The National Endowment for the Arts reports that in the past decade, industrial design has been recognized as a means to significantly increase a company’s value by adapting industrial design methodologies to a wide range of business problems through a process called design thinking. With growing global competition and demand by customers for a better user experience, industrial design has become more important for manufacturing firms than ever before.
The US Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) reveals the size of the arts and cultural sector and its contributions to the US economy; the number of workers employed by those industries and their compensation figures; consumer expenditures on arts and culture; and import/export activity. "Design services"—defined as "production of arts and cultural goods"—added $17 billion to the US economy in 2014 and sustained 2.6 percent average annual growth from 2012 to 2014. The ACPSA indicates that industrial design is one of the fastest-growing arts industries. Between 2012 and 2014, average annual growth in real value added by ID was 4.1 percent—compared to the overall arts economy, which grew by 1.4 percent.
The International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), in partnership with the Design Learning Network, has recently published an edition of the ChildArt Magazine featuring eight exceptional designers, six of which are IDSA members: John Edson, Ayse Birsel, Paul Hatch, Megan Neese, Mauro Porcini and Arnold Wasserman. Debbie Millman and Peter Scupelli are included as well. Doris Wells-Papanek guest edited “Learning From Design!”—capturing compelling stories about designing the future, the powerful influence of mentors and the incredible benefits of being curious, resilient and persistent.
Google and AIGA are pleased to announce the first annual Design Census—an open and collaborative resource for understanding the complex economic, social, and cultural factors shaping the design practice today. It is free and open to everyone, and its goal is to empower the design community to take charge of its professional development and happiness.
The Occupational Handbook Outlook defines industrial designers as “those individuals that develop the concepts for manufactured products such as cars, home appliances, and toys.” While this dataset enables a quantitative grasp of the industry, the definition is arguably limited in scope. Today’s industrial designers find themselves in a variety of roles and functions beyond the development of manufactured products.
The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Design Program has been tracking numerous trends in the field of design, from the growing movement of design thinking to social impact design. Although this report brings together, for the first time, analytical perspectives regarding federal data on industrial design, it cannot be all-encompassing. This preface has benefited from conversations with some of the nation’s leading designers, design curators, and design firms to convey information not captured by the report itself.
IDSA's INNOVATION magazine offered schools the opportunity to showcase the work of their students in the Winter of 2014. The result is a resource for incoming students of industrial design.