may work long hours and experience periods of intense pressure when deadlines must be met.


    Industrial designers may perform the following tasks:

  • discuss manufacturers' and clients' requirements
  • undertake research and development
  • consider factors influencing product design, such as cost, selection of materials, production methods, new technology, safety, fashion trends, ergonomics, the environment, marketing and business strategy
  • prepare presentation sketches showing style, size, shape, configuration of internal components and general appearance of products, either by hand or using a computer
  • supervise construction of models or samples of products and test them for function, quality and consumer appeal
  • estimate production costs
  • make engineering drawings and detailed diagrams of products and report these to manufacturers
  • modify designs where necessary to meet manufacturing or cost requirements


  • aptitude for problem-solving
  • patient
  • creative and practical
  • aptitude for technical activities
  • good communication skills

Interest Area

Artistic/Creative Clerical/Administrative Technical/Engineering Influencing/Personal Contact


Consumer Appliance Designer - works in a design team that develops products and appliances to assist or entertain in the home or office (whitegoods, electronic goods and computer equipment, for example).

Furniture Designer - creates designs for the manufacture of domestic, commercial and industrial furniture.

Sustainable Design Consultant - advises on environmentally sustainable methods and materials for creating and producing designs for products.

Transport Designer - works in large teams to add shape, style and comfort to cars, trucks, trains and trams.


Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Interview

To become an industrial designer you usually have to complete a degree in design, engineering or industrial design at university. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics and physics are normally required. Applicants may also be required to submit a portfolio of work, sit a test and/or attend an interview.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Additional Information

    After gaining some industry experience, graduates may qualify for full membership of the Design Institute of Australia. Student, graduate or associate membership may also be available prior to meeting the requirements for full membership. Graduates may also be eligible for membership of Engineers Australia. Visit their websites for more details.


Most industrial designers work for manufacturing firms. They also work for private consultancies and government departments.

Most designers should expect to spend several years after graduation engaged in industry gaining experience as staff designers before attempting to enter the highly demanding field of design consulting. Most manufacturers prefer industrial designers to have had some previous commercial experience.

Due to competition with overseas products that are cheaper to manufacture, Australian manufacturers are moving towards producing products with better design.

There is a broad range of opportunities in product design, including one-off commissions, small-scale production and industrial production. There are also opportunities to establish designer/maker practices specialising in such disciplines as objects of art and furniture.

Work is predominantly concentrated in the manufacturing sector, in Sydney and Melbourne.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Industrial Designer Design Institute of Australia Engineers Australia

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