What is a Commercial and Industrial Designer?

What is a Commercial and Industrial Designer?

A commercial and industrial designer is a professional who uses creativity and technical skills to design products, packaging, advertising, and other promotional material for businesses. They merge art and science to create concepts, prototypes, and models for all kinds of goods. The main goal of industrial designers is to improve the function, safety, and aesthetic appeal of a product. They address design challenges to meet customer requirements, and with this knowledge, create better products, make a profit, and increase sales.

Industrial design is one of the vital components of the manufacturing and production sector which include designing new consumer products, architectural furnishings, equipment and machinery, and much more. Commercial and industrial designers must take various aspects into consideration while creating new products such as user stance, materials, method of production, sustainability, environmental impact, warranties, costs, and cultural aspects. Unlike traditional designers, Commercial and industrial designers must also understand the manufacturing process and work with engineers to ensure the product is designed with ease of manufacturing in mind.

Examples of the Job

Industrial designers may work in a wide range of industries. Some may work for a manufacturing company that produces furniture, appliances, or electronics. Others may work for a company that specializes in creating prototypes or models. Some may even work for a design agency that helps businesses develop new branding and marketing efforts. Here are some specific examples of the work commercial and industrial designers do:

  • Designing the packaging for a new snack food
  • Developing the layout and design of a new car dashboard
  • Designing a new medical device that improves patient care and safety
  • Creating a better ergonomic computer mouse for better user experience
  • Designing prototypes of the next generation of mobile phones

Education or Training to Become a Commercial and Industrial Designer

Most commercial and industrial designers hold a bachelor’s degree in product design, industrial design, or a related field, such as engineering, architecture, or fine arts. In this field, designing for functionality, innovation, and creativity are necessary, so a broad range of disciplines can provide a profound skillset for a career in industrial design.

Subjects such as ergonomics and ethnography are essential in understanding the needs and viewpoints of potential consumers. Computer-aided design (CAD) skills are necessary for getting the feedback of design forms before producing an actual item. A multidisciplinary background helps designers understand the various requirements of a product, so it can be designed to provide a satisfactory user experience.

Progressing Between Levels

Beginning designers usually start as drafters, junior designers, or design assistants. After obtaining more experience, they may advance to a senior design position that involves managing design production and presenting their designs to company executives. Ultimately, some designers may choose to become independent consultants or start their design firms.

How to Get Into the Field as a New Designer

To succeed in the field of commercial and industrial design, you must be creative, analytical, and meticulous, possessing a broad understanding of the market’s changing demands. Here are some steps to take for someone who is new in this field:

  • Enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in industrial design or a related field.
  • Build a portfolio that showcases your skills, creativity, and technical abilities to prospective employers.
  • Look for design internships or entry-level design positions to get hands-on experience and build your resume.
  • Stay current on design trends, innovations and developments in products so you can bring a fresh approach to design challenges.
  • Develop good communication skills, both written and verbal. Communicate your design ideas well to others as design processes are collaborative.

By following these steps, a new industrial designer can set a foundation for a successful career in commercial and industrial design.

Occupation: Commercial and Industrial Designers

Commercial and industrial designers are responsible for developing and designing the products that are used by consumers and businesses. They work on a variety of products such as appliances, cars, toys, and packaging for different companies. The job level for commercial and industrial designers varies depending on their experience and skill level.

Salary Data:

The US National Average salary for commercial and industrial designers at all levels is $83,595.20. The salary data for various levels and types of employment is as follows:

– Nonunion, All levels: $79,060.80
– Full-time, All levels: $82,222.40
– Full-time, Level 09: $82,763.20
– Time-based pay, All levels: $81,681.60

The salary data for commercial and industrial designers shows that the job is well-paying, with an average salary of around $83,595.20. The salary varies depending on the level of experience and the type of employment.

Effects of Union:

The effects of unions on this job are not explicitly stated. However, it is common for industrial designers to be part of a union or association that works to protect their rights and promote their interests.


The salary for commercial and industrial designers is not the same in all parts of the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest paying states for commercial and industrial designers are:

– California: $105,070
– Oregon: $98,690

On the other hand, the states with the lowest average salaries for commercial and industrial designers are:

South Dakota: $53,080
– Nebraska: $56,830


Commercial and industrial designers are highly skilled professionals who play a crucial role in the development and design of products used by consumers and businesses. The salary data for this occupation shows that it is a well-paying job, though salaries vary depending on the level of experience and type of employment. The effects of unions on this job are not apparent, but it is possible for industrial designers to be part of a union or association. Finally, the salary for commercial and industrial designers varies depending on the state, with states like California and Oregon having the highest average salaries.