What Does an Industrial Designer Do?
We've used backing cakes as a metaphor for industrial design. So, does that mean industrial designers’ jobs are making desserts?
Let’s put it this way, products are songs and melodies. Clients want to make their old song new again, or the melody that can save the world pops up in their heads. However, they don't know how to make the outdated tunes, or those pieces of sounds into music. Therefore, they come to designers and hum a few notes and say, “Hey, could you write a symphony for me based on that?”
Then, designers use instruments or anything that can make sounds to arrange sounds, rhythms, or lyrics into songs. Next, find manufacturers to play music based on the scores and record them into records. However, we don’t have the luck every time. Every now and then, there will be customers who were tone-deaf, manufacturers who played off-key, crooks who want to get the music score without paying the money, and, oh, of course thieves who plagiarize the scores and sell pirated CDs.
It is obviously impossible for composers to know how to play the violin, drum, and flute and also sing soprano, but they are absolutely familiar with the tone of the oboe and know the features of different rhythms and volumes. Similarly, designers might not know how to build brick by brick, but we know what kind of brick will serve the best for what kind of design and what method can built a house with less costs, less time consuming, but still beautiful and solid. With the advancement of science and technology and cultural exchanges, how many forms of music there are and will be, and how many ways to produce sounds are beyond imagination. The techniques and methods of producing will change how designs are presented. Thus, designers have to develop and explore continuously.
Well, occasionally, there are clients who want the voice of Siren or of their grandmother who died last year in their music. For now, we just leave those inexplicable messes there because that is not possible for anyone to complete the mission whoever they go to. In the real world, different types of songs are usually executed by designers in different fields. Although, designers might can reason and learn by analogy, just like you will not go to the Rap singer to perform The Phantom of the Opera, you certainly will not find a bicycle designer to design Porsche.
Therefore, everyone can sing, but not everyone can write songs, let alone make a record. Designers are not just composers who hand in the scores, but also record producers. Not only do we write a good score, but we have to find suitable performers, arrange the recording process, and direct the performance. After making sure that the pitches and beats are correct, we can sit down and catch our breath.
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