objects and products are a part of our daily lives. they support our rituals and interactions. they communicate utility and beauty bound by cultural influences and context.
traditional definitions of industrial design include the design of objects manufactured in a large series (mass production) and in service to the performance of user-driven tasks, needs, and experiences -- think computers, equipment, phones, robots, cars, furniture, and lighting. however, industrial designers crossover many disciplines and many scales.
increasingly, industrial designers are considered integral to teams that develop new business strategies for large enterprises. they participate in global challenges deconstructing systems to improve delivery of services and experiences. in tech-driven industries, industrial designers often collaborate with user interface designers, researchers, engineers and information designers. the lines between these professions are blurring. the term "industrial design" is being debated for its 21st century relevance, although the education of industrial designer is valued for developing methods of creative thinking.
industrial designers create freehand drawings, make physical models, and use computer-aided design in their work.
industrial design came of age at the beginning of the 20th century in Europe as mass production took hold and established the "consumer" market. today, the profession is front and center in creating new user experiences through human-centered design, digital interaction, service design, and product design.
the dawn of industrial design is cited as early as 1750 with the advent of a school in france for the education of draughtsmen, but christopher dresser (d. 1904) is credited as the "first" industrial designer of note. > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_design
you can see examples of early 20th century industrial design on the "pinterest" button below.