Industrial Design

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The practice of industrial design at The Ohio State University includes applying a sophisticated level of design thinking and design research approaches to the planning and development of design ideas for objects, services and systems that support human needs. These may include consumer appliances, tools, business machines, furniture, medical equipment, architectural products and transportation devices, to name a few. Understanding modes of manufacturing and production, the analysis of systems, circumstances, and processes to determine ways in which new products can serve to improve or satisfy users in new ways to meet current and future demands is the foundation of our educational approach. At the same time, we believe that it is critical to understand sustainable design principles, and to model practices that contribute to the creation of healthy environments. One of the hallmarks of our industrial design program is the inclusion of multiple opportunities for design students to collaborate with students in other design disciplines. Our industrial design program culminates in a final project that demonstrates each student's comprehensive knowledge and ability to work independently.

Advanced

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Curriculum and Course Sequence

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Autumn Semester

Design Foundations, 9 hours
Arts and Sciences 1100.09: College Survey, 1 hour
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester

Design Foundations, 9 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

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Autumn Semester

Design 3101: Intro to Industrial Design 1, 3 hours
Design 3200: Design Research 1 , 3 hours
Design 3400.01: Design Media 1 for Industrial Design, 3 hours
Design 3301: Viz Strategies for Ind Design 1, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester

Design 3151: Intro to Industrial Design 2, 3 hours
Design 3450.01: Design Media 2 for Industrial Design, 3 hours
Design 3550.01: Materials + Processes 1 for Industrial Design, 3 hours
GE Courses, 9-11 hours

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Autumn Semester

Design 4101: Intermediate Industrial Design 1, 3 hours
Design 4200: Design Research 2 , 3 hours
Design 4400.01: Design Media 3 for Industrial Design, 3 hours
Elective Course, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester

Design 4151: Intermediate Industrial Design 2, 3 hours
Design 4650: Collaborative Design, 3 hours
Design 4750: Professional Practices (weeks 1 to 7), 3 hours
Elective Courses, 6 hours

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Autumn Semester

Design 5101: Advanced Industrial Design 1, 3 hours
Design 5200.01: Design Research 3 for Industrial Design, 3 hours
Design 5800.01: Design Seminar for Industrial Design, 3 hours
GE Courses, 6 hours

Spring Semester

Design 5151: Advanced Industrial Design 2, 3 hours
Design 5301: Viz Strategies for Ind Design 2, 3 hours
Elective Course, 3 hours
GE Courses, 7 hours

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Technology Requirements

Students in the Department of Design at The Ohio State University are required to have their own laptop computers after being admitted into one of our major programs. We do not make recommendations of specific computers, but students pursuing a major in Interior Design will need a machine that is capable of meeting the technology specifications of the following softwares:

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woman in white shirt using smartphone. Photo by Bruce Mars on Unsplash.
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Students should check with The Office of the CIO prior to purchasing software for site licensed software that is available at discounted prices for students.

Students should check Tech Hub for prices.

Tech Hub is the Ohio State campus computer store. Get software and hardware at or below academic discounted pricing. They work with students, faculty and staff for personal and departmental orders. A variety of Apple, Dell and HP hardware is available including laptops, iPads, tablets, desktops, accessories and add-ons. A variety of software is available including Microsoft, Adobe, EndNote/Reference Manager and more. Tech Hub prices extended to students, faculty and staff with a valid Ohio State BuckID.

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Student Achievement Data

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2018-2019 Academic Year

  • Job Placement: 92%
  • Graduate Program Acceptance: 100% of students who applied.
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: TBD 
  • Retention: 100% of the students enrolled during the previous academic year returned.

2017-2018 Academic Year

  • Job Placement: 87%
  • Graduate Program Acceptance: 100% of students who applied.
  • 4-Year Graduation Rate: 80% 
  • Retention: 100% of the students enrolled during the previous academic year returned.
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Career Prospects in Industrial Design

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Design take positions with design consulting offices, corporate design departments, and government design agencies.

