"what do you do for a living?" simple explination

I have been in the industry for a good 3 years now, and i have yet to come up with a simple and short soundbite that explains what industrial design is, with out confusing the other person.

The problem is that when I’m asked “what do you do” and i respond with industrial or product design, the person on the other end looks at me weird and thinks im a mechanical designer or design engines or some weird thing like that…

explaining it usually leaves the person even more confused that dumbfounded that such a career even exists (ive even gotten, do you go to college for that?)

So, what are the sound bites that you use to communicate your professions as simply and as clearly as possible? what are the magic word?

search the threads for “definitions of Industrial Design”. This has been covered at length previously and you should find what you are looking for there.


I have found it helpful to be as specific as possible: If you design footwear, say that. If you work at a consultancy pick one area, say toy design, and say that. That usually works best if you want to be brief.

Design Packaging

Depending on the mood.

Product designer specialized in motorcycles…not the OCC variety.
I give nice shape to motorcycle parts.
I can hold a pencel reasonably well.

But as a designer not many people know what you do and are interested to hear more.

I thought bluntness works, me and people like me design everything you buy.

It is certainly easier if you are specialized. Many people can quickly understand what a toy designer, or footwear designer, and even an interface designer does.

I just say I’m a designer, and when they ask what I design, I say pretty much anything.

‘Product Designer’
‘Industrial Designer’
‘I design things’

i design and build custom and semi custom shit.

you could go: I make things look and work physically and emotionally well.

a comment or two would be most welcome!

I solve problems

I solve problems

Nice work, Mr. Wolf.

One of my favorite definitions of ID:

“A person who comes up with innovative design solutions to problems nobody knew existed.”