Physical Product Designer Job Description

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What is a Physical Product Designer?

A Physical Product Designer is a professional who specializes in designing physical products, such as consumer goods, household appliances, electronic devices, furniture, automobiles, and more. They are responsible for the conceptualization, development, and implementation of the product design. This involves creating sketches, models, and prototypes, as well as considering factors like functionality, user experience, aesthetics, manufacturing processes, and materials.

Physical Product Designers work in various industries, depending on the specific products they design. They can be employed in consumer goods companies, electronics and technology firms, automotive companies, furniture manufacturers, industrial design studios, and even in design consultancy firms. They collaborate with engineers, marketers, manufacturers, and other professionals to bring innovative and visually appealing products to the market.

What does Physical Product Designer do?

A Physical Product Designer is responsible for creating and developing physical products, ranging from consumer electronics and household goods to industrial equipment and medical devices. On a day-to-day basis, their tasks typically include:

  1. Research and Analysis: Conducting market research, analyzing user needs, and studying emerging trends and technologies to identify opportunities for product development.

  2. Concept Development: Generating ideas and concepts for new products, considering factors such as aesthetics, functionality, feasibility, and manufacturing processes.

  3. Sketching and Visualization: Creating sketches and rendering product concepts using various design tools and techniques to communicate ideas effectively.

  4. CAD Modeling: Utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) software to transform conceptual ideas into detailed 3D models, ensuring accuracy and compatibility for manufacturing.

  5. Prototyping: Building physical prototypes using various materials and techniques, including 3D printing, machining, or handcrafting, to test and validate design concepts.

  6. Collaboration: Collaborating closely with cross-functional teams, such as engineers, marketers, and manufacturers, to ensure design solutions meet technical requirements, production feasibility, and market demands.

  7. Iteration and Refinement: Evaluating and iterating on prototypes based on user feedback, usability testing, and design specifications, refining the product to achieve optimal functionality, performance, and user experience.

  8. Materials and Manufacturing Selection: Identifying appropriate materials, production processes, and manufacturing partners to ensure cost-effective and quality production of the final product.

  9. Documentation: Creating detailed technical documentation, including specifications, drawings, and instructions, to guide the manufacturing process.

  10. Continuous Learning: Keeping up-to-date with industry trends, new technologies, and design methodologies through research, attending conferences, and participating in professional development activities.

These tasks may vary depending on the specific industry, company, and project needs.

What skills are needed to be a Physical Product Designer?

Sure! Here is a list of skills required for a Physical Product Designer:

Creative Thinking: Ability to generate innovative and unique ideas for product designs, considering form, function, and user experience.

Technical Drawing: Proficiency in sketching and creating technical drawings using both traditional hand-drawing techniques and computer-aided design (CAD) software.

3D Modeling: Ability to create digital 3D models of product designs using industry standard software such as SolidWorks or AutoCAD.

Prototyping: Knowledge and experience in creating physical prototypes using various materials and techniques to test and validate design concepts.

Manufacturing Processes: Understanding of different manufacturing processes, such as injection molding, CNC machining, and 3D printing, and how design decisions can affect the manufacturing feasibility and cost.

Materials and Manufacturing Knowledge: Familiarity with different materials, their properties, and manufacturing limitations to make informed decisions during the design process.

Product Testing and Evaluation: Experience in conducting tests and evaluations to assess product performance and make necessary design iterations.

Problem-solving Skills: Ability to identify and solve design challenges and technical problems that may arise during the product development process.

Collaboration: Effective communication and teamwork skills to collaborate with cross-functional teams, including engineers, marketers, and manufacturers, to bring the product design from concept to production.

Market Awareness: Understanding of market trends, consumer needs, and competitive landscape to create designs that meet both user requirements and business objectives.

Project Management: Strong organizational skills and the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, ensuring deadlines are met and deliverables are completed.

Sustainability and Ethical Design: Awareness of environmental and ethical considerations in product design and the ability to develop sustainable and responsible design solutions.

These skills are essential for a Physical Product Designer to excel in their field and deliver successful and impactful designs.

Physical Product Designer

Physical Product Designer duties and responsibilities

Duties of a Physical Product Designer

  1. Research and Analysis: Conduct market research and competitive analysis to identify consumer needs and preferences, as well as potential design opportunities.
  2. Concept Development: Generate ideas and concepts for new products, considering factors such as aesthetics, functionality, ergonomics, and manufacturing feasibility.
  3. Industrial Design: Create detailed 2D and 3D design models and prototypes using computer-aided design (CAD) software, considering materials, dimensions, and construction techniques.
  4. Collaboration: Work closely with cross-functional teams, including engineers, manufacturers, and marketers, to ensure product designs meet technical requirements and align with business goals.
  5. Testing and Iteration: Conduct user testing and gather feedback to refine and improve product designs, making necessary iterations to enhance usability and user experience.
  6. Production Documentation: Prepare and maintain detailed documentation, including technical drawings, specifications, and assembly instructions, to guide manufacturing processes.
  7. Quality Control: Collaborate with manufacturers to ensure the final product meets design specifications and quality standards, conducting inspections and addressing any issues that arise.

