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Need for Materials and Manufacturing

“…It would be like a composer writing a symphony totally unaware of the color and full range and capability of some instruments.”

By: Jim Lesko, author of “Industrial Design: Materials and Manufacturing Guide”

The industrial designer, whether on a design team or acting alone, is responsible for the appearance and form of a product. If the form of a product is to some degree the result of how it was manufactured, it follows that the designer must have a good understanding of all manufacturing processes available, in order to have confidence that the proposed manufacturing process is the most economical and appropriate.


If a designer is unaware of certain available processes, it would limit the creative potential. It would be like a composer writing a symphony totally unaware of the color and full range and capability of some instruments.


Industrial design students should have an understanding of materials and manufacturing—ideally in the sophomore year. This is important because as projects are assigned, students need to visualize and develop forms that ultimately will be manufactured (even if theoretically). Without a comprehensive knowledge base of materials and manufacturing possibilities, students can only fantasize and flounder along, limited by ignorance of the subject, oblivious to the variety of possibilities available. With a good knowledge base the student can propose an array of possible design solutions and have some confidence that they can be manufactured.


Jim Lesko, author of “Industrial Design: Materials and Manufacturing Guide”


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