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Industrial Designer

Industrial designers conceptualize and produce designs for a wide variety of products and systems. Some examples include furniture, electronics, appliances, tools, automobiles, sporting goods, architectural details, medical products, and signage.

  • Avg. Salary $77,369.00
  • Avg. Wage $37.19
  • Minimum Education Varies
  • Outlook N/A
  • Employed < 1500
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Designer, Environmental Designer, Furniture Designer, Product 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) 
  • 2016 NOC: Industrial designers (2252) 
Interest Codes
The Industrial Designer is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Industrial Designers
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

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

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

  • Safety and health issues (ergonomic and human factors)
  • Environmental issues
  • Consumer preferences and marketing issues
  • The best ways to present their ideas to others
  • The best materials and processes to use
  • The sustainability of the product’s lifecycle

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

Industrial designers may specialize in a number of areas. They may focus on:

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

They may design one-of-a-kind objects or mass-produced items. For example, they may develop childproof bottle caps, safety equipment, appliances, sports and leisure products, or toys and games.

In general, the designer:

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

Industrial designers work closely with other members of the 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 concerns. They promote changes to the product design and manufacturing cycle. They design sustainable alternatives.

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 31, 2019

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

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Industrial designers need:

  • Communication skills
  • Creative problem-solving skills, such as the ability to perceive problems in new ways and innovate practical solutions
  • Business sense
  • Project-management skills
  • The ability to work with others in a multidisciplinary setting

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

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

  • Ergonomics (relating product design to human and environmental factors)
  • Mechanics and engineering techniques
  • Materials and processes
  • Computer-aided design (CAD) drawing and sketching
  • Model making (for prototypes)
  • Social and consumer trend analysis
  • Aesthetics
  • Marketing and basic business practices

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

  • Documentation
  • Illustration
  • Rendering
  • Animation
  • Drafting
  • 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 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 NE

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

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

Bow Valley College

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

Grant MacEwan University

Mount Royal University

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Thompson Rivers University

Visual College of Art and Design - Calgary

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

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Industrial designers may be self-employed and work on a contract basis, or they may be 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, 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 (pdf) 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
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

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.

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 31, 2019

Association of Canadian Industrial Designers (ACID) website: www.designcanada.org

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

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

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 31, 2019. 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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