Commercial and Industrial Designer  What They Do

Just the Facts


Develops and designs manufactured products such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. Combines artistic talent with research of product use, marketing, and materials to create functional and appealing product designs.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Audio and Video Technology and Film pathway, Visual Arts pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Prepares sketches of ideas, detailed drawings, illustrations, artwork, or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided design equipment.
  • Confers with engineering, marketing, production, or sales departments, or with customers, to establish and evaluate design concepts for manufactured products.
  • Modifies and refines designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications, production limitations, or changes in design trends.
  • Directs and coordinates the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches.
  • Evaluates feasibility of design ideas, based on factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.
  • Presents designs and reports to customers or design committees for approval and discusses need for modification.
  • Investigates 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.
  • Develops manufacturing procedures and monitors the manufacture of their designs in a factory to improve operations and product quality.
  • Researches production specifications, costs, production materials and manufacturing methods and provides cost estimates and itemized production requirements.
  • Participates in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would sit most of the time. There's some walking and standing. You may have to lift and carry things like books, papers or tools weighing 10 lbs. or less.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Sound and noise levels are loud and distracting
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Automotive Designer -- Develops new or improved designs for vehicle structural members, engines, transmissions, or other vehicle systems.
  • Design Engineer -- Researches and develops ideas for new products and production systems.
  • Graphic Designer -- Designs art and copy layouts for material to be presented by magazines, newspapers, television, and packaging.
  • Jewelry Designer -- Creates a new piece of jewelry based on an artist's concept or the specific requirements of a client.
  • Roller Coaster Designer -- Oversees the entire process of designing building a coaster as well as the stations and controls that manipulate the ride.
  • Bank Note Designer --
  • Bicycle Designer --
  • Motorcycle Designer --
  • Snowboard Designer --