As a product designer, you'll create a range of items, from everyday products such as mobile phones, household appliances and cars, to larger items such as industrial tools, equipment and machinery.
Using your understanding of technology, materials and manufacturing methods, you’ll improve the design and usability of an item. This may involve working on new products or improving existing ones.
As a product designer, you'll need to meet with clients to establish the design brief, including concept, performance and production criteria as well ass work on ideas as part of a team or develop design concepts using computer-aided design (CAD). What’s more, you may have to take part in specialist or multidisciplinary team meetings, sketch initial design ideas and identify the suitability and availability of materials.
Other roles include producing detailed drawings and specifications to produce design specifications, including parts lists and costings. Once these designs have been drawn you may need to test the design concept by computerised modeling or physical hands-on testing of models.
You'll need to have:
a high degree of technical knowledge balanced with creative ability and a hands-on approach
visual and spatial awareness
computer literacy including three-dimensional conceptual ability and CAD
knowledge of industrial processes, techniques and standards
communication and customer service skills
Progression to the role of a senior designer is the usual next step, although opportunities in smaller consultancies and organisations are often limited. In this case, progression is more likely through movement between employers or even between related fields of design, as opportunities arise.
Depending upon your personal interests and the type of experience you’ve gained, you may be able to progress from the position of senior designer to creative director. Or, to a higher management role, such as that of a new business director or project manager.
There is significant demand for experienced designers, especially those with experience in a niche area and with a technological background. Being able to relocate, either within the UK or overseas can enhance your promotion prospects.