What Is Industrial Design Engineering

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 4 minute read

Product Design Engineering (PDE) takes a product’s concept or prototype and develops it into a useable and appealing item for customers.

Industrial design (ID) is a branch of design that focuses on the aesthetics and functionality of a product. A unique design or an upgrade on an existing product might be the subject of the work.

As a pair, they should be complementary. Just because something looks wonderful doesn’t mean it’ll do what you want it to.

The value of a well-performing product is diminished if the consumer does not see it. They rely on one another for their survival.

For example, one is an application of art, the other is an application of science. With DE, you’re incorporating science into the process.

It focuses more on the product’s functionality, usability, and performance. ID focuses on the product’s design in order to make it appealing to potential purchasers.

It is the goal of the engineers to provide a product that works as expected. The industrial designer supports the engineer by producing a product that catches the eye of potential customers.

Design and engineering go hand in hand with the Dyson vacuum, for example. Interestingly, British inventor James Dyson attended the Byam Shaw School of Art for a year before attending the Royal College of Art to study interior design before pursuing a career in engineering.

Sir James Dyson did not develop the vacuum cleaner; rather, he improved the aesthetics of the upright model.

In spite of this, he used cyclonic separation to design a vacuum that would never lose suction. A total of 5,127 prototypes were attempted over the course of five years.


How much of an engineering component is there in a bachelor’s degree in industrial design? When it comes to designing, how much of design engineering is committed to the actual process?

Both programs frequently overlap, which is the solution. Examples taken from the contemporary school curriculum are shown below.

Materials and processes are often taught as part of a bachelor’s degree in industrial science. Among the topics covered in the course work are metals, polymers/woods, ceramics, and composites.

Students may learn about plastic, elastomeric, and fiber-reinforced composite material qualities and manufacturing techniques in courses like Polymer Processes.

To make wood-fiber components and final products, primary and secondary manufacturing processes must be taken into account.

For example, design engineering incorporates math and technology courses within the curriculum. An illustration of this is the B.S. in Engineering Design Technology offered by the Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Their curriculum includes twelve credit hours of mathematics, including algebra, calculus, and trigonometry. 

There are similar programs that teach the principles of the rapidly developing field of automated industrial manufacture.

Following graduation, students are prepared to utilize their knowledge of mechanical and computer-integrated manufacturing concepts in their careers as engineers.

Industrial design programs at the undergraduate level tend to place less emphasis on subjects like physics, problem-solving in the sciences, computer-aided engineering, and the strength of materials.

In their place, you’ll find a greater number of classes centered around design. Graphic design, 2D digital imagery, 3D design, and industrial design for manufacturing are all examples of these.

For the most part, materials and industrial processes are the only technical courses offered in the ID program.

Students who prefer a more creative approach to design should focus their search on Fine Arts programs in Idaho. Sculpture, drawing, painting, metals, and contemporary art jewelry are all likely to be taught in these programs.

You won’t discover many results for fine arts for design engineering when you do a Google search. Most of the students have degrees in the sciences.

A bachelor of science degree in ID can be obtained by students who desire to integrate the art of design with the science of design.

Colleges with a curriculum in the Engineering and Design Division, for example. Students learn marketing principles, research methodologies, creative talents, 3D techniques, materials, color application, ergonomics, and production processes by combining engineering and design.

Manufacturing facilities are available to students at Western Washington University. It’s possible to find CNC (computer numerical control) devices as well as laser cutters, extruders, milling machines, welders, and paint booths among the many other options.

Almost everything a student needs to produce anything they design is available in the school’s workshop. The institution boasts that 97 percent of its ID alumni get jobs in industrial design or related sectors.

Career Choices

The two professions of ID and DE have distinct career paths, as can be seen by looking at job postings on job search engines like Indeed.

\A search for design engineering roles reveals a greater number of jobs in scientific and technological domains.

Some examples are oil and gas services; lighting; computer science; packaging equipment; medical scanning; and x-ray machines. Design engineering and mechanical engineering are the two most common degrees required for these positions.

Numerous positions needing a degree in industrial design are advertised on the same job board (Truly). Consumer items appear to be the overwhelming preference of the public.

Televisions (Vizio), cookware (Williams and Sonoma), portable fans (Vornado), furniture, music technology (Alesis drums), bicycles, gear and components (Specialized), wearable technology (Garmin), toys (Little Kids), and many more.

In many of these roles, design, engineering, marketing, and management all work together. The collaboration brings together the fields of design and engineering in one place. In other words, it doesn’t matter what degree you get, knowing ID and DE will help you succeed.

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