Career Development

What Does a Product Designer Do?

Find out what a product designer does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a product designer.

Product designers are responsible for the look and feel of a product. They work with engineers, marketers, and other stakeholders to determine what features should be included in a new product or service. They then use their creativity and technical skills to design these features so that they’re easy to use and visually appealing.

Product designers may also be tasked with maintaining consistency across different products or services. This might include ensuring that all elements—such as colors, fonts, icons, etc.—are used consistently across an entire brand or company.

Product Designer Job Duties

A product designer typically has a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Designing and testing prototypes of new products based on customer feedback or market research to ensure the product is appealing to customers
  • Creating visual mockups of designs with computer software such as AutoCAD, Photoshop, or Illustrator
  • Reviewing customer feedback and updating designs accordingly to ensure that a product meets customer needs
  • Collaborating with product engineers and other designers to create new products
  • Developing 3D models using computer-aided designing software to create prototypes of new products
  • Communicating design specifications to other members of the design team, including engineers, fabricators, and production staff
  • Conducting market research to identify potential customers and competitors, and developing product concepts based on this research
  • Conducting workshops with customers to identify their needs and preferences
  • Identifying potential problems with a design before it is finalized and communicating possible solutions to others on the team

Product Designer Salary & Outlook

The salary of a product designer can vary depending on their level of education, years of experience, and the size and industry of the company. Product designers may also earn additional compensation in the form of bonuses.

  • Median Annual Salary: $85,000 ($40.87/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $162,000 ($77.88/hour)

The employment of product designers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

Product designers will be needed to design new products and improve existing ones. However, automation may allow product designers to do some tasks more quickly and with greater precision than in the past.

Product Designer Job Requirements

A product designer typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require product designers to have a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, graphic design, fine arts or a related field. Some of the coursework that these programs include is three-dimensional design, color theory, computer-aided design and manufacturing, and product development.

Training & Experience: Most of a product designer’s training will take place while they are in school. Students will learn about design, computer-aided design, 3D modeling and other skills they will need to succeed in this role.

Product designers can also receive on-the-job training to learn about the specific products or services their company offers. They may also receive training in the company’s design software.

Certifications & Licenses: Though not required, product designers can acquire several certifications that demonstrate their expertise in important skills needed in this role.

Product Designer Skills

Product designers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Creativity: Creativity is the ability to generate new ideas and solutions. As a product designer, you may be tasked with coming up with new ideas for a product. This can include brainstorming new features, functions and designs for a product. Your ability to be creative can help you generate new ideas and solutions for your product.

Technical skills: Technical skills can help product designers understand the technology behind the products they create. This can include understanding how to use software, how to build prototypes and how to create a digital model of a product. Technical skills can also include knowing how to use various types of technology, such as virtual reality or augmented reality.

Communication: As a product designer, you communicate with many different people, including engineers, marketing teams, sales representatives and customers. Effective communication is key to your success in this role. You should be able to communicate your ideas and suggestions clearly and concisely. You should also be able to listen to and understand feedback from others.

Problem-solving: Problem-solving skills allow you to identify and address issues that may arise during the design process. As a product designer, you may be responsible for finding solutions to problems that arise during the production of a new product. Your ability to identify and address issues can help you create a successful product that consumers enjoy.

Time management: Time management skills can help you prioritize tasks and manage deadlines. As a product designer, you may be responsible for creating the visual aspects of a product, including the packaging, marketing materials and the actual product itself. This can include coordinating with other team members to ensure all aspects of the product are designed in a cohesive way.

Product Designer Work Environment

Product designers work in a variety of settings, including industrial design firms, advertising agencies, manufacturing companies, and retail stores. They may work in teams with other designers or alone. They typically work regular hours, although they may work overtime to meet deadlines. Product designers use computer-aided design (CAD) software to create two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D) models of their designs. They also use other software to create prototypes of their designs. They may work with engineers and other professionals to create products that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Product Designer Trends

Here are three trends influencing how product designers work. Product designers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Technical Skills

As technology becomes more complex, the need for product designers with technical skills increases. This is because products are becoming increasingly complex and require a deeper understanding of how they work in order to be designed effectively.

Product designers who are able to understand the technical aspects of products will be in high demand, as they will be able to design products that are both visually appealing and functional. In addition, they will be able to communicate with other members of the team, such as developers and engineers, to ensure that the product is being built according to specifications.

The Importance of User Research

User research has become an essential part of the product design process, as it allows designers to get feedback from real users about what they want and need. This information can then be used to create products that are more likely to be successful in the market.

As user research becomes more important, product designers will need to develop skills in this area. This includes learning how to conduct user interviews, run usability tests, and analyze data.

More Collaboration Between Design and Development Teams

In recent years, there has been a trend towards greater collaboration between design and development teams. This is due to the fact that both teams are now responsible for creating the same product, which requires them to work together to make sure that their ideas are aligned.

As a result of this trend, product designers will need to learn how to work with developers in order to create products that meet the needs of both teams. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with each team in order to keep everyone on the same page.

How to Become a Product Designer

A career as a product designer can be incredibly rewarding. It offers the opportunity to work on a variety of projects with different teams, and to see your designs come to life. However, it’s important to consider all aspects of this career before jumping in.

One of the most important things to think about is what type of design you want to do. There are many different specializations within product design, including industrial design, graphic design, and user experience (UX) design. Each has its own unique set of skills and methods, so it’s important to find one that suits your personality and interests.

Another important consideration is where you want to work. Some companies have strong cultures around design, while others may not place as much emphasis on it. Additionally, some industries require more specialized skills than others. It’s important to research the companies and industries that interest you to make sure they’re a good fit for your career goals.

Related: How to Write a Product Designer Resume

Advancement Prospects

Product designers typically advance in one of two ways: either by taking on more responsibility within their current organization or by moving to a new organization where they can take on a more senior role.

As designers gain experience, they often move up to more senior positions such as lead designer, design manager, or creative director. In these roles, they are responsible for managing a team of designers and overseeing the design process from start to finish.

Designers who wish to move into a more strategic role may also choose to pursue a management position such as product manager or marketing manager. In these roles, they will be responsible for developing and executing the product or brand strategy.

Those who wish to remain focused on the design process may choose to specialize in a particular area such as user experience (UX) design, industrial design, or fashion design.

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