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What Does a Commercial Designer Do?

By M. West
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Commercial designer jobs involve designing manufactured products, using artistic ability in tandem with product research to create products with optimal functionality and appeal. This professional employs the fields of art, business, and engineering in the designing process, and is the chief contributor to the style, quality, and safety of nearly all manufactured goods. Aside from working with engineers, scientists, and other specialists, a commercial designer job description includes working with corporate strategy and marketing staff to ensure the designs align with the company’s vision. As the field is so broad, designers normally focus on one product area, such as automobiles, appliances, or medical equipment, in addition to furniture, toys, or tools.

The initial step in product development involves ascertaining the client’s specifications, the use of the product, and the preferences of potential customers. This step involves researching the intended customer to understand the context of product use. A commercial designer will use this research to develop detailed product descriptions involving color, cost, and shape, as well as size, materials used, and safety. In addition to customer research, this information gathering process also involves conferring with clients, visiting trade shows, and meeting with manufacturers.

Following this initial data gathering step, a commercial designer will develop sketches of the intended product. After the first rough sketch to portray their conception of the item, this professional will create detailed diagrams aided by computer design tools, which facilitate ease in design modifications. Such tools also produce instructions that can be read by machines used in the automated production process of product manufacturing.

After the creation of the product prototype, a commercial designer will confer with various entities to refine and alter the item’s design. This step involves meeting with clients for suggestions and also conferring with engineers to determine if the product can be designed safer or easier to use. Additionally, a professional in this field will consult accountants and cost estimators to ascertain if the product can be manufactured more inexpensively.

Aside from the steps directly involved in product development, commercial designer duties involve other activities. These professionals devise industrial regulatory guidelines, as well as make recommendations to corporations on factors affecting their company’s image. They are also involved in new product research, striving to develop innovative products before their client’s competitors.

Commercial designer requirements involve education in addition to personal traits. Most entry-level jobs necessitate a bachelor’s degree in industrial design or a related field, which includes studies in principles of design, engineering, and mathematics, along with physical sciences, psychology, and anthropology. Creativity with an eye for aesthetic appeal is needed, as the appearance of a product plays a major role in its success. Problem-solving skills and persistence are also advantageous qualities that will help commercial designers to see their product vision become a reality.

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