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Industrial Design versus Graphic Design: A Common Misconception

Many students at Auburn confuse the two majors Industrial Design and Graphic Design. While both majors have many similarities, there are a few differences that make the two majors distinct from each other. Students in the Industrial Design program at Auburn say that their outstanding program is often overlooked. Industrial Design students praise the program for its prestige and how greatly the program will prepare them to become some of the most talented college graduate designers.

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Elise Pace, a senior in Industrial Design from Fairhope, Ala., explained why many people confuse her major with Graphic Design.


“People think that both majors use computers to digitally construct graphics,” said Pace. “Not only do I use computers, but I actually get to build the products I design.”


One distinct difference between the two majors is the use of computers. Graphic Design majors spend a lot of time sitting behind a computer. These majors study typography, the art or process of printing with type. These students memorize fonts and use their own discretion to decide what is visually appealing.


However, Industrial Design majors not only construct their products on the computer, but they also sketch and draw out their own designs. After creating the product on paper and the computer, students get to actually make the product to have right in front of them. What was once a student’s idea is now a product to prepare to put on the market.


“An Industrial Design degree is very time consuming,” said Dustin Woodley from Big Cove, Ala., another senior in the program. “It’s not better than a Graphic Design degree but just takes a lot of time and patience. Auburn’s Industrial Design program is ranked one of the best.”


“Industrial Design is really hands on,” said Pace. “I felt that I was being called to make products for the public.”


Pace explained how she wants to apply Industrial Design to a future career. Pace stated she would like to sit down and talk with people about products that are out on the market today and discuss plans for future products. Pace intends to find out what people like about certain products, what they do not like, how products can be improved and how to make greener products.


“I hope to be able to make products more sustainable to better the earth and environment,” said Pace. “I think it is important to have products that are designed to be functional yet environmentally friendly.”


Pace hopes to be recognized as an Industrial Designer rather than a Graphic Designer, and for good reason. There is more to the major than what most people realize.


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