Software and skills basics


I have a quick question. I’ve done web design for the past 5 years, but after working on the project for watch design I got really interested in product design and would love to get into the field.

The problem I have is that I know Photoshop and Illustrator and I love to sketch and draw, but I don’t know if that would be sufficient to get the job in the product industry. I’m teaching myself Rhino, because someone mentioned it can be used for Watch design. I would love to design anything from watches to jewelry to bags and accessories. Unfortunately I went to school for something else and I can’t work internship job since living in NYC is expensive and I need a full time paying job to pay my rent.

Can someone recommend me software that can be self taught or give me any other ideas to get into product design field. Do I need to do my portfolio (simple drawings or Photohsop/Illustrator digital format)? basically anything that might guide me?

Also If you work or got a job in this type of design without taking design classes I would love to hear more about it. I’m very creative and would love to pursue something where I can express my creativity.

Thank you very much in advance for all your help and advice.

Jim Stark


It would be good to know what your degree is in; an engineering or architectural degree would probably be better than accounting. I am an Industrial Design student so I have no real experience in the field but there is a lot more to ID than drawing skills. A strong understanding of materials and processes is vital. There are plenty of designers out there and I have a feeling you will have a hard time finding a job without a related degree. The other option is freelance work, a good part of the designers out there are freelance. If you don’t feel you know enough to make a living as a freelance designer you probably need to go back to school.

Good luck,

As nathan says, you have to have some kind of knowledge of materials and manufacturing processes. I would add human factors/ergonomics and basic marketing skills to list as well if you expect to be taken seriously by employers looking for Industrial Designers. A basic knowledge of 20th century product design history and designers wouldn’t hurt either.

ID is not about designing what you feel is appropriate (i.e. expressing your creativity) but rather designing useful products that improve someones quality of life and ultimately sell or make money. I’m sure I’ll start some flame war with that last comment, but oh well - its the truth.