The Industrial Design program prepares students for a professional career in product design and development, especially in the area of manufactured objects used by people on a daily basis. By developing products that are innovative, useful, safe, aesthetically appropriate, ecologically sound and socially beneficial, the industrial design profession serves the needs of society, consumers, manufacturers and the environment.
The Industrial Design program at focuses on a new model of interdisciplinary product development called Integrated Innovation. The primary goal of Integrated Innovation is to produce design solutions that 1) meet user needs in unexpected ways, 2) create value in the marketplace, and 3) improve society and the environment. This unique focus has led the program to form strong academic partnerships with visual communication/graphic design and the schools of engineering and business at ASU. Students graduating with this experience can expect to possess an acute understanding of the potential that industrial design brings to the social, commercial, and environmental challenges facing the twenty-first century. To support Integrated Innovation, the Industrial Design program teaches both traditional and cutting-edge design skills and knowledge, including a strong visual acumen; technological aptitude; a practical knowledge of manufacturing, sustainability, and ergonomics; critical comprehension of design history; and a clear understanding of how to identify, evaluate, and respond to the physical and psychological needs of users. By way of studio projects, students learn to research problems and opportunities; visualize and communicate ideas; and refine their skills in freehand sketching, computer-aided design and rapid prototyping. Typical design projects (some of which are conducted with external partners) include the design and development of healthcare products, electronic devices, housewares, sports equipment, and packaging.
The process of new product development involves not only designers, but a range of other disciplines including business, engineering, psychology, graphic design, and others. Therefore this program places focus on the role of the industrial designer as a member of a team, and students will have the opportunity to participate in several team projects. In order to experience the process of design in industry third-year students perform internships in either a corporation or a consulting firm. These internships are generally conducted over the summer before students enter their final and fourth year of the program. During the senior year, industrial design students have the opportunity to participate in InnovationSpace, a transdisciplinary program where they will work in teams with other senior level students from visual communication design, business and engineering.
The program also has very close ties with the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the largest professional organization of industrial designers. The faculty are actively engaged with IDSA’s national administration as well as the Arizona chapter. The program also supports an IDSA student chapter with offices selected from the third and fourth years. This group meets regularly to conduct sketching workshops, field trips and other presentations.