If you have ever commented on how ergonomic your mouse feels or how comfortable your car’s seats are, you have appreciated the work of a product designer. These professionals are the reason why the things we use today look or function the way they do. And if you are interested in doing the same, you need to know all you can about this field. This article elaborates on precisely that. From how to get a job as a product designer to the necessary product designer qualifications and typical responsibilities, everything is explained in a simple manner below.
Let’s get started, shall we?
What Does a Product Designer do?
From your favourite chair to your beloved web app, product designers have a hand in developing almost everything. As such, product design is about blending user experience and requirements with brand or business objectives to create something that sustains itself for the long term.
Often, this process also involves fixing existing design flaws or revamping a specific product aspect. For instance, an automotive company may hire a consultant or have an internal team remodel their most recent line of SUVs.
Now, this may not focus on direct performance enhancements for the vehicle. Instead, the improvements can be in the form of a larger trunk, more legroom, or simplified dashboard controls.
Granted, none of the above sounds like they are major additions. What matters is that the end-user wanted those changes. And that is the most critical aspect of a product designer’s responsibilities: Delivering what the consumer wants.
That aside, a typical product design job description will involve the following:
- Conducting extensive market research to analyse product usage and consumer requirements
- Ideating and creating innovative design solutions to address issues found during the research phase
- Developing product prototypes to cross-check functionality and market viability
- Testing product prototypes across designated target audiences and incorporating the necessary alterations
How to Become a Product Designer
It is critical to note that product design field comprises multiple sub-fields or specialisations. And depending on which one you want to get into, you may have to opt for additional training.
For instance, those who wish to get into digital product design will need to learn to code and be familiar with programming languages like C++, Java or Go. However, individuals who want to pursue spatial or furniture design will need to focus more on visual architecture and sketching.
Some other essential product designer skills include:
- Analytical and problem-solving capabilities
- Sound visualisation
- A keen eye for detail and an in-depth understanding of consumer appeal
Apart from that, institutions offering courses in product design will require applicants to have completed their higher secondary education, with a minimum grade of 40%. In some cases, universities or colleges may also host entrance exams or personal interviews.
How to Get a Job as a Product Designer
While taking the first step in this professional field can seem daunting, it becomes relatively straightforward when broken down into smaller, structured actions.
So, here are 7 simple steps that tell you how to get a job as a product designer:
1. Enrol in Your Preferred Institution
Several universities and colleges offer product design courses in India. Some provide it as a diploma course, while others focus on Bachelor programmes. So, pick an institution that aligns with your requirements, especially when it comes to the sub-field you want to specialise in.
2. Familiarise Yourself with the Necessary Technical Skills
As mentioned previously, your specialisation will determine the skills you need to learn. However, it is an excellent idea to also equip yourself with what lies outside your domain. For example, though 3D modelling is not necessary for furniture designers, it can help develop complex design solutions.
3. Upscale with Peripheral Courses
The digital age has made online resources easily available to the average individual. This can be immensely beneficial for those studying product design. Learn all you can about your related industry, the ongoing market trends and user research. For instance, those who wish to become industrial designers can conduct additional surveys on the automotive sector.
4. Get Involved in Real-World Projects
The institution you enrol in will most definitely include real-world projects in its curriculum. Even so, you must get some experience beyond that. Look for available internships in your preferred industry or find related sectors that work closely with them. This also will be immensely helpful in the next step.
5. Build an Exceptional Portfolio
Creating an online portfolio is one of the most effective ways to get noticed in professional fields such as product design. Include information regarding your past work, case studies of your projects, early proof-of-concept sketches, etc. Anything that conveys your expertise while elaborating on how you approached the user problem will work in this case.
6. Expand Your Network
Getting involved with real-world projects will yield the additional benefit of connecting you with your professional contemporaries. Considering the competitive field that you are in, you must leverage any opportunity to expand your network. This will help with potential job offers in the future, collaborations and even with references.
7. Get a Mentor
As a fresh-faced graduate, it can be challenging to keep up with the years of professional experience that your peers may have. That is why it is critical to find and adopt a mentor. Aside from helping you navigate complex design problems, this will also give you expert insight into your industry.
With a bit of experience and a few projects under your belt, you could soon go on to earn a sizeable income. In fact, as per AmbitionBox, product designer salary packages range from 2,20,000 INR to 25,00,000 INR annually.
Granted, the entry-level remuneration may seem low to some. However, with just 1-2 years of experience, that number effectively doubles, scaling up to an annual package of 4,00,000 INR to 4,50,000 INR.
If you have been confused about how to get a job as a product designer, hopefully, this article sheds some light on the subject. Nonetheless, written advice can only go so far. In other words, if you had to take anything away from here, let it be the importance of practical and real-world experience.
Now, if you have already decided to pursue this field, why not enrol yourself in a BVA/ B. Des. in Product Design from the JD School of Design?
One of the most prominent product design colleges in India, the JD School of Design incorporates field excursions and practical experimentation to familiarise students with ongoing market challenges.
In addition, the offered programme blends conceptual design interaction with the utilisation of related media and technological tools while emphasising sustainability, ethicality and durability.
What are you waiting for? Enrol yourself to pursue what you really want.