• 21/05/2024
  • 10

Product Design Career Pathways in 2024

Ever notice how we are surrounded by products in every aspect of our lives? We began our day with a simple product like a toothbrush and end our day with a furniture design product like beds. Everything we use and interact with in tangible form during the day involves product design. Product designers work on a variety of industrial and generic product designs that consumers make use of daily.

A product designer oversees the entire product lifecycle, from ideation design to actual product in hand. He/she dives deep into the dynamics of a product working and its mechanisms, how it will be manufactured and produced. The underlying emphasis is always on being a problem-solver and enhancing the user experience of the product. A product designer’s profile is to think about making and improving products to solve current challenges and meet market demands.

For product designers, they aim to make design more accessible and inclusive. It is less about how to make something and more about why we need to make it and for whom the product is useful. Many consider product design a rewarding career path when they see the tangible results of their product being used. In this article, we explore the many verticals within the realm of physical product design that designers can explore.

Vertices of Physical Product Design

Are you seeking to join the dynamic, ever evolving, and agile world of product design? Wondering what opportunities lay ahead for physical product designers? Here are some leading verticals for you to explore and learn more about:

1. Toy Design

Toys are essential tools for child development and learning. They are becoming more useful across old age homes and special needs homes where learning and skill development via toy interactions is proving successful in behaviour patterns.

A well-designed toy can help in overall child development including motor skills, cognitive learning abilities, social skills, and more. Design plays a critical role in building effective toys, keeping them engaging and fun. This is where a Toy designer is useful. A toy designer works with multiple aspects of colours, texture, sounds, volumes, contrasts, product materials, size, safety, durability, etc. He/she works on engaging not just the child, but also the parent who can quickly understand the toy and bring it to their kids.

This specialization in product design calls for designers to work with traditional clay sculpting to newer models of CAD software and 3D printing techniques. It involves deep-rooted research in child psychology, parents’ behaviours, safety laws, and market trends. It is a true blend of creative, artistic, and technical abilities.

Designers can work with/for small toy design studios or manufacturers to large-scale global marvels in Toy design like Lego, Mattel’s -Barbie Dool, Hamley’s, etc.

2. Bathroom fixtures/ Sanitary ware design

Bathroom-specific components like vanity units, bathtubs, faucets, sinks, accessories, etc. are often coined under the umbrella term of bathroom fixtures. Bathrooms act as both functional and sanctuary spaces for individuals to unwind their day. In the luxury world, bathroom fixtures, and sanitary ware design play a significant role in offering users a luxe experience.

A product designer here focuses on designing for functionality, luxury experiences, and aesthetics. He understands the optics of space, durability, frequent usage, ease of use, ergonomics, technology integrations, etc.

Designers often work collaboratively with engineers and manufacturers to understand the working of different techniques and raw materials. Helping product designers render concepts that communicate clear ideas and are inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities.

Brands like Kohler India, Hindware, Jaguar, and Cera and some prominent Indian names in Bathroom fixture design.

3. Healthcare equipment/ product design

Another key vertical in product design is designing for healthcare. This is the process of designing a product that meets the needs of a growing and demanding healthcare industry. With a single goal to improve patient outcomes and enhance their quality of life. In healthcare, product designers work in tandem with engineers, healthcare professionals, and patients. Designers work on designing medical devices and equipment which requires a deep understanding of the medical industry, design principles, and policy regulations.

Oftentimes, designing medical equipment can be a long-term process considering user testing and product approvals. Human-centric design and empathy design play a critical role in a product designer toolkit in healthcare sector designs.

GE Healthcare and Medtronic are two global giants in healthcare equipment design. In India Crimson Healthcare and Niramai are two Indian start-up brands working in product design for medical and healthcare equipment.

4. Deep Tech product design

Deep Tech refers to ‘cutting-edge technologies that build on advanced science and engineering innovations to bring disruptive new products to market’ as per a Built-In article. Deep Tech refers to Quantum computing, robotics, advanced materials with unique properties, etc. When it comes to Deep Tech product design, it essentially means a product designer closes the gap between deep tech innovation or discovery and the overall commercialization of the product via design. This means making the product functional, aesthetically pleasing, easy to use, pack, and sell.

Deep Tech product design is an intricate and transformative journey. One that amalgamates scientific disruptions, cutting-edge technology, and innovative design solutions.

Global design organizations like Frog Design and IDEO work on collaboration across sectors to bring deep tech design solutions. Foley Designs is a leading product design studio in India that often leverages Deep Tech elements like AI and IoT.

5. Furniture product design

Furniture product design is the specialized study of utility and style. A product designer in this sector with different materials like wood, metal, textiles, and other materials to design furnishing like sofas, beds, chairs, ottomans, coffee tables, etc. The designer in this field brings functionality to the user’s life but also enhances the ambiance of living spaces or office spaces. Furniture designers can work in office design, residential design, commercial furniture design, restaurant furniture design, outdoor setting design, etc. Working on factors such as functionality, comfort, usability, durability, sustainability, etc.

IKEA and Knoll at the global level and Pepperfry, and Urban Ladder in India are some examples of brands leading the furniture design vertical.

Other vertical in product design include Kitchenware design, Sports Equipment design, Pet product design, Lighting fixture design, etc.

Interested to learn about product design?

Explore the global learning programme of Product Design at Strate School of Design. The school offers an industry-integrated learning programme with global student exchange and an educational visit to Strate Paris. Grow your design toolkit with Strate while also building an international network.

Learn more about the Product Design course at Strate School of Design here.

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