Note: The number of duties provided may vary based on the specific requirements and responsibilities of a Physical Product Designer in different industries or organizations.

Qualifications required to be Physical Product Designer

To become a physical product designer, there are certain qualifications and skills required. Here are the most common qualifications:

  1. Education: A bachelor's degree in industrial design, product design, or a related field is typically required. Some employers may prefer a master's degree for more advanced positions.

  2. Technical Skills: Proficiency in computer-aided design (CAD) software is essential. Familiarity with prototyping tools and techniques, such as 3D printing and modeling, is also highly beneficial.

  3. Creativity: Physical product designers need to have a strong sense of creativity and innovation. They should be able to come up with unique design solutions and think outside the box.

  4. Design Principles: A good understanding of design principles, such as form, function, ergonomics, and aesthetics, is crucial. Knowledge of materials, manufacturing processes, and industry standards is also important.

  5. Problem-solving Abilities: Physical product designers must be able to analyze problems and find practical and efficient solutions. They should have strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.

  6. Communication Skills: Effective communication skills are necessary to collaborate with team members, understand client needs, and present design concepts. Visual communication skills, such as sketching and rendering, can also be advantageous.

  7. Attention to Detail: To ensure that the final product meets quality standards, physical product designers must have a keen eye for detail. They should be able to check and refine their designs for accuracy and precision.

  8. Adaptability: The ability to adapt to changing design requirements and work under tight deadlines is crucial in the field of physical product design.

  9. Portfolio: A strong portfolio that showcases previous design projects, including sketches, CAD models, prototypes, and final products, is essential for demonstrating skills and experience to potential employers.

Physical Product Designer Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for a Physical Product Designer to design functional and attractive products that people want to use.

Physical Product Designer responsibilities include conceptualizing products, crafting specifications and creating models and prototypes. You should be a problem-solver with a knack for understanding user needs. If you possess a creative mind with a practical streak, we’d like to meet you.

Your ultimate goal is to build a positive experience for customers through your design.


  • Understand customer needs and requirements through design briefs
  • Conceptualize product description and design
  • Craft technical specifications of products considering budgets and materials
  • Create sketches, designs and models
  • Produce and test product prototypes
  • Make sure products meet environmental and health and safety requirements
  • Work together with design, engineering and marketing teams to establish production processes
  • Ensure products are aesthetically pleasing
  • Think of ways to improve existing products


  • Proven experience as a Physical Product Designer or similar role
  • Proficiency in CAD software/ 3D modeling software
  • Ability to understand technological elements and constraints
  • Strong problem-solving and project-management abilities
  • Creative and analytical mind
  • Attention to detail
  • BSc/MSc in Product Design, Manufacturing Design Engineering or relevant field

What are some qualities of a good Physical Product Designer?

A good physical product designer possesses a range of qualities that contribute to their success in their field. Firstly, creativity and innovation are crucial, as they need to come up with unique and aesthetically pleasing designs that also offer practical solutions. They are able to think outside the box and create designs that stand out from the competition. Additionally, a strong understanding of materials and manufacturing processes is important. They need to know which materials are best suited for their product's function and how to effectively and efficiently manufacture it. Attention to detail is another important quality. They meticulously consider every aspect of the design, from the product's form and function to its usability and user experience. Collaboration and communication skills are also key, as they work closely with other team members, such as engineers and marketers, to bring their designs to life. Lastly, adaptability is crucial, as designers often have to adjust their designs based on feedback and market trends.

What are the salary expectations of Physical Product Designer?

The salary expectations of a Physical Product Designer can vary depending on factors such as experience, location, industry, and company size. On average, the salary range for a Physical Product Designer can be between $50,000 to $100,000 per year. However, it is important to note that this is a general estimate and individual salaries may vary. Additionally, senior-level designers with extensive experience and a strong track record of successful product designs may earn higher salaries.

Who does Physical Product Designer report to?

A Physical Product Designer typically reports to the Design Manager or the Head of Design in a company. They work closely with cross-functional teams including engineers, product managers, marketing teams, and sometimes also with external suppliers or manufacturers.

Last Updated 26 Sep, 2023

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