What is Industrial Design?
Industrial design is concerned with the appearance and usefulness of manufactured goods. Product design involves the synthesis of a variety of diverse requirements and values into a coherent creation. Among such requirements and values are functional suitability, aesthetics, technical performance, economic resources and constraints, social and cultural issues, environmental concerns and human comfort.
Projects provide a diverse array of transportation challenges, from personal vehicles to integrated multimodal systems. Skills are developed through traditional drawing techniques, cutting edge 2D and 3D digital processes, and the latest advances in rapid prototyping. Creative problem solving techniques are emphasized in order to generate new concepts, discoveries and open solutions.
In the industrial design program, students learn to emphasize the humanistic qualities of products of mass production with special consideration for comfort, safety and aesthetic satisfaction which they may bring to the users. In a curriculum balanced between academic and studio requirements, students are able to develop creativity, visual communication skills, hands-on experience with technology, and the ability to conduct design research in interdisciplinary collaboration. The program promotes critical thinking and innovative solutions for the future through strategic research with an emphasis and understanding of global impact, sustainability and collaborative partnerships. Industrial design students apply the highest standards of conceptual sophistication, aesthetics and craftsmanship at every level of study.
In the the third year, students can focus on product design or transportation design.
People who are successful in industrial design have visual and kinesthetic/tactile learning styles. Industrial designers must be intrigued by how things work, enjoy putting things together and not be intimidated by the need to generate alternate solutions to complex problems. Product design involves the synthesis of a variety of diverse requirements and values into a coherent creation. Among such requirements and values are functional suitability, aesthetics, technical performance, economic resources and constraints, social and cultural issues, environmental concerns and human comfort. They must be attentive listeners, possess strong communication skills and be comfortable interacting with many different types of people. Industrial designers must have excellent time- and project-management skills, and must understand business planning. They need to know how to create informative and persuasive proposals and maintain good client relationships.
Industrial designers are employed where products are planned for mass production. Since many goods are mass produced, there is a wide range of opportunities. Jobs have traditionally been divided into fields: (1) as a consultant or (2) on the design staff of a corporation.
Furniture, appliances, housewares, electronic equipment, tools, toys and packaging are considered consumer products and nearly always require industrial design services while being developed for manufacturing and marketing. Other items not meant for the consumer market such as machine tools, medical equipment, business machines and displays are also designed by industrial designers.
Transportation design may include automobiles, hybrid vehicles, semitrailer trucks, trains, airplanes and transportation systems. Special consideration is given to the exterior aesthetic, interior environment, comfort, functionality, safety and customer needs. Transportation industrial designers manage the creation of new concepts through the design process, which includes concept proposal, 3-D development and production release.
Majoring in Industrial Design
The goal of undergraduate design education at the School of Design in UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning (DAAP) is to provide a foundation that will allow graduates to deal with diverse professional challenges appropriately and to master tools and media of the future. This foundation has three components: 1) an integrated twelve-quarter curriculum, rather than a collection of courses, concentrating on the design process rather than product, 2) one and one-half years of supervised experience in the design field through the professional practice (co-op) program, and 3) a structured liberal arts education.
Students spend their first year in foundation studies, which provide a concentrated study of rudiments related to optical and tactile sensations that intensify perception. The focus of these studies concerns formal and fundamental concepts of two- and three-dimensional organization. Emphasis is placed on the ingredients of process: inquiry, analysis, comparison, evaluation and a language. The studies are an introduction to tools, methods and materials, including development of basic technical ability. The chronological order of courses provides a continual linear experience through a carefully planned analytical sequence of interlocking components.
The curriculum combines courses in humanities, sciences, arts and fine arts with those of the professional discipline. There are both academic and studio requirements with the total credit hours nearly evenly divided between the two. Studio courses emphasize visual experience in order to develop: (1) creative ability, (2) skills in visual communication, (3) hands-on experience with technology and (4) the ability to conduct independent research. There are general education requirements in history and behavioral science, and a series of business and economics electives.
Creativity and critical thinking, combined with a strong drawing ability, form the basis of important skill sets. Students learn to conceptualize new solutions and to visually and verbally communicate them. While developing these skills, students gain insight into the product design and/or transportation industry and develop professional portfolios.
Minoring in Industrial Design
Industrial design is not offered as a minor.
This curriculum information is intended as a general information guide for students considering enrollment in this program. These online tools are designed to assist you, but are not a substitute for planning with an academic or faculty advisor.
If you are currently confirmed or enrolled, you can check your degree requirements online. If you are considering transferring to this major from another school, use u.select to see how credits you have earned will transfer to UC. See course descriptions by college.
For an updated curriculum, please go here: http://daap.uc.edu/academics/design/bs_industrial.html
UC Advantages and Special Opportunities
- The city of Cincinnati, once called the "Queen City of the West" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, provides an excellent array of cultural resources for students who intend to pursue a degree in the visual arts. It offers the energy and assets of a larger city, along with quiet neighborhoods steeped in rich traditions. Cincinnati offers live music venues that range from top-notch symphony and opera companies to a growing pop and rock community. Home to the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum and the Contemporary Arts Center, the city also enjoys the presence of numerous art galleries and a strong support system among practicing artists. Cincinnati is situated within driving distance of Chicago, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and New York City, allowing DAAP students to take advantage of the rich cultural resources of these cities as well.
