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Industrial designer

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Summary of occupation

Industrial designers develop designs for a range of practical products that are used in commercial, domestic and industrial situations. They also create prototypes of these designs with a view towards mass production. They assess the design needs of their client, research and develop products, analyse the various costing, material, production and technological options for their designs, as well as bearing in mind fashion and marketing trends. They also supervise the construction of design models, and may also undertake some administrative tasks when necessary.

ANZSCO description: Plans, designs, develops and documents industrial, commercial or consumer products for manufacture with particular emphasis on ergonomic (human) factors, marketing considerations and manufacturability, and prepares designs and specifications of products for mass or batch production.
Alternative names: Product Designer
Specialisations: 3D Modeller, Ceramic Designer, Consumer Appliance Designer, Furniture Designer, Glass Designer, Textile Designer, Transport Designer
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

An industrial designer needs:

  • creativity and a love of design
  • problem-solving skills
  • a sound knowledge of maths and physics
  • strong communication skills
  • practical skills and technical ability
  • the ability to interpret and analyse data.
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Working conditions

Industrial designers usually work in offices, design studios or workshops. Their workspaces need to be spacious and well-lit. They work regular hours, but may be required to work longer hours when working to a deadline. Industrial designers may travel locally, interstate or overseas to view new design ideas or to attend conferences.

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Salary details

On average, fashion, industrial and jewellery designers can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an industrial designer develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

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Tools and technologies

Industrial designers spend a lot of time on computers, especially using computer-aided design (CAD) software, and other two or three-dimensional design programs. They use model-building equipment and materials, drawing boards, desks and art supplies for sketching, and may also use other office equipment such as telephones, faxes and photocopiers.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an industrial designer you usually need to complete a qualification in industrial design or a related field. 

The Advanced Diploma of Industrial Design is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

You can also complete a degree majoring in industrial design, integrated design or a related area.

Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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