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Product Design: Sector Overview

a guide to careers in product design and design engineering

Product Design

Sector Overview

What jobs are available and how to get them


New developments

Increasingly, designers are getting involved in a strategic or advisory capacity with clients. They are looking more at the big picture. Rather than having a tight brief to work from, they are often helping to write the brief. Understanding how people live their lives, what's relevant to them and what technology is appropriate before getting down to the technical design work.

Sector Overview

  • The design of products is intrinsically linked to the economic health of manufacturing sectors, or at least the companies within them
  • Innovation is key to stimulating the development of new products
  • The economy is a key driver to the sector. The recession has led to decreased spending/sales which puts more pressure on companies that manufacture products
  • Technology is also important. Design is pivotal for exploiting technology. The design of new cars was key to the revival of Jaguar LandRover over the last few years
  • In the UK, design success has been more linked to growing global brands more than exploiting technology. 70% of UK designers work in a brand function, according to Martyn Perks of Thinking Apart
  • The UK has underestimated the link between innovation and manufacture. Emphasising that link speeds up the innovation process - Simon Colbeck, Head of Innovation & Quality for General Merchandise, Marks and Spencer (Product Design & Innovation Conference 2012)
  • Sustainability is growing in importance. Recycling, repairability and longer product lifetimes will be at the heart of product design

More on how future trends will affect the design of products from the Design Council

The Engineering Industry

An introduction to Engineering and Manufacturing and the graduate jobs within it. Get a feel for the people, the working environments, the good bits, bad bits and everything in between. With thanks to CareerPlayer, Graduate Jobs and Career Advice on video.

What is Good Design?

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Use our Alumni Careers Network to find Sussex graduates working in areas you are interested in. Find out more about what working in that sector is really like, get direct advice and find out if it's right for you!

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