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singletrack
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I have been following this thread for awhile. Currently I use Product Designer even though my degree says Industrial Designer. I do this for a pretty lame reason. Basically when I graduate I would say I was a Industrial Designer and then get the immediate question so you do factory HVAC. So this became to long of a conversation for me to explain that is nothing like what I do. I found Product Designer was easier for people to understand and lead the conversation to a point that was more manageable. Not really a deeper meaning point but this is why I choose to stay with Product Designer even though at the company I work for they call me a Category Designer. Which is accurate for what I am doing for them. But I still refer to myself as a Product Designer outside of work.
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ralphzoontjens
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The same goes for me. If you work solely for mass-manufacturing the term industrial designer is appropriate. But today we are doing digital media, brands, 3D printing etc. so 'product designer' is more fitting for many designers. I also think we have to distinguish between people who do interactive applications (interactive design) and physical products (product design).
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Difference is how the are been manufactured.
Designflux
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I wanted to comment on this thread as it is pinned and now very outdated. The term "product designer" is no longer used for Industrial designers, in the majority of cases. Now most "product designers" actually design digital products, just do a search for jobs with product designer in the keywords and you will run into 99% UX type positions. This has been happening for the past few years as UX has exploded in demand, and now I wouldnt say product designer as a term applies to ID for the most part (at least in North America). Of course there are exceptions, but that's what they are, exceptions.
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ralphzoontjens
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With digital fabrication technologies, industrial designers are venturing into 3D printed end products. Designs becoming increasingly data-driven, new skills emerge for the industrial designer such as generative design, AI and product customisation. Because of the complexity of these products, more and more multi-disciplinary work is done at the front end of the product creation process. Maybe if product designer is not a good term for these designers, we have to make a distinction just as the software industry does with something like 'Front End Industrial Designer' or even 'Prototype Designer'.
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yo
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It’s funny, I was at a get together and someone said “oh you have to meet so and so, she is a product designer.” ... so we got to talking and I asked where she worked. It was for a financial services company and I said “oh they have a product design group there?” ... to which she said “we aren’t real product designers, we just design their app”... it was an isolated instance. Over the past 15 years the titles have shifted in digital design from UX (oh wait, literally everything has UX) to IxD (same problem) to Product Design... maybe in 5 years they will be using something else.

Bottom line, what you call yourself matters little compared to what you can do. That defines you much more. Personally, at this point, I just say designer and if people want to know more they will ask.
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warrenginn
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yo wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 1:32 pm
Personally, at this point, I just say designer and if people want to know more they will ask.
Same here.
Warren Ginn, FIDSA
GinnDesign, LLC
http://www.ginndesign.com

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Industrial Design
NC State University
http://design.ncsu.edu/people/warren-ginn-fidsa
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