A type of mechanical engineer whose job is to develop products that will be mass produced. Industrial Designers tend to focus less on the kinematics or dynamics of the end product, and more on its static qualities, such as shape, assembly, presentation, and material constitution.

In developing a new product, the good industrial designer will have to take into account the following considerations:

For some reason, Scandinavians seem to be predisposed to good industrial design. You may say what you will about the style of Ikea's furniture, but its design seems to maximize the root mean square of the above factors. Industrial Design ends up being as much an art form as it does an engineering discipline, and it is not uncommon to see sculptors and industrial designers try their hands at each other's craft.

As of the turn of the millenium, most industrial design work is done in front of a computer workstation. Industrial designers can expect to work with fancy CAD and modelling software on even fancier computers, a la Silicon Graphics.

The advantages of a career as an industrial designer include the chance to build things that are universally acknowledged as cool, even to small children, an engineering career that does not require intimate knowledge of such things as UARTs or tensors or dynamic viscosity, and the opportunity to work in a field that will never become obsolete.

The disadvantages of the industrial designer include the possibility of working on extremely boring looking projects, disrespect from co-workers in more technically intense (but usually no more difficult) fields, and the chance that your bad design might end up injuring or killing someone.

If you like puzzles and putting things together, you might like being an industrial designer.

Not a mere engineer, that is a hasty generalization.

Some say Phillipe Starck is one. Not exactly. Raymond Loewy was one, as was Henry Dreyfuss. I am also an industrial designer - well, at least a derivative. The industrial designer takes into consideration a balance of the human senses, from the physical to the financial, and expresses them through mass-produced products. One can say that the industrial designer is actually a humanist, designing for the everyday person.

Most of what industrial designers do deals with the interaction between the human and the object through its design and development, through mass production techniques to marketing for the right people. In other words, the Product Life Cycle. The industrial designer is in fact a representative for humans in the development on machine-made objects. Without the industrial designer, there is no ergonomics, styling, usability, or maintenance. The engineer takes care of the design of internal mechanical components, making certain parts work like they are suppose to. The industrial designer's responsibility is mainly that of the interaction surface, whether it is ease of access in replacing a burnt motor, or specifying santoprene for a drill grip.

Please do not mistaken an industrial designer for an engineer. Both are useful in their own right, and they obviously have distinctive characteristics.

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