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Industrial and Product Design


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What to Expect

Industrial design students combine skills in math and art to design products people need.

Derrick Glodova pursued industrial design at the Metropolitan State College of Denver to mesh his talents in engineering and art. "I like the fact that I can be creative in more than one way," he says.

"Not only can I make models, but I can do computer graphics, draw and work with wood, metal and plastic. The student is usually only limited by his or her imagination."

Barbara Kulig's studies in industrial design allowed her to study the work she loves. "I find that most projects I do are the ones that I am sincerely interested in," she says. "The work is very engaging, and I myself am often anxious to see what I will come up with."

Glodova says students should be prepared to draw, use computers and think outside the lines.

"The hardest thing for me to get used to was thinking more creatively," he says. "I transferred from an engineering program at another school where we were taught to think in a linear manner. To be a successful industrial designer, one must be able to think with more flexibility."

An early design student will experience "studio days," during which they will spend a full day with a professor. In the first and second years, students undertake in-class exercises, such as sketching and modeling.

Some days are spent creating models in a wood or metal lab. Students build prototypes and models of their projects, which are used for testing concepts and materials and displaying the intended appearance.

Every few weeks, design students have project reviews. The reviews take an entire day, with each student presenting his or work. Professors and students review the projects. These review days are equivalent to a test or an exam.

How to Prepare

Kulig says high school students should take art courses. Some of that work could be used in a portfolio, she says.

Glodova says drawing classes and industrial courses, such as drafting, shop classes and basic math and science courses, would be helpful to students. "It also helps to learn to think three-dimensionally," he says.

Design-related activities, such as working on the high school yearbook or newspaper, also help to develop an early sense of layout and graphic design, Kulig says. Computer knowledge also is helpful, particularly graphics and 3D modeling packages.


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