Commercial and Industrial Designers
27-1021.00

Design and develop manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Sample of reported job titles: Design Engineer, Designer, Industrial Designer, Mechanical Designer, Mold Designer, Product Design Engineer, Product Designer, Product Development Engineer, Sign Designer

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Prepare sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
  • Modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Evaluate feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
  • Confer with engineering, marketing, production, or sales departments, or with customers, to establish and evaluate design concepts for manufactured products.
  • Present designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval and discuss need for modification.
  • Research production specifications, costs, production materials, and manufacturing methods and provide cost estimates and itemized production requirements.
  • Direct and coordinate the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
  • Investigate product characteristics such as the product's safety and handling qualities, its market appeal, how efficiently it can be produced, and ways of distributing, using, and maintaining it.
  • Develop manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to improve operations and product quality.
  • Participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products.
  • Read publications, attend showings, and study competing products and design styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate design concepts.
  • Fabricate models or samples in paper, wood, glass, fabric, plastic, metal, or other materials, using hand or power tools.
  • Develop industrial standards and regulatory guidelines.
  • Coordinate the look and function of product lines.
  • Supervise assistants' work throughout the design process.
  • Design graphic material for use as ornamentation, illustration, or advertising on manufactured materials and packaging or containers.
  • Advise corporations on issues involving corporate image projects or problems.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Selling or Influencing Others — Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 94% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 77% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Telephone — 70% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Contact With Others — 60% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 58% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 55% responded “Very important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 37% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 22% responded “Very important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 43% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 30% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 39% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 42% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 40% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 28% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 31% responded “Limited responsibility.”
  • Level of Competition — 30% responded “Slightly competitive.”
  • Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 15% responded “High responsibility.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, conservation scientists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.

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Knowledge

  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • Sales and Marketing — Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
  • Administrative — Knowledge of administrative and office procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and workplace terminology.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 68%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 15%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info
  • 12%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.

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Interests

Interest code: AER
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

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Work Values

  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$37.03 hourly, $77,030 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
31,500 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Average (5% to 10%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
3,100
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

Related Occupations

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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