Passing through the Gateway of Creativity: Becoming an Industrial Designer

By Kemnitzer, Jonathon | The Technology Teacher, October 2001 | Go to article overview

Passing through the Gateway of Creativity: Becoming an Industrial Designer


Kemnitzer, Jonathon, The Technology Teacher


I lobe being an industrial designer.

I chose to write this article directly to students and not the educator because I wanted to communicate in a way to which students can relate. I've also included ideas for course and project work that educators can incorporate in their classes. This article will help educators answer questions or direct students with the potential and desire to become successful industrial designers.

Besides the entertainment business, there are few careers that offer more diversity than industrial. By receiving a bachelor's degree in Industrial Design one has the choice to work in automotive, furniture, consumer products, special effects, business development, sales, management, computer graphics, and so much more. What other degree offers all of these professional choices? Let's face it, there are very few careers that reward you for being creative. I still cannot believe that I get paid to draw pictures. In fact, there are times when I come into the office and sketch products all day long. The best part is, it's rarely the same product. So I am never doing a monotonous task over and over again. Not only that, I am paid to make the projects I work on look cool and function better. I am able to create new and exciting experiences for people, whether it simply makes them smile or, even better, makes their lives easier. To be honest, there is no better feeling than seeing a product you designed on store shelves or hearing someone say how cool that product is! In other words, industrial design is fun + opportunities + diversity + creativity + coolness.

Are you interested? If so, let me tell you more about it; but first, let me tell you more about myself. My situation is somewhat different than most because my mom is an interior designer and my dad is an industrial designer. So, I may have grown up in an environment a little more creative than most children. However, when I was little I wanted to be a lawyer, businessperson, or baseball player. Well, I knew that my baseball career was over when I didn't make the first team for Little League. Then when it came time for picking a career, law and business just didn't sound like that much fun. So I chose to major in Industrial Design and graduated with my degree over five years ago. Now I work in a product development firm that specializes in creative product solutions. I am able to use the skills I learned as an industrial designer every day along with a variety of other skills. Believe it or not, I am also a businessperson.

Of the people who graduated in my industrial design studio in college, all have taken a wide range of career paths. I have friends who are designing athletic and urban footwear, motorcycles, aircraft, and movie theaters. Others have even become vice presidents of their companies. We have traveled all over the world including Japan, Italy, Germany, England, China, Russia, etc. As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

To become a good industrial designer, there are a lot of things that you can do now to help you on your way. Design firms seek to hire the "complete package," which means not just drawing skills, good ideas, and a cool portfolio. All of the courses you take now help you to become the "complete package:" physics, technology education, photography, English, speech, and math among others. Firms look for designers with a broad range of skills because the more you know, the better a designer you will be and the more you will be able to offer the company. Learn as much as you can about materials, processes, creativity, history, plumbing, and engineering. …

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