Career Detail


Commercial and Industrial Designer
Commercial and industrial designers combine the fields of art, business, and engineering to design the products people use every day.
The Job
The first steps in developing a new design, or altering an existing one, are to determine the requirements of the client, the purpose of the product, and to the tastes of customers or users. When creating a new design, designers often begin by researching the product user or the context in which the product will be used.
Work Environment
Designers employed by manufacturing establishments, large corporations, or design firms generally work regular hours in well-lighted and comfortable settings.
College Majors
bachelor's degree
Minimum Qualifications
A bachelor's degree is required for most entry-level commercial and industrial design positions. Many designers also pursue a master's degree to increase their employment opportunities.
Personality traits helpful for this career
Designers must also understand the technical aspects of how products function.
Quick Facts
  • Commercial and industrial designers usually work closely with a range of specialists including engineers, materials scientists, marketing and corporate strategy staff, cost estimators, and accountants
  • About 30 percent are self-employed; many designers work for services firms.
  • A bachelor's degree is usually required to start; many designers pursue a master's degree.
  • Keen competition for jobs is expected; those with strong backgrounds in engineering and computer-aided design and extensive business expertise will have the best prospects.
Compensation and Outlook
Median annual wage-and-salary wages for commercial and industrial designers were $57,350 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $41,550 and $76,700. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $31,400, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $97,770.
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