Career as Product Designer

Last Updated By Ankita Jha on 25 Jan, 2023

How to Become a Product Designer

About Product Designer

Product Designer as a career option is very fascinating as well as challenging. Product Designers are professionals who are responsible for the shape, size, and material content of every product which is manufactured such as conditioner, toothpaste, a bar of soap, detergent powder, and many other related products. A product designer is also in charge of a product's user experience and usually receives guidance from product management regarding the company's aims and objectives.

Product designers are involved in the entire process of creating a product as per the briefing received from the clients. If the outcome of any product is not as per the expectation of the clients and end users, then the primary person who is held accountable for the same are product designers. They take care of identifying an issue, defining it, and then creatively finding a solution. The candidates can undertake different courses such as Industrial Design, Product Management, and Product Design in order to choose their career as product designer.

Some common terms by which Product Designers are also referred to are User Experience Designer, User Interface Designer, Customer Experience Architect, Interaction Designer, or Information Architect. This depends upon the type of the company, its size, and the diversity of the design department and the designer's area of expertise. Some companies also outsource Product Designers and hire them on a project-to-project basis, thus relying on outside consultants and agencies for this function.

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Roles and Responsibilities of a Product Designer

Product designers are creative professionals who use their skills to design products in the manufacturing industries. They use their creativity with materials, production methods, materials, and forms to produce unique products. Product designers are aesthetically very strong and they have proper understanding of production as per the needs of the customers as well as the clients. They not only manufacture products but are also responsible for the overall look of the products that includes designing of the appearance, texture, smell, and quality of the product. 

The buying behavior of the customer gets affected by above mentioned details and hence they work in close collaboration with executives, the production manager, and the advertising team. Their main challenge is to design the products while sitting with the creative team and also ensure that the product can be afforded by maximum consumers. Product designers are also accountable for producing three-dimensional models and cost estimations for production executives.

Team management

Individuals who opt for a career as product designers must understand the importance of team management. They have to work with multiple teams like marketing, advertising, creative, designing, etc in order to meet the needs of the clients. They also need to understand the buying behavior of the consumers and to achieve all these things, an effective team management is very crucial. The behavior of product designers must be well-behaved as they have to deal with different nature of clients.

Designing

The candidates who choose their career as a product designer must possess good research skills so that they know about similar products to develop ideas related to designs and technology. They should also be good at sketching and have a fair idea of CAD software using computers. A production designer uses specialized software as they are responsible for converting the effective ideas into detailed drawings. They first prepare a sample of design and send the same to the concerned authority for further approvals. 

Research work

A product designer needs to be a good researcher as well if they want to sustain in the market. They have to find out several other products which will help him in designing products. He or she orders samples and working models of designs to understand different types of design ideas. A product designer also prepares a detailed report and presents it to clients and colleagues with the help of extensive research. The reports are usually presented through presentations. 

Testing

A product designer has to test the functioning of chosen designs. They check for the raw materials that have been used in manufacturing of the product. A product designer estimates the cost involved in designing and development of the product. Budget is always a constraint for product designers. A product designer also makes changes and modifies the product depending on its potential and costing as per the feedback they receive from their clients or colleagues.

Types of a Product Designer

There are different types of product designers depending upon the industries they are associated with. Some of the popular product designers are mentioned below for the reference. 

Automotive Designer: An automotive designer is a professional designer who is looked upon by many as they are responsible for designing automobiles, their parts, components, and their ergonomics. The automobile industry includes designing various vehicles that run on the road such as cars, vans, trucks, buses, scooter, motorcycles, and other vehicles. The automobile designing requires extensive teamwork as it is not a one man job. These product designers apart from designing the look of the automobiles are also accountable for functional development such as mechanical, electrical, software, electronic, or safety aspects.

Furniture Designer: Furniture designer as the name suggests is involved in the profession of designing furniture. The concept of designing furniture has moved multiple leaps forward and one can witness the innovation in furniture on a regular basis. The furniture designers initiate designing with a concept and idea and gradually explore new designs along with traditional methods. Furniture designers usually do a course in interior designing to come out with varied styles of designing. 

Industrial Designer: An industrial designer is responsible for designing industrial products that are very technical. The products may include iPods, cars, guitars, or phones. Industrial designers have to work in a team as they cannot design all the aspects of technical items. They just focus on the technical aspects of overall design and aesthetics. 

Eligibility to become Product Designer

Meeting the eligibility criteria for Product Designers is extremely important for any individual who aspires to build a career in this field. It goes without saying that the candidates who do not fulfil the prerequisites will not be considered for the job role of a Product Designer at any company. The list of Product Designer eligibility criteria has been given below.

