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A. L.
12/14/11 02:15 PM
It is Still a Problem new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Even after all this years I think this article is still current.
After reading all your reviews I think that there was a misunderstanding of what my intention was.
I wanted to show the difference between the two professions. There is not a single person that can claim to perform both tasks. I agree that it has to be a very strong collaboration among the people involved. But this does not mean to step in each other’s areas; again I will take doctors as an example. Exactly their method of collaboration has to apply in our field too!!!

Sherri Hoch
01/06/12 02:17 PM
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Thank you for the distinction. My daughter, who is a high school junior, is interested in ID. She insisted there was a difference between an ID and a DE major and now I believe her. We've also seen colleges that offer a B.S. in Industrial Architecture (IA). Most post-high school education for ID that I've seen are associate degrees from trade schools like ITT Tech.
In your opinion, would an associate degree for ID be as good for job opportuntities as a B.S. in ID ? And where would an degree in IA fall in the scheme of things?

(Stranger )
01/12/12 02:30 PM
Re: It is Still a Problem new [re: A. L.]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply


" There is not a single person that can claim to perform both tasks."


My first degree was in mechanical engineering, after which I spent about 10 years working in various engineering roles in metal processing, cable manufacture, aerospace components, electronic packaging and food processing.

In my early 30s I left work to spend two years working for an MA on an industrial design course aimed at converting engineers into hybrids. Hard work it was, too.

Six or so years on from that I am working as a freelance designer AND engineer. Some of my work is filling in specific gaps in teams, some of it starts with a clean sheet of paper and a client brief. In this instance, concepts are mine, ergonomics / usability are defined by me and I get involved with field testing, visuals are mine, test rigs are mine, project management is mine, engineering is generally mine, development and testing is mine, production CAD is most definitely mine to the point where it goes to the fab shops.  Heck, I even dabble in electrical system work and PLC programming for rigs.

I'll admit my sketching can be ropey, tho it is sufficient to get ideas across, and that I do call in experts when I get out of my depth (electronic system design, complex analysis problems, CFD etc).

Sleep deprivation comes with the territory.

I am based in the UK.  There are a couple of schools producing talented designer / engineer types, some of whom are extremely (multi) talented.   Some of those that have been through the system have names that you might recognise and whose products or work you will have used or benefitted from.  I have been working for a bit with another independant who made the transition at a younger age than me and a fair proportion of his work has made it into the shops.

Beware sweeping statements.


(Stranger )
01/25/12 07:27 PM
Re: College Shopping [re: Sherri Hoch]Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

Sherri, as a graduate with a B.S. in ID, I'm surprised you can find schools that are providing associates in the same field. I would say that no, an associates would not provide you the same schooling OR job opportunities as a full degree, as there is a LOT to learn to become a competent designer. I don't know where you're located, but there are decent schools for it in most places in the country. Auburn in AL, Art Center (and others) in CA, UCincinatti has a full degree, Wentworth in Boston, Pratt in NYC... I do not believe that a degree from ITT Tech would make you look good to most employers, but what you do with a degree is your own. I graduated with people who work in law now, and that's that. Most of us have design jobs, and some of us are Design Engineers.

I would also look for schools that provide a B.S. as opposed to a B.A. While it might not make the biggest difference in the long run, B.S. majors tend to learn more of the technical and manufacturing side of the discipline, whereas B.A. majors tend to focus on form and visuals - again, not a bad thing, but a choice. And with the job market like it is now, it is a choice worth noting.

A degree in Industrial Architecture, while similar to ID, is going to be limiting in that Architects learn a different skill set than designers, and usually their job uses are different (buildings vs. objects). Also, if going into Arch, a normal Architecture degree is probably the best bet. Mind you, the job market there is more highly saturated than in ID. Most people who go into DE get a degree in Mech Eng, Manufacturing Eng, Industrial Design, or sometimes "Industrial Design Engineering" which seems to be a rather rare program to find, but perfectly suited for either ID or DE, with more of an engineering bent than most regular ID programs.

