Denver / Boulder CO Industrial Design opportunities

Does anyone here have any info on what the industrial design scene is like or if there is much opportunity in the Denver / Boulder area? Any info pointing me in the right direction would be much appreciated!

I have about 4 years experience in packaging / retail display design and manufacturing (mostly for the luxury watch industry) and am toying with the idea of trying to move out there.


I just moved back to Denver after been away in California for 10 years. I would say the design scene is small. I have a small network because I went to school at Metro State for a year and also did my internship at Pearl Izumi after I finished collage. I moved here because I had been in the process of starting my own business. I just found the bay area to be a bit cost prohibitive to that endeavor. So I moved my family out here to drop our living cost while I get everything up and running.

If you are looking for full time employment here in design I would expect it would take maybe a year to find a position. I will tell you hiring in Denver will generally want people in the area so it is almost required to move here to even compete. Jobs are rather few and far between mostly centered around outdoor product design but there are a number of manufactures and packagers in the area so if you have experience with that you might be able to find work quicker. I will say that living in Denver is awesome and I would rather live here then any were else. The quality of life is so high and if you are an outdoors person you pretty much can’t beat it. But in the way of design it is not San Francisco or LA.

Salt lake has a lot of the same outdoor opportunities but with maybe a little better design scene. A lot of outdoor companies moved to salt lake about 10 years ago so there are a few more opportunities there. Hope this helps if you have some more questions I would be happy to answer them.

Thanks for your response.

I absolutely am an outdoors person, I have a few friends who just moved out there, and I am really pushing myself to get off the East Coast before I settle down somewhere.

I’d love to try and move into doing more outdoor related design, though it’s kind of difficult to see how I can shift into that, being my background for the last few years hasn’t been anywhere close to outdoor stuff.

Almost all my college projects were outdoor related, but I had to take what I could get job wise out of school which landed me close to home in NJ.

Anyway, thanks again for your response and I’ll definitely let you know if I have any more questions.

Keep your eye on for jobs in the sports industry. There are quite a few action sports companies based in and around Denver such as Pearl Izumi in Boulder (as mentioned above.)

While the product design scene may be a bit lacking, the area more than makes up for it in quality of life. At the end of the day, are you living to work or working to live? If all you want to do after finishing work every day is go out and design some more stuff, then living in a big metropolis is probably a better fit. If you’re like me, you’d rather design during the day and then spend time doing hobbies.

Colorado is a beautiful state, and I personally love living / working here. The design scene is rather small in the traditional product design, but there are a number of larger industries, especially in military, medical, and outdoors. Also countless startups (I think Boulder-Denver is #1 or #2 in number of startups / capita). While I only know a handful of IDers who work at consultancies, there are a good number of inhouse designers I know out here. The rocky mountain IDSA chapter is pretty active.