Educational Qualifications
  • Students must have completed at least graduation in Product Design.
  • Candidates who have completed postgraduation in Product Design.
Skills
  • Communication skills
  • Sound visualisation abilities
  • Observation skills
  • Problem-solving abilities
  • Eye for aesthetic design and understanding of customer appeal
  • Artistic & innovative flair
  • Strong knowledge of the industry & market trends
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Meticulous and diligent
Work Experience
  • Relevant work experience in a particular field is mandatory

How to Become a Product Designer?

In order to become a product designer, the candidates need to check the different steps as mentioned below. 

Step 1 : Complete 10+2

The aspirants who are looking to make their career as product designer must complete their class XII examination from a recognized board with a minimum of 50% marks. They should have studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, or Computer Science at their senior secondary level in order to be eligible for becoming product designers. 

Step 2 : Entrance Examination

Several universities and colleges conduct entrance examinations to grant admission to the students for becoming product designers. While some colleges and universities take direct admission, there are many entrance examinations conducted to take admission in the reputed colleges. The students must prepare well to qualify for the entrance examination so that they are able to take admission and become successful product designers. Some of the common entrance examinations are mentioned below that can be prepared by the students who wish to become product designers. 

Step 3: Pursuing bachelor's programme

The students must enroll themselves in a graduation degree program after successful completion of 10+2. There are many bachelor level courses that they can do for pursuing a career as a product designer. Some of the common courses are mentioned below: 

  • BDes (Bachelor of Design) Product Design
  • BA (Bachelor of Arts) Product Design
  • BVA (Bachelor of Visual Arts) Product Design
  • BSc (Bachelor of Science) Product Design
  • BTech (Bachelor of Technology) Material Engineering
  • BVoc (Bachelor of Vocational Studies) Product Design

Step 4: After Graduation

After completing their graduation in the different areas as mentioned below, the career option gets widened. There are two major career paths that they can choose after bachelors as mentioned below. 

Option 1: The aspirants willing to become product designers can enroll themselves in a master’s degree programme in a related specialization without taking any gap in the academic year. A post graduation in the related field will help in getting better jobs and pay scale. 

Option 2: They can also start working in the industry in an entry-level position after completing their graduation. They can opt for a master’s degree after acquiring an experience of 1-2 years in the related field. 

Popular master’s degrees

  • MA (Master of Arts) Product Management
  • MA (Master of Arts) Industrial Design
  • MVoc (Master of Vocational Studies) Product Design
  • MTech (Master of Technology) Material Engineering
  • MDes (Master of Design) Product Design
  • MDes (Master of Design) Industrial Design
  • MVA (Master of Visual Arts) Product Design

Courses to become Product Designer

Provided below are the apt courses that students can pursue in order to be a Product Designer:

Course

Duration

College Name

B.Des in Product Design

4 Years

B.Sc in Product Design

3 Years

B.A. Product Design

3 Years

B.V.A. Product Design

3 Years

M.Des in Product Design

2 Years

M.Sc in Product Design

2 Years

Types of Job Roles Product Designer

The job roles offered to Product Designers have a wide range and they usually depend upon several factors. Some important facts that contribute to the job role of a Product Designer include the level at which the individual is beginning his/ her career, the size of the organisation, the type of the company, the location of the company, the sector in which the candidate works, etc. With a vast number of companies requiring Product Designers for giving a boost to their merchandise, candidates can seek jobs at various levels and in several industries.

A few of the relevant job roles of a Product Designer are as follows:

Employment Opportunities for a Product Designer

Some of the most prominent sectors in which Product Designers are hired have been mentioned below.

  • Marketing

  • Advertisement

  • Public Relations

  • IT Companies

  • Architectural Industries

  • Social Media Platforms

  • Hardware Companies

  • Software Companies

Top Recruiting Agencies for a Product Designer

Here are the top recruiting agencies that constantly offer employment opportunities to a Product Designer:

  • 1E

  • Sourcewiz

  • Groyyo

  • SalaryBox

  • ApplyBoard

  • Gift My Emotions

  • Techgig

  • Nitco Technology

  • Sprinklr

  • RoundGlass

  • Cvent

  • MouriTech

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Pay Scale/Salary of Product Designer

 The average base salary of a Product Designer is around INR 6,30,528 per annum. Provided below are the starting, mid or senior level salaries extracted by a Product Designer:

Job Profile

Starting Annual Salary (INR)

Mid-Level Salary (INR)

Senior-Level Salary (INR)

Product Designer

2,91,000

6,31,000

20,00,000

Note: The above-mentioned figure is an estimate and may vary from individual to individual and company to company.

Skills Required to Become a Product Designer

Aesthetic Skills: The candidates who opt for a career as product designers must be creative and must possess aesthetic skills. Aesthetics are the most important component of any design. The candidates must have a fair idea of color, shape, balance, rhythm, pattern, etc. A Product Designer should be aware about different materials and production methods involved in it. 

