Jump to content
Product Design Forums


Have Architecture Degree Now Want Career In Industrial Design: Crossover Advice Needed

Recommended Posts

Hello Everyone. I am about to graduate with an Undergraduate qualification (RIBA PART 1) in Architecture from a good university in London. I have literally just finished my final semester and am starting to apply for work. I have some part time Architecture office work lined up to start but I have realised over the last 3 years that I see myself working in industrial design not architecture. I am really interested in designing things with medical/prosthetic applications to benefit humanity. I also have a really strong and, I think, unique aesthetic sensibility that I would really like to bring to the design world. I realise the medical and aesthetic worlds do not always meet but those are two interests I have that can remain separate if necessary.


The short of it is that I would really welcome practical advice from you guys on how I can go about re-marketing myself to get a job in industrial design. I imagine my CAD skills are transferable but my portfolio is largely architecture based. What kind of work can I expect to get in Industrial/product design with my specific skills? Will employers just look at me and think, no way, he hasn't been trained to do industrial design and so I'm not going to waste my time with him? I am really green to the world of industrial design, can anyone recommend me essential community websites, forums and other networking services so that I may catch up? Also, what is a guide salary (in the UK preferably) for someone starting out in the Industrial Design business?


I know how to use Autocad, vectorworks, sketchup and to a lesser extent rhino, in addition to the obvious photoshop and illustrator. What are the most popular CAD applications Industrial Design firms use?


Any general advice and opinions on what I'm doing would be most welcome: Is this a crazy thing? should I consider studying industrial design at degree level before even hoping of landing a Industrial design job? At the moment there is no way I am willing to start another degree as I am already a 'mature' student at 27, having previously had a minor career in photography and professional hand printing.


Thanks to anyone who replied. ISAMBARD






Although I love architecture as a finished product and I love its theory and I love classical architecture, I find it difficult to really want to sink my teeth in to the nitty gritty of the real world of 21st century architectural practice. I am put off by the tedious details of construction, the letigiousness of building regulations, and the ever diminishing role an architect plays in the actual design and construction of a building.

I'm also bothered by the fact that society undervalues the work of an architect and correspondingly we are underpaid and overworked. That and the sheer scale of a building project is daunting to me at times, I feel myself being spread so thinly when having to consider all the various elements of a building design and regulations and then overseeing its construction (from the little experience I have had). I feel I want to do something well, and therefore need to be focused on it, not have my resources spread soo thinly. I want to be humble and say, I want to focus my efforts on making a product, an object, something I can hold and understand and have greater command of the design and fabrication process, unlike a huge building where you must surrender this control to hundreds of others. I want to dedicate my career to doing something really well and not 'good enough'. I have an eye for design in all its forms, from objects, to buildings, to fashion to graphics and art but I see so many needs that have not been met in the product/industrial design world. I have a strong aesthetic taste that marries 21st century technology and lifestyle with a deep love for the look of pre-modernist design (i.e. 17th-early 20th century). I really feel like I can carve a career in design, set up my own business eventually, or I really want to at least. I feel like I could get out of bed and do this with pleasure, as opposed to dragging myself out of bed to do a tedious 9-5 job.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

You really need to post actual work or a link to your portfolio for us to give any useful advice. In design the degree doesnt communicate as much as your portfolio does.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Promoting your prior work with a website may help. Networking, being willing to move anywhere on earth, etc.


If you are unhappy with your career trajectory, by all means change it before you have spent ten years doing something you did not really want to do. It is too late to start over then.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Make something.


Design it, record the whole process in detail (sketches, notes), how you did it, why you made certain decisions.


Get it made or make it yourself. (technology such as 3D printing makes this very easy)


Use the (considerable) design skills you have already.


Let people see it, maybe even buy it, (the web makes this possible in an afternoon)


Then you ARE a designer.


If you do this over and over you build a portfolio and you also build an identity as a designer, most companies will want to see that.




Not sure I agree about it being too late after ten years doing something else, it's never too late, not in todays fast-moving, ultra-connected environment.

Anyone who has studied creativity knows that the collection of disparate experiences is essential to being creative. You don't get inspired sitting in a white-walled

room, you need mental stimulii. The experiences and education you have gathered already have given you a larger pool of ideas than most ID design grads anyway, use them.


I'm 40 this year, married, two children, been working in engineering since leaving school at 16 (no degree), I earnt my Mech Eng degree afterwards

and am only now making the changes to my career that I think will make me satisfied.

I don't intend to be an engineer for the rest of my life, I also find the technical and regulatory side of engineering cramps the creative part of my personality.


Good luck !



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.