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Industrial Designer

Industrial designers conceptualize and produce designs for a wide variety of products and systems (for example, furniture, electronics, appliances, tools, automobiles, sporting goods, architectural details, signage).

  • Avg. Salary $69,264.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.77
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Lower
Also Known As

Designer, Environmental Designer, Furniture 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: Industrial Designers (2252) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Industrial Designers (C152) 
  • 2011 NOC: Industrial designers (2252) 
Interest Codes
The Industrial Designer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Industrial Designers

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


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


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

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 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 More

Updated Mar 30, 2015

When designing products, industrial designers must consider:

  • how products and product systems work
  • how things can be made to work better for people
  • safety and health issues
  • environmental issues
  • consumer preferences and marketing issues
  • how ideas can best be presented to others
  • what materials to use
  • product lifecycle and sustainable design solutions.

Industrial designers focus on maximizing the function, value and appearance of products and product systems for the mutual benefit of the user (often the consumer) and the manufacturer.

There are many specialties within industrial design: consumer products, industrial products, office furnishings, residential environments, scientific instruments and exhibit systems are just a few examples. The products designed range from one-of-a-kind objects to mass-produced items such as child-proof bottle caps, safety equipment, appliances, sports and leisure products, and toys and games.

In general, the design process involves:

  • consulting with clients or manufacturers to establish special market requirements for the products or systems
  • analyzing the intended function and user preferences to develop product specifications
  • researching production specifications, costs, properties of production materials and manufacturing methods
  • preparing formal presentations and reports for client or management approval
  • preparing concepts, sketches, drawings, models and initial prototypes
  • consulting with engineering design and production staff, model makers and marketing staff.

Industrial designers work closely with other members of the development group (for example, managers, marketing personnel, engineers, manufacturing specialists). 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.

Increasingly, industrial designers may consider environmental concerns and promote changes to the product design and manufacturing cycle by specifying alternate or sustainable design solutions and methods.

In addition to product and system design, industrial designers may provide advice regarding client image: corporate identity systems, communication systems, interior space planning and exhibit design or advertising and packaging.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 30, 2015

Industrial designers work in offices and workshops. Long hours and weekend work may be required to meet deadlines.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 30, 2015

Industrial designers need the following characteristics:

  • good communication skills
  • creative problem-solving abilities, particularly the ability to conceptualize problems in new ways to find innovative yet practical solutions
  • good business sense
  • good project management skills
  • the ability to work well with others in a multidisciplinary environment.

They should enjoy synthesizing information and conducting research, experimenting with different ways of doing things and performing precise tasks with tools and equipment.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 30, 2015

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

  • ergonomics (relating product design to human and environmental factors)
  • mechanics and engineering techniques
  • materials and processes
  • drafting, sketching and model making (for prototypes)
  • social and consumer trend analysis
  • aesthetics
  • marketing and basic business practices.

The computer plays an increasingly important role in all aspects of design including documentation, illustration, rendering, animation, drafting and three-dimensional modelling. However, it is still necessary for designers to have manual skills in drawing, drafting, model making and working with materials.

With this broad range of requirements, industrial designers may come from a variety of educational backgrounds. Many industrial designers have bachelor's degrees in industrial design, fine arts, engineering or architecture, or a background in graphic design. After graduation, ongoing professional development is required 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.

Alberta College of Art and Design

Thompson Rivers University

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 30, 2015

Certification is not required, as there is currently no legislation regulating this occupation.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 30, 2015

Industrial designers may be self-employed and work on a contract basis, or they may be employed full time by manufacturers, not-for-profit organizations or private design firms. Many graduates of industrial design programs find jobs in major centres in Canada or outside Canada. Some students use industrial design education as preparation for entry into architecture, design management, marketing or other aspects of business.

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

  • 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.

In Alberta, 75% of people employed as industrial designers work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 30, 2015

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

According to the 2017 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Industrial designers occupational group earned on average from $22.94 to $58.07 an hour. The overall average was $33.77 an hour. For more information, see the Industrial designers wage profile.

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 30, 2015

Association of Canadian Industrial Designers (ACID) website:

Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario (ACIDO) website:

British Columbia Industrial Design Association (BCID) website:

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) website:

For more information on career planning, education and jobs call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre toll-free at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Supports Centre near you.

Updated Mar 30, 2015. 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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