Technical Skills: The product designers must possess strong technical skills as they have to deal with the latest trends in terms of designing. They should have hands-on experience in designing CAD (computer-aided- software) software. The product designers should be able to deliver 3D models and computer designs to explain creative ideas with detailed information.

Organizing Skills: The product designers are multifaceted professionals who need to have strong organizational skills. They have to design for their organization along with planning the workout, costs, and budgets. They also need to understand the customer's desire in product design. A product designer also needs to meet the deadlines apart from meeting the expectations of the clients. A product designer has to work within a team by avoiding conflicts as a little mismanagement can affect the quality of the work.

Communication Skills: Product designers must possess strong communication skills as they have to interact not only with their teammates but a wide range of clients. They should be able to express ideas clearly to technical and non-technical persons. They should be good orator and also a very good listener to understand the nuances of client’s demands. Individuals opting for a career as a product designer should be able to produce written reports for a clear and concise understanding of ideas. 

Books & Study Material to Become Product Designer

Books are man's best friends. This popular saying holds infinite value even when talking about the professional aspects. Referring through the best books to become a Product Designer is a must for every aspirant who wishes to make a mark in the field. Given below are some of the popular books that help budding Product Designers in their career path.

  • 'Articulating Design Decisions' by Tom Greever
  • 'Thinking in Systems' by Donella H. Meadows
  • 'Exposing the Magic of Design' by Jon Kolko
  • 'The Art of Thinking Clearly' by Rolf Dobelli
  • 'The Design of Everyday Things' by Don Norman
  • 'The Laws of Simplicity' by John Maeda
  • 'Creativity, Inc.' by Ed Catmull

Pros of becoming a Product Designer

  • Product Designers get to experiment with their creative side and explore the most unimaginable ideas for their projects. This not only gives them creative contentment but also keeps exercising their brains for more such ventures.
  • Since a Product Designer is required in almost every field, any candidate seeking a job as a Product Designer can choose from the several sectors and industries available as per his/ her requirements and inclination.
  • If someone does not want to join a company full-time but still wants to get the work experience of a Product Designer, he/ she can be hired as a freelance Product Designer and will need to work with that organisation for a particular project. Many companies hire Product Designers on a freelance basis.

Cons of becoming a Product Designer

  • The salary offered to a Product Designer at the beginning of his/ her career is not much at all the companies. Growth in financial terms is witnessed only after getting a few years' worth of work experience.
  • The job of a Product Designer can be quite hectic at times. Some projects need to be delivered on an urgent basis, therefore not leaving the designer with enough time to let his/ her creative horses loose.
  • It requires candidates to constantly stay relevant by staying updated with the latest trends, software and applications.

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FAQs about Product Designer

What is the duty of a product designer?

A product designer is responsible for solving the user's issues by imagining, creating, and iterating products. He/she aims at improving the existing product and also designs entirely new products for the market.

What traits are required to be a successful product designer?

To be a successful product designer, an individual must have an innate sense for aesthetics and must understand the business goal. The aspirant is also required to be goal-oriented, creative, convincing and analytical. Having knowledge of coding and technology acts as a bonus for the interested candidates.

How much money does a product designer make?

The salary of product designer starts from INR 2,65,000 per annum and goes up till INR 20,00,000 per annum.

What qualifications are required to be a product designer?

To be a product designer, an aspirant must have completed his/her education at least up till graduation. Students with graduation in design background get a good grip on the subject and are able to understand the work better. Aspirants with relevant work experience get better opportunities as a product designer.

Which colleges are good to be a product designer?

Some colleges that offer quality education for product designers are Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences (RUAS), Bangalore, LISAA School of Design (LISAA), Bangalore, Pearl Academy, New Delhi, NID Ahmedabad, NID Bangalore, Anant National University (ANU), Ahmedabad etc.

Is a degree required to be a product designer?

Yes, an aspirant must possess atleast an undergraduate degree to become a product designer.

Is the product designer a good career choice?

Product designer is an exceptional career choice. The demand for product designers is increasing with each passing day but there is a huge shortage for a skilful product designer in the market. With hard work and an apt skill set, a product designer can make a handsome amount of money.

How is a product designer different from a UX designer?

The key difference is that a UX designer makes a product user friendly or easy to use while a product designer ensures that the product is cost-effective and makes sense in the current economy.

What are the merits of becoming a product designer?

A product designer constantly uses his/her creative cell which evokes contentment. The major advantage of a product designer is that they can work as a freelancer and have immense sectors and opportunities to choose from.

Can a mechanical engineer be a product designer?

Yes, a mechanical engineer can be a product designer. Knowledge of mechanical engineering can provide an upper hand to a product designer that can widen up his/her career opportunities in the market.

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