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Industrial design is the use of a combination of applied art and applied science to improve the aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and usability of a product, but it may also be used to improve the product’s marketability and production. The role of an industrial designer is to create and execute design solutions for problems of form, usability, physical ergonomics, marketing, brand development, and sales.
The first use of the term “industrial design” is often attributed to the designer United States.
The earliest use of the term may have been in The Art Union, A monthly Journal of the Fine Arts, 1839.
“Dyce’s report to the Board of Trade on foreign schools of Design for Manufactures. Mr Dyces official visit to France, Prussia and Bavaria for the purpose of examining the state of schools of design in those countries will be fresh in the recollection of our readers. His report on this subject was ordered to be printed some few months since, on the motion of Mr Hume.”
“The school of St Peter, at Lyons was founded about 1750 for the instruction of draftsmen employed in preparing patterns for the silk manufacture. It has been much more successful than the Paris school and having been disorganized by the revolution, was restored by Napoleon and differently constituted, being then erected into an Academy of Fine Art: to which the study of design for silk manufacture was merely attached as a subordinate branch. It appears that all the students who entered the school commence as if they were intended for artists in the higher sense of the word and are not expected to decide as to whether they will devote themselves to the Fine Arts or to Industrial Design, until they have completed their exercises in drawing and painting of the figure from the antique and from the living model. It is for this reason, and from the fact that artists for industrial purposes are both well paid and highly considered (as being well instructed men) that so many individuals in France engage themselves in both pursuits.”
The practical draughtsman’s book of industrial design: was printed in 1853
 Definition of industrial design engineering
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The objective of this area is to study both function and form, and the connection between product, the user and the environment – product as it happens in any other architecture area, being the only difference, that here the professionals that participate in the process are all specialized in small scale design, rather than in other massive colossal equipments like buildings or ships. Industrial designers do not design the gears or motors that make machines move, or the circuits that control the movement (that task is usually attributed to engineers), but they can affect technical aspects through usability design and form relationships. And usually, they partner a whole of other professionals like marketers, to identify and fulfill needs, wants and expectations.
 In depth
Design, itself, is often difficult to describe to non-designers and engineers because the meaning accepted by the design community is not one made of words. Instead, the definition is created as a result of acquiring a critical framework for the analysis and creation of artifacts. One of the many accepted (but intentionally unspecific) definitions of design originates from Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design, “Design is the process of taking something from its existing state and moving it to a preferred state.” This applies to new artifacts, whose existing state is undefined, and previously created artifacts, whose state stands to be improved.
According to the Chartered Society of Designers, design is a force that delivers innovation that in turn has exploited creativity. Their design framework known as the Design Genetic Matrix determines a set of competences in 4 key genes that are identified to define the make up of designers and communicate to a wide audience what they do. Within these genes the designer demonstrates the core competences of a designer,engineer and specific competences determine the designer as an ‘industrial design engineer ‘. This is normally within the context of delivering innovation in the form of a three dimensional product that is produced in quantity. However the definition also extends to products that have been produced using an industrial process.
According to the ICSID (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design), “Design is a creative activity whose aim is to establish the multi-faceted qualities of objects, processes, services and their systems in whole life-cycles. Therefore, design is the central factor of innovative humanization of technologies and the crucial factor of cultural and economic exchange.”
It is critical to the product development process that the industrial design and engineering aspects of a product are considered simultaneously. This can occur via two methods. The most streamlined method is for the product designer to have an education and/or background that encompasses both industrial design and engineering. Unfortunately, there are very few educational establishments (especially in the United States) that embrace this educational ideology. A survey of engineering and industrial design curricula clearly demonstrates this fault. The other method, which is utilized by most U.S. companies, is to employ or contract with separate teams that focus somewhat independently, with occasional meetings to ensure the primary goals of each team are met or exceeded. The difficulty with the latter process is that there is sometimes a vast disconnect behind the skills, education, and understanding of the two groups. This disconnect can sometimes become extremely cumbersome to the design process, and possibly fatal to the ultimate success of the product.
