Industrial Design jobs and related jobs

Okay, I hear there is not a lot of jobs in Industrial Design, but some how the designers find something. Also, some claim some jobs are not design jobs (example: CAD designer or drafter). So can anybody discribe the real I.D. jobs and tasks, and then tell me the related jobs that one can acquire with a degree in I.D…

Why don’t you check for jobs at ?

They have good descriptions about the desired skills and education needed.

Try to see what would be your ideal job, read carefully a bunch of posts and then build your skills to get it.

I can tell you from my own experience that there a lot of jobs out there for people with ID degrees / experience. They may not be the rockstar design jobs at Nike, but there is definitely a paycheck to be found.

Personally speaking, upon graduation, I went into the exciting world of Point of Purchase Signage and Display design. There were very few projects that I thought were as cool as the stuff that I thought I’d be doing when I was in school, but whatever, it paid the bills and wasn’t really a bad gig.

That bit of experience then landed me a job as a project coordinator which then led into sales. That sales expereince has opened the door up for me even further, I can probably land a sales job in just about any industry if I so desired.

So don’t be afraid of being able to find a job. It’s certainly possible as long as you keep yourself available to new opportunities. You just never know what is going to come along.

yep. i did two gigs with POP inbetween furniture gigs because the contact/residential industry tanked on me. not terribly exciting, but it taught me speed, marketing/branding, cost-effective solutions, and improved my time management skills. when the chips are down, you take what you can and learn all you can from it.

when i got back into a private firm, these skills clicked and it made me a gorilla, not a rockstar. it gave me a full-perspective design ability that allowed me to guide a project through inter-disciplinary meetings. now that i’m on a corporation, it baffles other department managers that i can interact with them on their deparment level. this adds a quantifiable credibility to me and my current design department.

i still design quite a lot, but i can play all sides of the fence, so to speak, while conceptualizing. to some, it may seem constraining, but i can enforce more persuasion because i can engage the design through more aspects of the business.

i think being able to understand design from other viewpoints is far more effective than being a creative rockstar.

I’m considering POP right now as I have been speaking with a Head Hunter for the POP industry, and I’m glad to hear you prospective on this guys.

Kung Fu, did you find it very hard to “transition back into ID” after you had been working in POP for awhile?

I’m considering it but I feel a little bit of trepidation right now because I only have 2 years of experience in ID, and I feel like this next job is going to sort of mark my “formative years” in terms of which industries I chart a course towards. i.e. I can’t very well apply for jobs that ask for specific experience such as Packaging or Consumer Electronics, etc. On the other hand, I can see what you mean about effeciently working between different groups, effective management of projects, etc. I interviewed with an exhibit company that seemed to have EXCELLENT organization in terms of work flow, project management, etc. and I can only imagine that it would benefit me for having that kind of experience.


POP can be a mixed bag of stuff. like most design positions, it’s REALLY deadline oriented. one POP gig i had was with a large specialty retailer and timelines moved slower. the other was with a semi/permanent fixture mfg’r with a good industry reputation. the second pop gig i took because i was desperate. i was there about 3 years.

projects ranged from $20 wire racks to multi-million dollar national displays for a large company and it’s brands. a lot of it was quick and dirty, but some of the better projects, i was able to work with the client’s marketing dept to delve into their brand, brand strategy, and consumer demographics. obviously, this gave me a much better design and it was apparent in the results.

that second company was a good place to work, but our design manager was a miserable cuss. fortunately, the other two designers i worked closely with were my age and had the same interests and sense of humor. we kept close together in our outside of work . eventually it got to the point that we were actually running the design department and side-stepping our manager altogether while he dealt with his own demons. i left that job 4 years ago and still keep in close contacts with those guys.

as for the transition back into my industry preference (furniture), it was pretty easy. POP used a lot of the same resources and vendors as furniture, plus we watched the furniture and interior trends to help our own designs. when i got back into furniture, i had a far better sensitivity toward cost and manufacturability. i also has a keen sense of time and project timelines. i think it actually made me a better furniture designer. i think you can apply that to what ever you chose to do in the future. the process is similar in all industries. the only caveat i have is that POP can burn up designers pretty fast, so be aware of your design ‘mental health’ if you will.

what company are you interviewing with? pm me if you wish.

Of course all this would depend on what you’re view of ID really is. I work with a guy who has been in ID since before there were computers- so naturally he’s just uncool about everything.

But anyway- I always saw ID as being more diverse than graphics people, could think like marketing and sales people, and had an ability to interpret manufacturing processes and contacts. With that said, I saw Car design, handheld electronics, and Footwear as sort of the pinnacle- with more niche industries like furniture and housewares, medical, soft/hard goods as second tier stuff. But even this depends where you are. Working for a consultancy you get an entirely different design process whereas with a company who designs it’s own products.

I work within the footwear industry as something like a vendor. We design and manufacture our own parts, then sell them to the Factories for the footwear companies to use. For the most part I have few peers in the area, and none that I work with- everyone else is a boss technically.

In short I guess- it really depends where you are, and what you think you’re trying to do. Then comes the trick of fitting in and balancing bosses, leadership, what you want v. someone else’s wants, and the whole success route.