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Industrial Designer

Industrial designers conceptualize and create designs for a wide variety of  industrial products, devices, objects, and services. In producing designs, they consider appearance, functionality, and manufacturability.

Also Known As

Designer, Environmental Designer, Furniture Designer, Product Designer, Transportation Designer

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used.

Here is how this occupation has been classified over time.

2006 NOC

  • 2252: Industrial Designers

2006 NOC-S

  • C152: Industrial Designers

2011 NOC

  • 2252: Industrial designers

2016 NOC

  • 2252: Industrial designers

2021 NOC

  • 22211: Industrial designers

2023 OaSIS

  • 22211.00: Industrial designers
Duties
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Industrial designers consider how products, systems, and services work, and how to make them work better. They think about:

  • Physical appearance and visual appeal
  • Ease of use and proper user comfort (human factors and user experience)
  • Manufacturability, materials, and processes
  • Consumer preferences and market position
  • Environmental issues
  • Sustainability and product lifecycle

Designers maximize the appearance, function, and value of products and product systems. Their primary goal is the mutual benefit of the user (often the consumer) and the manufacturer.

In general, the designer:

  • Consults with clients or manufacturers to come up with market and other design requirements for the product, service, or system
  • Analyzes the intended function and user preferences to develop product specifications
  • Researches production specifications, costs, materials properties, and manufacturing methods
  • Prepares presentations and reports for client or management approval
  • Prepares concepts, sketches, drawings, physical or computer-aided design models, and prototypes
  • Consults with engineering design and production staff, model makers, and marketing staff

Industrial designers work closely with other members of a product development group. These may include managers, marketing personnel, engineers, and manufacturers. They often are involved in activities such as new product planning and market research. Sometimes they monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory.

More and more designers consider environmental and social justice concerns. They promote changes to the product design and manufacturing processes to enhance sustainability and promote cyclical economics.

Industrial designers may specialize in several areas. They may focus on:

  • Consumer or industrial products
  • Office or home furnishings
  • Scientific instruments
  • Exhibit systems
  • Transportation products and systems

They may design one-of-a-kind objects or mass-produced items. For example, they may develop:

  • Appliances
  • Bespoke furniture
  • Childproof bottle caps
  • Safety equipment
  • Sports and leisure products
  • Toys and games

Industrial designers may also provide advice relating to client image or branding. This could include:

  • Corporate identity systems
  • Communication systems
  • Interior space planning
  • Exhibit design
  • Advertising
  • Packaging
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Industrial designers may work as part of a consultancy or as staff within small, medium, or large enterprises. They work in offices, design studios, and workshops.

Extended hours and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines.

Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Industrial Designers

2006 NOC: 2252

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to conduct research into costs, properties of production materials and methods of production

METHODICAL

Interest in speaking to consult with engineers and production staff during manufacturing stages

OBJECTIVE

Interest in precision working to prepare manufacturing drawings and to construct design prototypes

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Industrial designers need:

  • Artistic ability
  • Visualization skills (sketching, drawing, and making)
  • Visual, written, and verbal communication skills
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Business sense
  • Project-management skills
  • The ability to work with others in a multidisciplinary setting
  • An interest in wide-ranging areas

They should enjoy:

  • Synthesizing information
  • Conducting research
  • Exploring different ways of doing things
  • Performing precise tasks with tools and equipment

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Industrial designers

2016 NOC: 2252

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 11 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Nov 09, 2021 and Apr 27, 2024.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Health benefits: Dental plan
Tasks: Prepare design concepts, sketches or models for approval
Tasks: Consult with client, engineers or production specialists to establish product requirements
Tasks: Prepare manufacturing drawings, specifications and guidelines for production and construct prototype of design
Design Methods: Visual communication
Design Methods: Drafting
Prepare manufacturing drawings, specifications and guidelines for production and construct prototype of design
Design Methods: Detailed visualization
Prepare design concepts, sketches or models for approval
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Minimum Education Varies

Industrial design combines visual arts and technology. It requires knowledge and skills in fields such as:

  • Aesthetics
  • Human factors, human-computer interaction, and user experience
  • Manufacturing, materials, and processes
  • Marketing and basic business practices
  • Mechanics and engineering techniques
  • Social and consumer trend analysis

Computers are increasingly important in all aspects of design. They play a role in tasks such as:

  • 3D modelling
  • Animation
  • Computer-aided drafting and design
  • Digital fabrication methods, including 3D printers and laser cutters
  • Documentation
  • Illustration and rendering

However, it is still necessary for designers to have manual skills in drawing, drafting, model-making, and working with various materials such as wood, metals, plastic, and glass.

With this broad range of requirements, industrial designers come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Some may have a bachelor of design degree. However, many have bachelor’s degrees in industrial design, fine arts, engineering, or architecture. Or they may have a background in graphic design.

After graduating, they must pursue ongoing professional development to keep up to date in this field.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Learning - Calgary Central
Academy of Learning - Calgary NE
Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown
Academy of Learning - Edmonton South
Academy of Learning - Edmonton West
Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat
Academy of Learning - Red Deer
Alberta University of the Arts
CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North
CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West
Grant MacEwan University
Lethbridge College
Mount Royal University
Reeves College - Calgary City Centre
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
Thompson Rivers University
Visual College of Art and Design of Calgary

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 23, 2023
  • Certification Not Regulated

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Some industrial designers are self-employed and work on a contract basis. Others are employed full time.

Employers include manufacturers, not-for-profit organizations, and private design firms. Many graduates of industrial design programs find jobs in major centres. These may be within or outside Canada.

Some students use their education to prepare for entry into architecture, design management, marketing, education, or other aspects of business.

Industrial designers may transfer their skills to other fields such as:

  • User experience design for computer or mobile apps
  • Technical sales and marketing with manufacturers. For more information, see the Technical Sales Representative occupational profile
  • Exhibition and trade show design and fabrication. For more information, see the Exhibit Designer occupational profile
  • Information design areas, such as the design of natural and historical interpretation centres

Industry Concentration

This section shows the industries where the majority of people in this occupation work. The data is based on the 2016 Census.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups.

In the 2252: Industrial designers occupational group, 79.5% of people work in:

Employment Outlook

Employment outlook is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Time of year (for seasonal jobs)
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation
  • Trends and events that affect overall employment, especially in the industry or industries from the previous list

In Alberta, the 2252: Industrial designers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 2.3% from 2021 to 2025. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 7 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: 2021-2025 Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Most industrial designers work on a contract basis for specific product and system designs. They negotiate each contract separately. Designers with specialized skills can charge higher fees.

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Industrial designers

2016 NOC: 2252
Average Wage
$52.83
Per Hour
Average Salary
$103,679.00
Per Year
Average Hours
38.1
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
12
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2021 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 2252 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.75 $52.58 $36.62 $40.20
Overall $30.05 $73.85 $52.83 $59.73
Top $33.17 $93.47 $62.44 $67.00

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

ALL INDUSTRIES
Manufacturing

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
37%
37%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
30%
30%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
4%
4%
Vacancy Rate
N/A
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Communications
  • Engineering and Science Technologies
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Fine Arts and Performing Arts
  • Human Ecology, Fashion and Food Sciences
  • Trades, Industrial and Related Training
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 23, 2023

Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO) website: acido.info

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) website: www.idsa.org

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 23, 2023. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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