According to Milton Glaser, an industrial designer, “the good is the enemy of the great.
Industrial designers look at a product that seems “good” and they think about how they can make it better. Some bizarre but interesting innovations include: floating backpacks, sneakers with pumps, wireless earbuds — you name it! The engine that drives the innovation train is the constant availability of new technologies, materials and software that allows industrial designers to conceive of and design products that are lighter, smaller, faster, cheaper and more durable.
Apple is perhaps the best known and most successful “industrial design” firm in the world. The reason for this is the tastes and talents of Steve Jobs who brought his unique talents and perspectives to fixing big problems in elegant ways. With Jobs’ artistic and minimalist proclivities, he hired talented people and let the design and manufacture great products. But Apple is just the top dog. Due to improvements in industrial design software and manufacturing technologies almost anyone with an idea can become an industrial designer.
If you’d like to know about industrial design this article provides a definition along with links to the world’s top 30 industrial designers and the top 30 industrial design firms.
What is Industrial Design?
A short and sweet definition of “Industrial Design” comes from the National Association of Schools of Design Handbook:
“Industrial designers create and develop concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value, and aesthetics of products, environments, systems, and services for the benefit of user, industry, and society. Industrial design involves combinations of the visual arts disciplines, sciences, and technology, and requires problem-solving and communication skills.”A simple definition of industrial design from the World Design Organization in 2015:
Expanding on this definition is a quote from the World Design Organization:
“Industrial Design is a strategic problem-solving process that drives innovation, builds business success, and leads to a better quality of life through innovative products, systems, services, and experiences. Industrial Design bridges the gap between what is and what’s possible. It is a trans-disciplinary profession that harnesses creativity to resolve problems and co-create solutions with the intent of making a product, system, service, experience or a business, better. At its heart, Industrial Design provides a more optimistic way of looking at the future by reframing problems as opportunities. It links innovation, technology, research, business, and customers to provide new value and competitive advantage across economic, social, and environmental spheres.”
The following video is a short, colorful, creative look at the field:
What are the Personal Characteristics of Industrial Designers?
The following video goes a long way to showing the type of people and their tastes and talents:
Who Are the Top 30 Industrial Designers?
According to Cad Crowd:
According to Dexigner the world’s top design firms include
- Woods Bagot
- Herman Miller
- Zaha Hadid Architects
- Karten Design
- Smart Design
- Lord Aeck Sargent
- Studio O+A
- Sagmeister & Walsh
- Ted Leonhardt
- QNY Creative
- Planet Propaganda
- Ester Digital
- Kenneth Park Architects
- Leo A Daly