The reality of understanding what Industrial Design is all about
Alvaro Correa, Associate Professor – Industrial Design | Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI
The Industrial Design profession is changing at lightning speed, and the requirements for education are following this incredible change. However, as the profession becomes better recognized, our ID education is lacking in preparing and providing the essential and basic tools for future industrial designers. Why is this happening? Well, it appears technology is taking a front seat to speed things up. In the process the students are not receiving enough of the basics and, more critically, the knowledge as to how industrial designers work. They lack the knowledge of the seriousness, difficulty and demanding realities of the business world of design.
After spending 32 years in a successful career in Industrial Design, I am now an educator, bringing to the classroom the tools needed to be successful, to understand that design is a demanding profession, and to learn the critical functional interfaces during the Industrial Design Process. I developed a comprehensive course titled “The Industrial Design Process in Industry”, which I have translated into a format to be used in the classroom. The students are surprised, and in disbelief at the many activities and functional interfaces they will have to deal with everyday as professional designers. For example, why would a designer be concerned with legal, safety, and packaging issues or with business realities about cost, part reduction or even return on investment?