Industrial Design / About

The Industrial Design program at the University of Washington, one of several undergraduate programs in the School of Art, has evolved over the past forty years. It is a professional program aimed primarily at industrial design practice in the corporate and institutional innovation sector where new technologies lead to the development of new forms of products, processes, and service from a human-centered design perspective.

The ID course of undergraduate study is an intensive program emphasizing the development of form that is derived from patterns of use, requirements for function, constraints imposed by industrial manufacturing and aesthetics driven by social context. Key aspects in this view on design are understanding the interactions between people and technology. Students are trained to identify design challenges and to envision promising strategies for design responses, communication, documentation, and organizational skills to conduct the design process from project brief to design implementation.

The curriculum includes all phases of design field study including ideation, scenario-building, concept selection, refinement, detailing to model-making, prototyping, testing, refining, and production. During all phases of the design process industrial designers plan for and participate in presentations and collaborative problem-solving.

“My ID education was all about problem solving and I have noticed that in practical applications as well as metaphysical ones, I continue to return to the things learned in the ID program to help me solve problems in the various fields I've pursued since graduation.”


“While my job is currently primarily product design, I find that the design way of thinking has been extremely useful in every facet of my work from constructing emails, to creating spreadsheets, to speaking to vendors or clients. Design is about solving problems in new, creative, and rational ways, which is a welcomed skill in any discipline.”