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Career and Education Opportunities for Industrial Designers in Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for industrial designers. There are currently 1,820 working industrial designers in Wisconsin; this should grow 4% to about 1,890 working industrial designers in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for industrial designers, which sees this job pool growing by about 9.0% over the next eight years. In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys.

A person working as an industrial designer can expect to earn about $26 hourly or $54,180 annually on average in Wisconsin and about $27 hourly or $57,350 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for industrial designers are better than earnings in the general category of Art and Design in Wisconsin and better than general Art and Design category earnings nationally. People working as industrial designers can fill a number of jobs, such as: bank note designer, product engineer, and ceramic mold designer.

There are thirteen schools of higher education in the Madison area, including one within twenty-five miles of Madison where you can get a degree to start your career as an industrial designer. The most common level of education for industrial designers is a Bachelor's degree. You can expect to spend about four years training to become an industrial designer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Industrial Designer

Industrial Designer video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, industrial designers develop and design manufactured products, such as cars, home appliances, and children's toys. They also combine artistic talent with research on product use, marketing, and materials to create the most functional and appealing product design.

Industrial designers ready sketches of concepts or blueprints, using drafting instruments, paints and brushes, or computer-aided layout equipment. They also talk with engineering or sales departments, or with customers, to determine and evaluate layout concepts for manufactured products. Equally important, industrial designers have to modify and refine designs, using working models, to conform with customer specifications or changes in layout trends. They are often called upon to present designs and reports to customers or layout committees for approval, and consider need for modification. They are expected to direct and schedule the fabrication of models or samples and the drafting of working drawings and specification sheets from sketches. Finally, industrial designers evaluate feasibility of layout concepts, on the basis of factors such as appearance, safety, function, serviceability, budget, production costs/methods, and market characteristics.

Every day, industrial designers are expected to be able to prioritize information for further consideration. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for industrial designers to read publications and study competing products and layout styles and motifs to obtain perspective and generate layout concepts. They are often called upon to direct the look and function of product lines. They also participate in new product planning or market research, including studying the potential need for new products. They are sometimes expected to investigate 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. Somewhat less frequently, industrial designers are also expected to design manufacturing procedures and monitor the manufacture of their designs in a factory to further optimize operations and product quality.

Industrial designers sometimes are asked to advise corporations on issues involving corporate image projects or problems. And finally, they sometimes have to design industrial standards and regulatory guidelines.

Like many other jobs, industrial designers must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Madison include:

  • Art Director. Formulate design concepts and presentation approaches, and direct workers engaged in art work, layout design, and copy writing for visual communications media, such as magazines, books, and packaging.
  • Craftsman. Create or reproduce hand-made objects for sale and exhibition using a variety of techniques, such as welding, weaving, and needlecraft.
  • Display Specialist. Plan and erect commercial displays.
  • Fashion Designer. Design clothing and accessories. Create original garments or design garments that follow well established fashion trends. May develop the line of color and kinds of materials.
  • Fine Artist. Create original artwork using any of a wide variety of mediums and techniques.
  • Graphic Designer. Design or create graphics to meet specific commercial or promotional needs, such as packaging, displays, or logos. May use a variety of mediums to achieve artistic or decorative effects.
  • Interior Designer. Plan, design, and furnish interiors of residential, commercial, or industrial buildings. Formulate design which is practical, aesthetic, and conducive to intended purposes, such as raising productivity, selling merchandise, or improving life style. May specialize in a particular field, style, or phase of interior design.
  • Multi-Media Artist or Animator. Create special effects, animation, or other visual images using film, video, or other electronic tools and media for use in products or creations, such as computer games, movies, and commercials.
  • Set and Exhibit Designer. Design special exhibits and movie, television, and theater sets. May study scripts, confer with directors, and conduct research to determine appropriate architectural styles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Industrial Designer Training

Madison Area Technical College - Madison, WI

Madison Area Technical College, 3550 Anderson St, Madison, WI 53704. Madison Area Technical College is a large college located in Madison, Wisconsin. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 14,553 students. Madison Area Technical College has 2 areas of study related to Industrial Designer. They are:

  • Design and Visual Communications, associate's degree which graduated 17 students in 2008.
  • Commercial and Advertising Art, associate's degree which graduated 48 students in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Certified Lighting Management Consultant: The lighting industry prides itself on distinguishing those persons who have accomplished this professional and personal achievement.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Apprentice Lighting Technician (CALT), which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Certified Senior Lighting Technician: NALMCO offers a home study certification program, the Certified Senior Lighting Technician (CSLT) which is indispensable for both entry-level and midlevel lighting management personnel.

For more information, see the International Association of Lighting Management Companies website.

Web Graphics and Multimedia Certificate: Equips the student for work as a Web graphic artist, creating illustrations, pictures, buttons, and other images for use on the Web, as well as the ability to create interactive multimedia designs in Flash or other programs.

For more information, see the International Webmasters Association website.

Highway Design: This certification program was designed for engineering technicians who are engaged in the preparation of plans, specifications, and estimates for proposed highway construction projects.

For more information, see the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies website.

Certified Playground Safety Inspector: Known as the most comprehensive training program on public playground safety, NRPA's National Playground Safety Institute offers hours of training by nationally certified playground safety experts, and prepares professionals for the Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) exam.

For more information, see the National Recreation and Park Association website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin photo by Dori

Madison is situated in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has a population of over 231,916, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Madison, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Madison are valued at $243,800 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred forty-eight new homes were constructed in Madison, down from three hundred seventy-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Madison are educational services, health care, and finance and insurance. For men, it is educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 48.2% of Madison residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 20.9%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Madison is 5.2%, which is less than Wisconsin's average of 7.7%.

The percentage of Madison residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.5%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Gates of Heaven Synagogue, Abundant Life Church and Grace Episcopal Church are some of the churches located in Madison. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Madison is home to the Allen Centennial Gardens and the Annie C Stewart Memorial Fountain as well as Bordner Park and Brigham Park. Shopping centers in the area include Brookwood Village Shopping Center, Whitney Square Shopping Center and Walnut Grove Shopping Center. Visitors to Madison can choose from Comfort Inn Madison, Howard Johnson-Plaza Hotel and Country Inn Sts Madison for temporary stays in the area.