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Career Profile: Commercial and Industrial Designers

Design and develop manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 31,500 people employed as commercial and industrial designers in the United States. The median annual salary is $71,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $41,860 per year and senior employees earn approximately $118,440 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Prepare sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
  • Modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Evaluate feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
  • Confer with engineering, marketing, production, or sales departments, or with customers, to establish and evaluate design concepts for manufactured products.
  • Present designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval and discuss need for modification.
  • Research production specifications, costs, production materials, and manufacturing methods and provide cost estimates and itemized production requirements.
  • Direct and coordinate the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
  • Investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using, and maintaining it.
  • Develop manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to improve operations and product quality.
  • Participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products.
  • Read publications, attend showings, and study competing products and design styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate design concepts.
  • Fabricate models or samples in paper, wood, glass, fabric, plastic, metal, or other materials, using hand or power tools.
  • Develop industrial standards and regulatory guidelines.
  • Coordinate the look and function of product lines.
  • Supervise assistants' work throughout the design process.
  • Design graphic material for use as ornamentation, illustration, or advertising on manufactured materials and packaging or containers.
  • Advise corporations on issues involving corporate image projects or problems.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
31,500
Annual Openings:
3,100
Increase in Openings by 2030:
6%
Annual Salary Range:
$41,860 - $118,440
Education Requirements:
Bachelor's degree