 Process of design
Although the process of design may be considered ‘creative’, many analytical processes also take place. In fact, many industrial designers often use various design methodologies in their creative process. Some of the processes that are commonly used are user research, sketching, comparative product research, model making, prototyping and testing. These processes are best defined by the designers and/or other team members. Industrial designers often utilize 3D software, computer-aided industrial design and CAD programs to move from concept to production. Also industrial designers may build a protype first and then use industrial CT scanning to test for interior defects and also generate a CAD model. From this the manufacturing process may be modified to make the product better. Product characteristics specified by the industrial designer may include the overall form of the object, the location of details with respect to one another, colors, texture, form, and aspects concerning the use of the product ergonomics. Additionally the industrial designer may specify aspects concerning the production process, choice of materials and the way the product is presented to the consumer at the point of sale. The use of industrial designers in a product development process may lead to added values by improved usability, lowered production costs and more appealing products. However, some classic industrial designs are considered as much works of art as works of engineering: the iPod, the Jeep, the Fender Stratocaster, the Coke bottle, and the VW Beetle are frequently cited examples.
Industrial design also has a focus on technical concepts, products and processes. In addition to considering values and accompanying aspects on which industrial design is based can vary, both between different schools of thought and among practicing designers.
Product design and industrial design can overlap into the fields of user interface design, information design and interaction design. Various schools of industrial design and/or product design may specialize in one of these aspects, ranging from pure art colleges (product styling) to mixed programs of engineering and design, to related disciplines like exhibit design and interior design, to schools where aesthetic design is almost completely subordinated to concerns of function and ergonomics of use (the so-called functionalist school).
Also used to describe a technically competent product designer or industrial designer is the term Industrial Design Engineer. The Cyclone vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson for example could be considered to be in this category[A].
 Industrial design rights
Industrial design rights are WIPO-administered treaty, a procedure for an international registration exists. An applicant can file for a single international deposit with WIPO or with the national office in a country party to the treaty. The design will then be protected in as many member countries of the treaty as desired.
 Iconic industrial designers
A number of industrial designers have made such a significant impact on culture and daily life that their work is documented by historians of social science.[Le Creuset French ovens, and a complete line of modern furniture, among many other items.
Viktor Schreckengost designed bicycles manufactured by Murray bicycles for Murray and Sears, Roebuck and Company. With engineer Ray Spiller, he designed the first truck with a cab-over-engine configuration, a design in use to this day. Schreckengost also founded The Cleveland Institute of Art’s school of industrial design.
Leica, which became the hallmark for photography for 50 years and which still is a high water mark for mechanical and optical design.
 See also
- Engineering design process
- Automotive design
- Product design
- Sensory design
- Interaction design
- Communication design
- Form follows function
- Industrial Designers Society of America
- Creative engineering
- Donald Norman
- Environmental design
- Experience design
- Hague system
- Product development
- Rapid prototyping
- Transgenerational design
- “WE 300-series Types”. Paul-f.com. 2012-08-11. http://www.paul-f.com/we300typ.htm. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- de Noblet, J., Industrial Design, Paris: A.F.A.A. (1993)
- “Definition Of Design”. ICSID. http://www.icsid.org/about/about/articles31.htm. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
- Pulos, Arthur J., The American Design Adventure 1940-1975, Cambridge, Mass:MIT Press (1988), p. 249 (ISBN 9780262161060)
 Further reading
Objects of Desire: Design and Society Since 1750. Adrian Forty, Thames Hudson, May 1992. ISBN 978-0-500-27412-5.
Design, Creativity and Culture, Maurice Barnwell, Black Dog, October 2011, ISBN 978 1 907317 408
Industrial Design – New Frontiers, Denis A. Coelho (editor), InTech Open Access Publisher, November 2011. ISBN 978-953-307-622-5.
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- U.S. Department of Labor’s Handbook: Commercial and Industrial Designers
- Doodles, Drafts and Designs: Industrial Drawings from the Smithsonian (2004) Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Design, Creativity and Culture, Maurice Barnwell, Black Dog, October 2011, ISBN 978 1 907317 408