The Industrial Design Department provides a professional education for those wishing to bring order, utility, aesthetics, and appropriateness to the products, contents, and processes of our modern global society. The program prepares students for careers in the design of products, environments, and design systems/strategies, integrating the design of communications, furniture, equipment, interfaces, and interiors/exhibits. Also addressed are issues of human factors research, computer-aided design, product development, manufacturing, business, and a host of other considerations related to the humanistic uses of technology.
Industrial Design involves considerable conceptual experimentation. An encompassing investigation into our evolving material-product culture and contemporary social issues provides a forum in which students may draw from diverse sources: high technology, fine arts, industrial production, architectural constructions, invention, social behavior, craft techniques, and contemporary design culture.
The department emphasizes the development of graphic, sculptural, and spatial design skills as a complement to creative problem-solving, technical innovation, and effective communications during the solution of actual problems of design.
After initial coursework to introduce basic design, communication, and collaboration processes, including computer-aided design and model-making, students develop and apply theory, skill, and knowledge to functional design problems, many brought into the studio by industry. Visiting designers also bring knowledge of current design, manufacturing, and professional practices into studio and lecture courses, while visits to industry provide opportunities for direct observation and firsthand knowledge of design and manufacturing processes. Based on this foundation of skill, experience, and information, emphasis in the final semesters shifts to the responsibility for integration of the total design process by the individual student, who works directly with a client/sponsor on a thesis project prior to graduation. During the final semester, the instructional focus shifts to career planning, portfolio preparation, and the development of information-gathering and business communication skills to better prepare the student to enter the profession.
Due to the wide scope and creative, yet practical character of an Industrial Design education, many career opportunities await the graduate with consulting design firms, corporate design staffs, manufacturing facilities, exhibit houses, retailers, advertising/marketing agencies, research organizations, museums, educational institutions, and government agencies, all of whom recognize the need to constantly improve the appearance, manufacture, performance, and social value of their products.