Industrial Designer Vs. Architect

There are vast differences between industrial designers and architects, and these reach beyond degree requirements and career outlooks. The responsibilities of each are outlined here in order to demonstrate these differences.

Comparing Industrial Designers to Architects

The cars we drive and the buildings we walk through are made functional and attractive thanks to industrial designers and architects. Industrial designers create the things we buy on a regular basis, while architects dream up homes and industrial buildings.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Growth (2014-2024)*
Industrial Designers Bachelor's Degree $67,790 2%
Architects Bachelor's Degree $76,930 7%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Responsibilities of Industrial Designers vs. Architects

Both industrial designers and architects attempt to develop the products and structures we use every day. Industrial designers are responsible for developing consumer goods, such as toys, furniture, and kitchen appliances. Architects, on the other hand, busy themselves with designing buildings, which can require them to consider such factors as window placement, shape, and materials.

Industrial Designers

Ever wonder who designed the look of your new game console or school binder? Industrial designers are like artists in that they must think about the visual appeal of a design, even as they consider the practicality of the things they are creating. This is why it is important for them to work with marking professionals to research the demand for certain products. They not only want to make something we all want to buy, they also want it to be cost-effective to produce. Sometimes, industrial designers also try to make existing products more aesthetically interesting and user-friendly.

Job responsibilities of an industrial designer include:

  • Meeting with clients to assist in developing new products or improving old ones
  • Sketching out ideas that both fit the needs of the client and are safe to use
  • Researching similar products to ensure new products will fill a niche not already filled by a competing product
  • Creating a prototype out of materials and colors they feel are best for the product


Behind every creative building design is an architect who created it. These professionals meet with clients to ensure a design fits their needs while also meeting code requirements for safety. As a result, architects must consider more than just the look of the building, but also what it will be used for. During or shortly after the meeting, architects develop scaled drawings of the exterior and/or interior of the building. They may also design more than one building at a time, creating plans for gated communities or other types of building complexes.

Job responsibilities of an architect include:

  • Giving clients an estimate for the cost and time of a build
  • Providing the building specifications, including the space, land, and materials dedicated to the build
  • Visiting worksites on behalf of the client to ensure deadlines are being met and the schematics are being closely followed
  • Making recommendations for changes based on budget or time constraints, as well as to make the building safer

Related Careers

If you're interested in a career as an industrial designer, you may want to look into a job as an industrial engineer, as these individuals work to streamline the manufacturing processes used to produce a variety of consumer goods. If it's a position as an architect that interests you, you may want to research a job as a civil engineer, since professionals in this field work to develop safe and beautiful infrastructure, such as airports and bridges.

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