Industrial Design

Industrial design is an inter-disciplinary profession that is concerned with the optimization of complex processes, systems, or organizations by developing, improving and implementing integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, energy and materials

Industrial designers use specialized knowledge and skills in business administration, management, mathematics, physical sciences, social sciences and methods of finite element analysis and design to specify, predict, and evaluate the results obtained from systems or processes[1]. From these results, they are able to create new systems, processes or situations for the useful coordination of man, materials and machines and improve the quality and productivity of systems, physical or social[2][3]. Depending on the sub-specialties involved, industrial design may also overlap with, operations researchsystemsmanufacturingproduction management sciencefinancial managementergonomics or human factorssafety, or others, depending on the viewpoint or motives of the user.

Even though its underlying concepts overlap considerably with certain business-oriented disciplines, such as operations management, industrial design is a longstanding  discipline.

Compared to other design disciplines

The Industrial designer considers the human factor and its relation to the technical aspect of the situation and the all of the other factors that influence the entire situation, while other design disciplines focuses on the design of inanimate objects

“Industrial designers integrate combinations of people, information, materials, and equipment that produce innovative and efficient organizations. In addition to manufacturing, Industrial designers work and consult in every industry, including hospitals, infrastructures, communications, e-commerce, entertainment, government, finance, food, pharmaceuticals, semiconductors, sports, insurance, sales, accounting, banking, travel, and transportation.”[8]

” Industrial design is most closely related to human resources in that we apply social skills to work with all types of employees, from engineers to salespeople to top management. One of the main focuses of an Industrial designer is to improve the working environments of people – not to change the worker, but to change the workplace.”

“All designers, including Industrial designers, take mathematics through calculus and differential equations. Industrial design is different in that it is based on discrete variable math, whereas all other designs are based on continuous variable math. This emphasis becomes evident in optimization of production systems in which we are sequencing orders, scheduling batches, determining the number of materials handling units, arranging factory layouts, finding sequences of motions, etc. 

Sub-disciplines

Industrial technology has many sub-disciplines, the most common of which are listed below.

Facilities & Energy Management

Financial iterations

Human Factors & Safety analysis

Information Systems Designs & Management

Manufacturing

Operations & Management

Operations Research & Optimization

Policy Planning

Production

Design for Quality & Reliability

Supply Chain Management & Logistics

System Analysis

Custom Systems Designs

Systems Simulation

Typical Designer curricula may cover: