industrial design is the design of objects manufactured in a large series (mass production) -- think computers, phones, robots, cars, furniture and lighting. however, industrial designers crossover many disciplines working in the built environment on systems design, interior spaces, urban street furniture and exhibition design. increasingly, industrial designers are considered integral to teams that develop new business strategies for large enterprises. in tech-driven industries, industrial designers often collaborate with user interface designers, researchers, engineers and information designers. the lines between these professions are blurring and the term "industrial design" is being debated for relevance.
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 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 link below.