The essence of a product designer embodies a diverse spectrum of skills that allow them to build user-friendly, aesthetically appealing, and highly useful products. These professionals instil art into everyday items without forgetting their commercial aspect. Simply put, product designers design commodities and merchandise that sell better and are easier to use by the end-user.
How to become a product designer?
Creative individuals with a flair for sketching and doodling often wonder how to get started in this field. The most preferred and streamlined route to begin with this discipline goes through college.
You can initiate your journey of becoming a product designer right after school. A professional undergraduate degree in this field takes 4 years to complete after you pass your 10+2 exams. During the four-year duration, you will go through rigorous coursework to gain knowledge of different materials and manufacturing processes, design principles and elements, socio-economic product trends, sketching and 3D software modeling, and much more.
If you have already finished your undergrad in any other field, but want to pursue product design, fret not! You can become a part of this discipline even after graduation. Simply, look for an institute that offers a post-graduate degree in product design. Such a degree will last 2 to 2.5 years, depending on the institution you choose. Know that most product design courses, undergrad or postgrad, ensure that your last semester is an industry internship.
Receiving formal training in product design ensures your campus placements and builds your credibility with employers. You will also learn a lot about this field on the job, but the stepping stone to becoming a product designer starts at college.
Skills required to become a product designer
It is hard to pinpoint the exact skills design colleges are seeking while selecting product design students. But, the question paper is designed in a way that it gauges your:
- Ideation skills
- Visualisation capabilities
- Primary sketching and doodling skills
- Beginner knowledge of the product design industry
- Soft skills, such as mental agility, spontaneity, communication, etc.
If you wish to impress the selectors, make sure you have a small portfolio ready in case you clear your written examinations. A few design colleges might ask for an amateur portfolio when you are submitting your application form. This portfolio should contain all your best work. Anything you sketched, painted, or created a fresh design for an old product goes in this hard or soft folio.
Career paths after finishing your product design coursework
A world of opportunities opens up once you successfully finish your coursework. These include:
- You can become an industrial product designer. This is a relatively technical field with a massive scope. Here you will start as part of a team of designers and engineers responsible for innovating upon industrial parts and products.
- You can also venture out into accessory design. If you have a flair for fashionable products, you can turn to accessory design. Here you will get to design merchandise that goes with costumes like jewellery, belts, handbags, scarves, and lots more.
- Toy design is another sub-discipline where you can make your mark after finishing product design. By toys, we don’t only mean hard products, but also board games and games on digital mediums.
- If you realise that hands-on product design is not for you, become a design researcher. Here you will be responsible for concept testing, product testing, and much more.
- Finally, you can also divert focus towards furniture and become a furniture designer.
This is it! Your starter toolkit for how to become a product designer! Make sure to lay a solid foundation by applying to a renowned college like the Pearl Academy for an undergrad degree in product design. So, crack the entrance and begin your career within the product design industry.