Industrial Designer new to company

If you were thinking about taking a reg. level ID job at a big mfg. company that never had an in-house ID’er, what types of things would you look out for to make sure you got what you needed to do your job?

  • obviously, the right equipment - software, hardware.
  • would you ask for a lab type space if you could get it? So you could do clay, have a lots of space for prototypes, layouts, pin boards, etc. so as not be all jammed in a cube? Is this getting too bold and demanding?
  • would you just go for the software, hardware and see what how things develop?
  • anything else?

I’d ask for a Design Director who knew what to ask for :wink:

They’re not asking for a Design Director, I guess they don’t want to pay $100k+, + bonus’ a director level would get. That’s the thing, the job title and job description / responsibilities don’t really mesh. Looks like they need more of a director/manager to set it up and deliver on the mucho responsibilities. Going in as a regular level with the long list of what is necessary seems presumptuous, I don’t know.

On the one hand, I could go in with such a list if offered the job. I GUESS MY QUESTION IS… accept and delivering on higher-level tasks, assume a lot of responsibility at standard title and pay and maybe be groomed for the higher position after prooving oneself? Or go for the brass ring going in and negotiate higher title and pay and risk not getting in by blowing their salary cap for the position.

Maybe this is a dumb question because of course they are going to ask what you need to do your job at any level, and anyone would submit a thought-out and detailed list because that makes it easier to do their job. And due to the economy they can get more experienced people applying mid-level jobs with higher-level duties with lower title and pay.

Kind of thinking out loud here…obviously I’m no Design Director.

For Physical -

Art supplies / Decent computer / dual monitor / CAD package / Sketch package / adobe package blah blah blah…

Now for the hard stuff. What do you need to do your job… Without knowing the corporate structure or team dynamics I am going to throw a few things out that you may want to talk about.

  1. You want to talk about defining your role with in the projects.
  2. You want to understand were they see ID fitting into the process upfront and down stream
  3. you want to have access to various developmental meetings to ensure you are prat of the process and in the loop
  4. the ability to do voc research
  5. … much more depending on a variety of items

these are just a few items that you may / will need to do your job. Without an understanding of the industry you are going into and a little insight into the company it is hard to add more without going off on the wrong tangent.

You say they have never had ID before, do they understand the true value of ID or are they adding it just because everyone else has it? You will want to know the WHY of adding ID to determine how much educating you may face.

Chevis W.

I’m not sure you are in a position to make a lot of requests or demands (yet) as you have not been offered the position.

It is good to think ahead, so a key part of any interview process is to better understand expectations of position, the work environment, organizational structure & culture, and opportunities for personal and professional growth.

It would be no surprise as first Industrial Designer at company for you to put some thoughts to and have influence over what you would need to be successful and deliver on position expectations. The tangibles: computer, software, markers, paper etc should come easily to you. Work environment-wise you can communicate what type you perform best in without it coming across as too demanding. Don’t forget training, seminars etc.

So perhaps think of this as continued inquiry rather than making requests: Do you have separate workshop, lab spaces dedicated to projects/departments? Do I sit in a cube? Are there opportunities for continuing education, software training etc? What are expectations of position in the first week or month?

Remember accepting a position means accepting the responsibilities attached, and that the company is investing in you as much (or as little) as you are investing in them.

I can only speak from experience. I went into my company who were working without a designer and was given a good computer with a decent quadro graphics card, some pens and basic office supplies. I brought my own markers and templates which I accumulated at Uni.

Maybe I should be asking for more. Fail. At least I get a day off a fortnight now and decent pay.

I think it really depends on the company. For a company like mine with co-workers who call me the “graphics design engineer” or cad design drafter, I don’t expect much.

Chevis brings up some great points. I too was hired as the first ID. We now have an established design dept and take design very seriously but this did not come without a lot of proving ourselves, patience, a bit of pain, and quite a bit of fight.

The first thing you need to ask is what their plans are. What do they want to get out of design in their organization? Is it just and engineer that wants to have a “designer” on staff? Is it a CEO that feels design is important to the success of the business?
These are two different question that create multiple challenges.

If you just have a lone manager that wants to have a design pet. RUN far far away!! Nothing good comes out of this. You will work very hard and will constantly be hitting walls that you will not be able to break through. Like Yo mentioned you need someone at the top whether that be a Design Director, CEO, VP of RD, etc… With us it started with our Chief Marketing Officer. By having someone at the top it give you creditability and allows you to bring your skills to the business and grow.

Second…don’t worry about supplies, computers, space, etc… All of that will come and they should know that if they hire you they have to invest in a computer with some software. What you really need to focus your energy on when coming in as the first IDer is educating others. You should do this two ways.

First is simple design education. Create a simple process deck that you can reference and show others what ID does. This could be as simple as your portfolio or website, or the creation of a design process for the organization. It all depends on how far you want to take it.

The second is that remember the say that “seeing is believing”. Put everything up on the wall. If you do not have a wall, make one. Make sure you make your ENTIRE process visible. You will be surprised how simple things such as sketches, moodboards, competitor photos, etc… will engage others and get them jazzed about your work. This also show that you do more than just make things look pretty. Do not under estimate the value a great sketch.

I hope this helps. Just my 2 cents