For every one of your favorite products, you probably have an industrial designer to thank. Take Jonathan Ive, the former chief design officer at Apple who was behind the development of some of the world’s favorite electronics, like the iPhone and the iPad. Or James Dyson, who invented the eponymous home appliance brand that includes widely celebrated vacuum cleaners, hand dryers, and fans.
Industrial designers don’t only have a hand in creating the electronic appliances that global consumers adore. Charles and Ray Eames, for example, developed modern, functional, and beautifully simple furniture — most famously, lounge and dining chairs — that are as beloved today as they were when the married couple designed the items in the mid–20th century. Walter Dorwin Teague, who launched the still-operating Teague design firm in 1926, helped invent iconic products such as the Polaroid camera, and even the Pringles canister.
So, you get the point: Industrial designers play a large role in shaping our world. But what exactly does the industrial design field involve? Here’s some background.