Product Design

What Is a Product Design Degree?

Product design takes an idea and turns it into the tangible good to be sold to consumers. It is the product designer’s job to conduct analysis to determine the need of a new product, conceive the new product based on the analytical data, and synthesise or actually design, build and test the product. Many companies rely upon product designers to keep them on the cutting edge of their industry by coming up with the latest and greatest products before their competitors do.

Product designers must possess a balanced combination of artistic, scientific and technological skills to adequately perform the important task of product design. The product designer must determine what the market needs before the market realises it, and then find a way to manufacture the product and convince the public that they can’t live without it. Product design combines science and technology with marketing and is the backbone of many successful organisations. Students who enjoy creating new things that people can use should consider earning a product design degree.

Product Design Job Opportunities

There are several job opportunities suited for the product design graduate. Many students might enter into a career as an industrial/product designer, working on developing new products or improving existing ones. Industrial/product designers might work on any number of products depending on the specialty, including appliances, mobile phones or industrial machinery. Industrial/product designers start as junior designers, progress into experienced designers, and then become senior designers. Salary ranges are £17,000 to £24,000, £27,000 to £40,000, and £60,000 or more, respectively.

Another option for graduates with a product design degree is an exhibition designer. These designers work more on the marketing end of product designing, conceptualising and building displays to showcase new products at conferences and events, tradeshows, or galleries and museums. Exhibition designers listen to how their client wants his or her product showcased, and then design the perfect “exhibition” of the product. Exhibition designers must also consider what presentation will appeal to the potential customer, and incorporate that into the design plans, as well. Starting salaries range from £18,500 to £22,000, with the potential to earn £25,000 to £50,000 after gaining some experience. Creative director or design managers might earn in excess of £100,000, if employed by large corporations in major cities.

Product Design Curriculum

Students studying product design will learn industry-accepted theoretical and practical design skills. Students will be expected to use both creativity and technology in their designs, and must learn communication skills, presentation skills, commercial and entrepreneurial skills. Students will learn to collect and analyse data, and use problem-solving and IT skills to design a product to address a consumer want or need. Students will work independently and within team environments depending on the project that must be completed.

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