The work of design occurs in either the context of consultant design, where independent design firms provide services to clients, or in the context of corporate, governmental, or non-governmental/not-for-profit design, where design services are provided within an organization.

Consultant design offices can be as small as one person -- an office of 15-20 people is considered relatively large -- and the largest might employ 100 or more. Consultant offices may specialize in one design discipline, or even a subcategory of that specialty. Consultant offices can also be multidisciplinary, and employ designers from all categories, as well as engineers, researchers, marketing and human factors experts, etc.

Corporate design groups exist in all major industries, and employ designers of all disciplines. Industrial design departments are often found within product manufacturing companies.

Design offers many opportunities for a challenging career. Many designers begin with project work, and advance to research, coordination and management. Planning activities often place designers in the role of analyzing business trends, and establishing strategic goals for design activities. Many organizations value the contributions designers make to their businesses, and provide good opportunities for advancement.

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According to Coroflot's latest Design Salary Guide, the median salary for an Industrial Designer is $63,100.
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Professional Organizations

Professional organizations play an important role in the development of design disciplines and provide valuable resources to their student and professional members. The following organizations are all relevant to Industrial Design.

Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
Interaction Design Association (IxDA)
Retail Design Institute (RDI)
Usability Professionals Association (UPA)

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Alumni Spotlight


Cynthia E. Smith

BSD - Industrial Design, 1987

  • Curator of Socially Responsible Design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 

Cynthia E. Smith’s role as a designer continues to evolve. As a design activist, she curated her first exhibition as a provocation to the design world, because designers have only focused on a small percentage of the population, historically. This exhibition heralded a change in this new millennium as a new generation of designers, architects, engineers, and philanthropists collaborate with under-served communities on low-cost design solutions. Today, she sees herself as a design advocate, using the platform of the nation’s design museum to create an international dialogue about the important role design can play in addressing critical issues around the world.

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Cynthia E. Smith

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Who hired our Industrial Designers after graduation?

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  • Professional Jump Roper, Worldwide
  • Electrolux, Charlotte, NC
  • Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund, Columbus, OH
  • OASIS International 
Water-Friendly Solutions, Columbus, OH
  • Nestlé, Marysville, OH
  • bioWORLD, Columbus, OH
  • Group Iii International Ltd (Inc), Pompano Beach, FL
  • Procter & Gamble, 
Cincinnati, OH
  • Midea America Corp, 
Boston, MA
  • Freelance, Columbus, OH
  • COSI, Columbus, OH
  • Design Central, Columbus, OH
  • Stratos Innovation Group, Columbus, OH
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  • Lisso, Escazu, Costa Rica
  • Lund Univieristy, Lund, Sweden
  • Heart + Soul Artist Representation & Creative Services, Columbus, OH
  • Yelp WiFi, San Francisco, CA
  • Stanley Black & Decker, Baltimore, MD
  • DāNite Sign Co., Columbus, OH
  • Electrolux, Charlotte, NC
  • Artop Group, Sichan, China
  • Studio JP, Columbus, OH
  • PatientPop, Santa Monica, CA
  • Priority Designs, Columbus, OH
  • Medforall, Columbus, OH
  • SCAD, Savannah, GA
  • ArtCenter, Los Angeles, CA
  • IBM, Shanghai City, China
  • Idea Farm Co-Op, Pheonix, AZ
  • Medforall, Columbus, OH
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  • 5ID, Columbus, OH
  • TwineTree, New Delhi, India
  • The Ohio State University Office of Academic Affairs, Columbus, OH
  • Boss Display Corporation, 
Columbus, OH
  • Stanley Black & Decker, Columbus, OH
  • Nestlé, Bakersfield, CA
  • ZoCo Design, Columbus, OH
  • Beyond Design, Inc., 
Chicago, IL
  • Snap! Raise, Seattle, WA
  • Greater Columbus Swim Team of Ohio, Westerville, OH
  • Ethos Group, Boston, MA