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Product Designer

Make functional and attractive products from start to finish.

What does a Product Designer do?

A product designer is a member of a team that creates products. Employed by manufacturers in virtually all industries, product designers are paid to design the appearance and aesthetics of products as diverse as cookies, lipstick, cars, airplanes, couches, televisions, staplers, and stoves.

When you hear the word “art,” what probably comes to mind is a painting by Pablo Picasso, a film by Stanley Kubrick, or a photograph by Ansel Adams. You probably don’t think about an iPod, automobile, or ballpoint pen. When you’re a product designer, however, you know that the best products are just as artistic and attractive as they are practical and functional.

Also known as an industrial designer, you usually start with an idea, and it’s your job to turn that idea into reality. Typically that means creating sketches, models, and blueprints—often using computer-aided design (CAD)—then refining and revising them based on market research, focus groups, and other considerations such as budget. In partnership with graphic designers, engineers, and others, you then turn concepts into prototypes and prototypes into products.

Despite what their mothers taught them, people do, in fact, judge books by their covers. It’s your job, therefore, to design products that look good and function properly so that people want to buy them. With that in mind, you often consider size, shape, weight, color, materials, ergonomics, cost, and convenience.

Your designs are equal parts art and science. Although they start out in stores, therefore, they may very well end up one day in museums!