The Industrial Design (ID) area at Purdue offers both an undergraduate and a graduate program. The undergraduate degree is a professional program with intensive course work to prepare students for professional design positions. Purdue is unique in that it combines the professional degree with strong liberal arts education. This combination of liberal arts and professional design studies prepares students for strong leadership roles as industrial designers. Upon graduation students have worked for major corporations including: Nike, Hasbro, International Trucks, Whirlpool, Delta Faucet, General Electric, Sears, and Microsoft, to name a few. Graduates have also worked for Industrial Design consultancies including: Teams, IDEO, Insight, Worrell Design, Ziba Design, and BMW Designworks, to name a few.
The undergraduate program is a four-year degree with an emphasis in form giving for manufactured goods. Students’ graduate with the ability to be innovative problem solvers and create aesthetically appropriate forms that can be manufacture by industry. The first year is focused on learning basic design skills through a series of design problems that the student must solve. These abstract problems focus the students’ attention on traditional visual form and shape development; additionally they learn both by hand and computer skills. The second year includes courses and projects that emphasis learning to give form to products within a variety of manufacturing techniques. Students experience hands on in the shop, as well as, virtually with the computer and rapid prototyping. In the third year, students are introduced to a variety of corporate sponsored projects as well as design competitions. In these projects, students must solve functional and technical requirements of the company along with aesthetic and psychological need/wants of the intended users. The senior year is a combination of corporate sponsored projects, learning design leadership skills, and a personally selected thesis project. Students also apply research methodologies, introduced the year before, into their design projects.