The industrial design profession is represented by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). The IDSA defines the profession as: Industrial design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer.

Industrial designers are typically employed by corporations that develop products or by product design consultancies that service inventors, entrepreneurs, and manufacturers. Each experience provides unique learning opportunities. These manufacturers may include: furniture, appliances, housewares, electronic and medical equipment, tools, toys and packaging.