- The DAAP College Library has an outstanding collection of books, periodicals and visual resources supporting architecture, planning, design, art history and related subjects. Access to library holdings is provided by an automated online catalog, UCLID, which provides access to the University of Cincinnati Library information database, and through OhioLINK, the holdings of other academic libraries throughout Ohio.
- The Computer Graphics Center is a state-of-the-art university facility with hardware that includes PCs, Apple computers and peripherals such as scanners, plotters and digital video-editing suites. Students have access to sophisticated graphics equipment and receive hands-on instruction to augment the use of laptops in the classroom. All computing equipment is linked by high-speed Ethernet to facilitate access across the campus.
- The college supports a Rapid Prototyping Center, which is the home of state-of-the-art equipment that allows students to create communication aids for their design projects. Using CAD (computer-aided design) models, students are able to create physical models using three basic methods: 3-D printing, large format laser-cutting and CNC (computer numeric control) devices, including a Kuomo CNC Router. This facility is intended for all DAAP students to use in creating large-scale designs.
- The professional practice program (also known as cooperative education or co-op) offers students an opportunity for selected practical experience purposefully intermingled with a gradually expanding academic background. The University of Cincinnati invented the concept of cooperative education over 100 years ago, and is currently the second largest U.S. cooperative education institution. Approximately 45 percent of School of Design students co-op locally, and an additional 20 percent co-op elsewhere in Ohio, with the remaining students working across the country and overseas.
- Industrial design students work for both small design firms and large businesses across the country in the areas of product and transportation design. Students begin their co-op experiences in either the second semester of their sophomore year, and alternate semesters of full-time work and study on a year-round calendar until the final quarter of the fifth year (there is no tuition for the semesters students work). They graduate with five semesters, or a year and a half, of work experience in their field.
- DAAP students learn creative and technical skills in the studio environment, taught by a passionate faculty who interact with their students on a daily basis. The goal is to guide students as they grow both intellectually and professionally. Faculty are innovative in transforming the art and design disciplines by applying the newest technologies. They inspire students to take advantage of interdisciplinary studio projects and work within corporate partnerships. This, along with a broad liberal arts background, prepares DAAP students to practice their art and design in both local and global markets.
- Computer Requirements: All undergraduate students entering the School of Design in the Industrial Design program are required to purchase a personal laptop computer. Each discipline has its own specific requirements for hardware and software. You can review the current requirements at http://daap.uc.edu/admissions/computer_requirements.html. Please note that these requirements may be slightly altered as equipment evolves. The requirements listed on the website will always be the most recent and accurate. Therefore, students new to DAAP are encouraged to delay their computer purchase until the summer prior to entering to make the most informed computer purchase. Many of our programs have additional technology requirements for students in the later years of study.
The School of Design at the University of Cincinnati seeks to attract, enroll and graduate academically talented students of varied and diverse backgrounds. Success in our programs is largely dependent upon sound academic preparation. However, in multidisciplinary programs like those in design, students’ insight and perspective are greatly enhanced by exposure to students from different backgrounds, geographies and co-curricular interests. We have designed an admissions review process and a timetable to support these goals.
Admission criteria for Industrial Design program varies based on the relative strength of test scores, class rank and GPA. Please see the Freshman Class Profile for this major in the Quick Facts sidebar on this page for the range of academic credentials typically accepted into this program. Test scores in the lower range may be acceptable with higher class rank and/or GPA. Submission of an art portfolio is not required.
Freshmen applying to this program should also have completed the following college-preparatory subjects:
- 4 units of college prep English
- 3 units of college preparatory math
- 2 units of science
- 2 units in one language
- 2 units of social studies
- 1 unit of fine arts
- 2 additional college prep subjects
Transferring to UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from another regionally accredited university or college must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall quarter. Transfer students to the School of Design programs generally are admitted to the foundation year program.
Changing Majors within UC Requirements
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC must have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade point average in previous college work to be considered for admission. For priority consideration, complete transfer applications should be received by March 1 for the following fall quarter. Transfer students to the School of Design programs generally are admitted to the foundation year program.
All students accepted into the School of Design must take the first-year curriculum as outlined on the foundation studies curriculum guide. Industrial Design students must complete a total of 126 credit hours for graduation. Students must also complete five semesters (or six quarters) of mandatory professional practice (co-op) and receive a satisfactory (S) for all required work quarters. Students must obtain a minimum overall grade point average of 2.0 and, in addition, must have a 2.0 grade point average for the senior year to be eligible for graduation. In order to be eligible for graduation with honors, a student must have completed a set number of credits in the college and have earned at least a 3.6 grade point average.
Freshmen priority deadline for programs in the School of Design: Applicants who submit a complete application by 5 p.m. on December 1 will be pooled and reviewed for selection. Consideration of the applicants' personal statements and statements of co-curricular activities will be factored into the admissions decisions. Applicants who submit a complete application by 5 p.m. on December 1 will be notified of selection decisions by January 15. Please do not call prior to this date regarding a decision on your application. Applications received after December 1 may be considered on a space-available basis.
Students seeking to transfer from other colleges and programs at UC or another regionally accredited university or college should submit a complete application for admission by the priority deadline of March 1 for the following academic year.
The University of Cincinnati is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
All programs in the School of Design are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.