Edgy and exciting, by design

The first I Mac by Apple product designer Jonathan Ive

Product design is best described as the idea generation, concept development, testing and manufacturing or implementation of a physical object or service. Product designers conceptualise and evaluate ideas, making them tangible through products. The role of a product designer encompasses many characteristics of the marketing manager, product manager, industrial designer and design engineer. This evolving role has been facilitated by digital tools that allow designers to communicate, visualise and analyse ideas in a way that would have taken greater manpower in the past.

Functional and creative
Product designers are equipped with the skills needed to bring products from conception to market. They should have the ability to manage design projects, and subcontract areas to other sectors of the design industry.
Aesthetics is considered important in product design but designers also deal with important aspects including technology, ergonomics, usability, stress analysis and materials engineering.
As with most of the design fields the idea for the design of a product arises from a need and has a use. It follows a certain method. Also used to describe a technically competent product designer or industrial designer is the term industrial design engineer.

Opportunities
There are plenty of opportunities for students in product design. Career opportunities exist for graduates in design, general management and consultancy, technology, engineering and education. Students get to demonstrate creative design skills alongside sound technical knowledge and experience — a balance which employers consider an advantage. Since Indian designers are creative and efficient, India has become the hub for design outsourcing for MNCs and foreign corporates who are seeking the help of India design companies for quality and to cut costs. Indian companies are also increasingly conducting research and development for designing their own products and hence recruiting more designers. Unfortunately, the supply is not in sync with the increasing demand and growth in every sphere of the industry.

Job prospects
The best job opportunities are in specialised design firms which are used by manufacturers to design products or parts of products.
Product designers with strong backgrounds in engineering and computer-aided design and extensive business expertise will have the best prospects. As the demand for design work becomes more consumer-driven, designers who can closely monitor and react to changing customer demands  — and who can work with marketing and strategic planning staff to come up with new products — will also improve their job prospects.

Let’s talk money
The salary structure in this industry is lucrative and the sky is the limit for hardworking professionals. Beginners’ monthly salary ranges between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 15,000. If the aspirant is dynamic, hardworking, enthusiastic and ready to ride on a fast moving career, then this profession may be the right choice. Mid-level professionals in products design can expect anything between Rs 60,000 and Rs 80,000.  
Product designing is an immensely rewarding profession. Earnings for product designers vary widely depending on the type of design they come up with, and their remuneration depends upon their talent and skills. After getting the required academic qualifications one can also start  his own company and become an entrepreneur.

Eligibility
Minimum qualification required for admission into an undergraduate degree programme in product design is a pass in the final examination of 10+2 system or its equivalent from any recognised Board. Most product designing institutes conduct an entrance test to select candidates for their course. Those appearing in 10+2 final or equivalent examination can also appear for the entrance examination.  
Product designing courses can be pursued at the undergraduate level as well as post-graduate level. Apart from the undergraduate and post graduate courses, some institutes also offer diploma courses in product design.  
* Diploma courses: One year duration
* Undergraduate courses: Three/ Four years’ duration
* Post-Graduate courses: Two years’ duration.

Institutes and courses
There are several institutes which offer product design course at undergraduate level as well as post-graduate level. But one should be selective while choosing the institute.

Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay
Powai, Mumbai - 400076
Phone: 91-22-576 7801

Department of Design, Guwahati
Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati North
Guwahati - 781039
Phone: 0361-690321 to 28

National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, Paldi, Ahmedabad, Gujarat — 380 007
Phone: (079) 663 9692/ 660 5243
Centre for Design and Technology,
Bangalore (CEDT)
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore - 560012
Phone: 080 - 23600810, 080 - 22932246

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