Is that industrial designers or mechanical engineers job?

Hi,i just started ID first year and so i came across certain project in which i am quite confuse with the role ID play in designing , or isnt this ME’s JOB , not ID.

Take for example if i were to design a simple thing like shaver, does an ID need to design the Inside of the shaver or just the outlook itself ? (inside meaning the placement of the motor and functions of the motor)

Or let say a FLIP handphone, does an ID design the mechanism of the FLIPING part that includes the screws etc.

What do you think about this article:

More and more we are engineers. I am finding that our responsibility is to hand off something that the engineers can take and run with without starting from scratch. In some cases this is rough surfaces that can be used downstream, and in others I provide fully detailed CAD models. The more innovative the mechanical idea the more detailed the final file tends to be. This is my experience with engineers both Chinese and American.

The best designers have an intimate understanding of the products’ internals so that they can call BS on the engineers.

This can be intimidating if it’s not what you’re used to or you don’t have a ton of experience there, but this is where real design freedoms occur.

There are several projects that I would love to change the placement of internal components, but can’t due to platform reasons, exploit and learn!

make it your own. even if you need help, the more you learn about this stuff the better you become as a designer. never stop learning.

i engineer 95% of my own designs. that wasn’t the case earlier in my career.

the engineer is supposed to figure out how much torque is needed to rotate the blades, and how powerful the battery has to be. The two of you should be working together to figure out where the motor will fit in your casing.

Sometimes it everyone’s job to make sure products get out on time. I would bet the fastest way to get on your boss’s bad side is to point out something isn’t your job.

It can be fun to get into the mechanical stuff, talk to the engineer, everyone likes talking about things they know about.

Dead right. But not just for winning pissing contests but in most cases its the only way to get that innovative idea through.

As a designer it pays to listen carefully to Marketing’s request for the impossible, Engineering’s insistence to make something safe and already proven, and then we need to return with an alternative that is better than both. There’s nothing more satisfying than delivering that paradigm-shifting production-safe design.

Completely agree. Apparently Dieter Rams used to get in raging fights with the engineers at Braun because he wanted to try things that were ‘unsafe’. Even though many things are ME jobs, from an ID perspective it can do nothing but strengthen your skills to be ME competent. It’s important to communicate what you want, that’s your job.

diter could piss all he wants, drawings are cheap but protos, testing, and tooling are not. He would have to be able to lay some pretty good backup as to feasablity and advantages to counter the time/cost of new tech. In the real world a ID should be a pretty damn good ME, and a ME should also have some good design chops, but that is rare…but its what you strive for. Enginners, the good ones are taught to find the elegant solution, many dont and just go for the conventional. Designers are taught to strive for the elegant solution, but many dont as they let their ego/desires get in the way of listening to what the customer wants/needs.


ID’s focus is the User
ME’s focus is the Technology
Marketings focus is the Market/Customer

only edit i’d suggest it that marketing is perhaps more focused on the $…


Ok. Be warned. A bit of a rant coming up.

I’ve always had a small amount of disdain for marketers…

Of course - there are obvioulsy some great marketing people out there. But …it seems that when one is dealing with smaller companies - the people who do the “marketing” seem to be the people that aren’t smart enough to be an engineer - or creative enough to be a designer.
My other beef with “marketing” is that all too often the Marketing Manager - by title alone- seems qualified to do a host of tasks that should be left to people actually trained in the area. Examples: write copy, art direct, graphic design, and color forecast…

It’s amazingly how effective a GOOD Marketer can be. There are many I’ve worked with that clearly set the vision for the product/line very high, which can be inspiring and challenging . But there’s also the other type of Marketer, who also has powers of life and death of a product;

Some Marketers;

  • misuse sports-phrases instead of clearly saying what they mean
  • get confused and dismissive when engineers start talking eng-speak
  • have no understanding of space and time
  • don’t have any aversion to using Will Ferrell-like cliches (I want it done yesterday, knock it out of the ballpark, I will marry your sister if you…,etc.)
  • feign golf swings while talking to you
  • come to meetings late, send text messages when you’re saying the most Marketing-critical point, leave early
  • have a lifespan of 2-3 years before moving on without remorse and re-creating the same downfall for a different company.
  • clearly haven’t seen Office Space


I will call your small amount of disdain and raise you utter contempt.

I will go as far as believing that Marketing has gotten far too much control of the Product aspect of their 4 P’s. I am of the belief that Marketing needs to be spanked and put in the corner and have one of their P’s taken away from them due to bad behavior.

Ooooo…that felt good.

To PaulH’s point…there are good Marketers. But for some odd reason, that industry seems to attract more slime balls than not.

LMAO … nice

I am in the rare position of working with a pretty damn good couple of marketing people right now, appreciate designers’ roles and empowers design to make the right calls when at all possible in our corporate construct. But even then, there is so much on their plates that sometimes the late to the meetings and texting that PaulH mentioned are still there, even with good people with good intentions (I know the road thing). Driving me a little crazy…

Anyone know any god mechanical engineering freelancers in teh SF Bay Area? I’m looking for someone to work out a height telescoping mechanism

No, but I know one in Vancouver :wink: