March 03, 2011

Difference between Product Design and Industrial Design

What is the difference between Product Design and Industrial Design. This question has puzzled many people. Many ppl use the terms 'Product Design' and 'Industrial Design' loosely and interchangeably. From what we were taught at IISc, Product Design (PD) is a subset of Industrial Design (ID). In ID the focus is on improving the existing products or services, while PD deals specifically with solving problems through creating something. For example, if you sit long on the floor your legs may ache. Hence from PD perspective you focus on inventing a large number of chairs, and choose the best one. While ID will also invent a chair and then focus on making this chair more comfortable, useful, beautiful, etc.

Further, some authors argue that PD is a specialization that deals exclusively with 'products' or something that can be produced, while ID is more general study that deals with products, services, installations, etc. Take an example of a house. Since it is a solution to living, it can be treated as a problem in ID, but again it is a product so it should be dealt with by PD.Such arguments are best understood if you choose one particular perspective and compare it over the other. By choosing PD, you will have a large number of different houses, which will suite the taste of different people. And with ID you will have one house, that will cater the likings of hundreds.

There is no 'best'. I preferred PD and went to IISc, because i believed that I can help people live a better life through creating new products. One of the example of this is Braille watch, that i did as my summer internship at Titan. U can see the details here and here. Therefore, if you have strong inclination towards aesthetics and consumer goods, ID will be best for you, while if functionality, inventive thinking, research turn you on, PD is best.

Best of luck :)

Note : This post is based on a query by Himabindu Papineni. Thanks for asking a brilliant question.

17 comments:

Tarun said...

Thanks for the useful information..Most people think both are same: PD and ID.( As I thought) but there is a major difference.
Waiting for more useful posts related to design, as this was..!!:))
Thanks again..:)

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Thank you Tarun. More posts coming up :)

arunima said...

tats great insight..

chetanyadav said...

sir
can you tell us about your work in L & T as a product designer?, as in what tasks you have to deal with and all?
thank you

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hello Chetan,
In my job I am responsible for designing weapon systems for Indian Army based on their requirements. I need to see that the design fulfills all the operating conditions during warfare and adverse conditions. The designs are such that soldiers are safe and feel comfortable, but at the same time are effective to eliminate any enemy threats. I mainly do the conceptual design and then communicate it through sketches or CAD model to engineering team for subsequent detailing.

chetanyadav said...

great you are serving the country indirectly

chetanyadav said...

great you are serving the country indirectly

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Thank you, Focus design :)

bob t said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Namita Nagaraja said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sthitapragna Eachampati said...

Thanks for illuminating the fact that if one is interested in designing consumer electronics, ID is the way! I will be graduating as a Mechanical Engineer soon, and was confused to choose from PD and ID so as to study further. Thanks for this article as I guess I am a bit clear that ID is what I must study.I have also done my Master Diploma in Mechanical CAD while graduating, in which I got exposed to Softwares like Pro E, Catia, Solidworks, Nx-Cam, Nx-Cad and Ansys. Are there any other softwares which would help me while pursuing ID ? Any more suggestions Sir?

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Sthitapragna,
I am glad you found the post useful. For product design or industrial design the knowledge of software is not directly of much use. This is because the role of a designer is to solve a problem and communicate it to others using sketches. Though a designer may use CAD software to express his/her idea, engineering a product is often the job of engineers.

Sthitapragna Eachampati said...

Thank you :)

Ruchi Bansal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ruchi Bansal said...

that means its not necessary to be an engineer to become a product designer.
i am from life sciences background. is product designing suitable for me ?

Prasanna Gadkari (M.Des in Product Design from I.I.Sc. ) said...

Hi Ruchi,
It is surely not necessary to be an engineer to become a product designer. Product design is nothing but making products that solve the problems. Essentially, if you can come up with creative solutions to problems that people face and find a way of implementing your solutions, you will become a product designer :)

Deba Sheesh said...

I am extremely impressed together with your writing abilities as well as with the format for your weblog. Anyway stay up the excellent high quality writing, it is uncommon to see a nice blog like this one today.
Plastic Pressure Gauge

Post a Comment

Discussion