By nature humans are curious. They like to discover and make things to improve themselves, their environment and the objects of their creation in an eternal quest for perfection. This intrinsic nature is probably at the origin of many young adults’ motivation in making career choices. This creative activity that is present at all levels of human intervention is called design. The industrial design and product design terms are used to define a profession that emerged with the industrial revolution and the birth of mass production.
Although arts and crafts have a long tradition dating back to the stone-age, industrial design only developed as a separate profession since the first part of the twentieth century. By the early 1950s, it had become an intrinsic part of the design process and culture in the Western world as organizations and businesses increasingly used industrial design to promote new products.
Mass produced products require improved functionality, usability, and aesthetics. In Europe, Arts and Craft, Art Nouveau and Bauhaus were the first aesthetic movements that promoted industrial design. North American universities implemented successful industrial design programs in the first half of the XXth century. Well-known and revolutionary products are in part the result of a successful industrial design process. Since then, most industrialized countries actively promote local design interventions and education in industrial design. While global consumerism and long term development concerns have to define new and sustainable policies, industrial designers will find themselves on the frontline, again reinventing our man-made environment.