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Industrial Designer
Industrial designers design consumer articles in response to a recognized need for a new product, or may improve on an existing product. They specialize in any one of many fields, ranging from household equipment such as utensils, appliances or furniture, to more specialized equipment such as cars, the interiors of aeroplanes or medical equipment.

Their role mainly requires expertise in the overall conceptualization, interaction with products and the design of their appearance.

Their work covers all spheres of industry. Industrial designers combine artistic talent with a knowledge of marketing, materials and methods of production to create new products or improve the appearance and functional design of existing products.

Industrial designers apply their creativity and technological expertise in designing articles that are functional and at the same time, satisfy the user's need for aesthetic appeal. They have to consider elements of practicality, marketing and manufacturing as well as the comfort and safety of the user.

When a product is designed, the first priority is to establish the main function of the product. This involves a study of all possible problems as well as an analysis of relevant research data. Designers use this information to prepare a brief on the design to avoid duplication and to ensure that the new products are better than the previous or existing ones.

Key factors to be considered are function, user friendliness, appearance, cost, safety, maintenance, marketing strategies and competitiveness with other products. They have to produce technical specifications for the new product, the estimated cost and the restriction of the design. After the brief has been prepared, designers start working on the actual design.

They make sketches, models and drafts using drawings. They are not able to express themselves freely, but work within the confines of the brief, available technology and the client’s marketing plan. They present their ideas to their client who considers them and decided whether the proposed design satisfies his/her conditions. If the client accepts the design, the designer prepares the final specifications and drawings for the production of the article.

Industrial designers are also involved in the progress discussion, planning as well as quality control. In some cases, industrial designers can be involved with the gathering of information on how an existing product compares with competing products, the needs of users and fashion trends. They may then sketch a variety of designs and consult with managers, engineers, sales and marketing personnel and others, about the feasibility of each idea.

They make a model of the design selected by the company management. After any necessary revisions a final prototype is made with the material to be used in the finished product. The approved prototype is then put into production. Consumer testing by means of market research is important at all stages to assess consumer reaction, in order to determine the acceptability of the product amd the need for any changes.

Industrial designers specialize in the following areas:

Consumer Appliance Designers: are involved in a design team that develops products and appliances to assist or entertain in the home or office (i.e. white goods, electronic goods, computer equipment and so on)

Furniture Designers: create designs for the manufacture of domestic, commercial and industrial furniture

Transport Designers work in large teams putting shape, style and comfort into cars, trucks, trains and trams

Industrial designers work mostly indoors, usually in clean, well-lit and well-ventilated rooms, where they spend their time in front of a drawing board making sketches. They also work in workshops when making models.

Satisfying Aspects
- pleasant working conditions
- good salaries
- the opportunity to use creative and artistic talent
- variety of work tasks

Demanding aspects
- having ideas rejected
- working under pressure
- working long hours
- sometimes having to travel extensively
- visiting clients and factories

An industrial designer should be/have:
- artistic and creative, yet practical
- ability to draw and build models
- able to communicate with people on all levels
- able to translate abstract ideas into tangible designs
- friendly and tactful, especially when dealing with clients
- technical aptitude
- sound engineering knowledge
- familiar with plastics / timber / metal and composite materials
- understand and meet the needs and tastes of the public
- sound understanding of marketing, sales work and other business activities
- able to handle rejection of ideas
- good vision and manual dexterity

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting diploma requirements for a diploma course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Students are selected on the basis of a portfolio, a practical entrance examination and an interview. Drawing as well as creative abilities are considered very important.

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics
Recommended school subjects: Physical Sciences, Visual Arts, Information Technology, Engineering and Graphic Design

Diploma: Industrial Design - UJ, CPUT, Design School.

Post-graduate study: MTech. Industrial Design - UJ, recommended to develop the necessary competencies for entering the industrial design profession.

- factories and manufacturers of mass produced goods
- all branches of industry
- shop-fitters and furnishers
- architectural and interior designers
- colleges, universities and art schools
- design consultants and studios
- printers and publishers
- marketing organizations
- self-employment, working independently and receiving assignments from clients, or develop    ideas or inventions and negotiate with manufacturers through license agreements.

SABS Design Institute
Private Bag X191
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 428-6326 Fax: (012) 428-6456

Design Centre
P O Box 84190
Greenside, 2043
118 Greenway
Tel: (011) 646-1984 Fax: (011) 646-6165

University of Johannesburg
P O Box 17011
Doornfontein, 2028
Tel: (011) 406-2911

Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT)
P O Box 652
Cape Town, 8000
Tel: (021) 460-3911