Again it is all down to the individual... While I graduated from what is technically a Tech school, with a B.S. in ID, I am one of the few people who I graduated with that cared about math, and that is why I was able to carry the engineering side of design farther into my personal career. It also depends on the business - some people looking for a DE just need an industrial designer. Sometimes people hire industrial designers, when they really need someone with a mechanical engineering background. It is all about keeping your skillset sharp and broad, and finding what you're good at and doing it.

Shaun ahern
01/25/12 07:37 PM
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Just to make a correction here. You have industrial designers and engineering designers.... But also product design engineers , this discipline is taught as ether;
a half and half degree (half ID half mechanical engineering) about four years study
or as a double degree, two degrees both ID and ME about five years study
As far as i understand this program is new 'in relative terms' to the industry. It has been created to fill the gap which is the topic of the article above. And to create team leaders with an education in both fields, to lead the research groups of both designers and engineers who are tasked with the creation of a new product.
This degree is offered at 'Swinburne' melbourne Australia and at 'Monash' same city

JOHN Efekodo
02/19/13 12:54 AM
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This is a very clear article. The author says it all and I'm quite clear as to the differences between DE and ID. I studied (Engineering Design) DE in the UK and we was put through the process of how to make products work. But for the life of me I never really understood why I was unable to make them beautiful or aethethic, that is until now. It's the ID's work to do that and not mine.

Hannu Havusto
09/17/13 12:16 AM
Come on - this is not true anymore new Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I was looking for texts where industrial design and mechanical design (engineering) are compared. I was really surprised to find this article. I think there are many old fashioned, conservative and stubborn opinions that might have been true many years ago but not anymore.
1. Industrial design is not art. It is a function in product development that tries to find an optimum solution that fills users and manufacturers needs. It starts to researching all possible facts to make a description how and where and by whom the product is used AND what are the best ways to manufacture it.
2. It is a totally wrong idea that FIRST some engineer design a product and AFTER that there comes an artist (industrial designer) who tries to soften some sharp corners and add nice color to make it more acceptable for the buyer.
3. Regarding draft angles it takes about couple of minutes to explain the basic idea of them to industrial design student. And then he/she at least tries to make them right. Of course there are difficult forms and complex molds that is not so easy to understand. But that's why we need injection molding experts to give advice that everything will be ok for molding. But in many case a good industrial designer can also think better solutions for the whole product concept and then it might be possible to use cheaper natural molds and so on.
I hope that borders between engineers and industrial designers will be removed because we need all the best expertise to make good products.

not hybrind
10/15/13 11:34 AM
ID and DE are different Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

The last review gives the impression that ID and DE are lately "Fused" to one. This is the dangerous position that many companies have adopted. By eliminating DE (not tooling engineer) you have created a hybrid creature that is half able of delivering a finished product.
ID is an industrial artist it is not a product designer. The contribute of the ID on the design process is anything but engineering. Therefore an ID with some engineering knowledge will only design a half finished design.
If the author of this article takes as example the draft angles I don't think he means just that. For a product to be designed properly is needed not just draft angles but many other particular features that only an engineer may address during the product design process.
This mindset is the cause of catastrophe of many organizations that the new product design is left on the hands of the hybrids like the last reviewer.

Dexter Francis
11/17/13 08:04 PM
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It may be time to update this article, as many schools, such as Stanford, have been offering courses of study which attempt to bridge the gap between the art of Industrial and science of Engineering Design. Particularly in this day when CAD Drafter/Detailing is called "Design" and Engineering Analysis (Thermal/Structural) must blend with User Experience, it's not possible to settle for traditional Mechanical/Electrical/Software boundaries.

Isa L
11/25/13 06:01 AM
The Jack of all Trades Report this article as Inappropriate to us !!!Login to Reply

I am curious what would the last reviewer (and anyone else that agree with him) think if the Stanford offers courses of study for brain and plastic surgeons combined.
People, nobody, nobody is "Jack of all Trades"!!!!
Universities want your money and they claim to train you in both this specialties but you know deep in your heart that your skills are limited in one direction only. Maybe there is a "Da Vinci" among us but we all know he/she is an exception.

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