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The dynamic world of product design can be an exciting field for creatives who want to design products that are functional, user-friendly, and aesthetically pleasing. This multidisciplinary field requires product designers to have a broad range of skills and knowledge in various domains to create products that solve problems, meet customer needs, and enhance their target audience’s quality of life. But what skills do product designers need?

In this blog, we will try to find out just that by discussing five essential product designer skills that everyone should learn to succeed in this competitive and evolving industry.

M. Des in Integrated Product Design

One of the ways to acquire these product designer skills is to pursue a Master of Design (M.Des) in Integrated Product Design. This is a two-year, full-time, postgraduate program that integrates core subjects in product design with courses in business, entrepreneurship, and technology. The program aims to equip product designers with a holistic approach to handling complex real-life challenges to create innovative and marketable products.


To get an overview of this program that trains students in all the skills required for product designer careers, check out the table below.

Course Name Master of Design in Integrated Product Design
Level Postgraduate
Duration 2 years
Mode of Examination Semester System
Eligibility Criteria 50% or more in graduation
Admission Process Merit + Entrance Test + Portfolio Review + PI

Curriculum and Pedagogy

According to the curriculum of the M.Des in Integrated Product Design program offered by Anant National University, some of the courses covered in this program are:

  • Design Basics
  • Engineering Fundamentals
  • Product Design and Development
  • Research Thinking
  • Business Strategy and Design
  • Industrial Design
  • Entrepreneurship and Start-ups
  • Design for Interaction
  • Building Research
  • Art, Design and Culture
  • Product Innovation
  • Business Plan
  • Design of Smart Objects
  • Designing Future
  • Capstone Project

The program also provides students with opportunities to engage in collaborative projects with industry partners, government agencies, and multinational corporations. These projects allow students to apply their theoretical knowledge and product designer skills to real-world scenarios, gain valuable insights into the industry, and build their professional network.

Also Read: The Importance of Considering Ergonomics in Product Design


Some of the benefits of pursuing an M.Des in Integrated Product Design are:

  • It helps product designers develop a strong foundation in the discipline and acquire advanced skills in various aspects of product design.
  • It exposes a product designerto interdisciplinary subjects such as electronics, robotics, mechatronics, and computer science, fostering a broader understanding of design principles and their practical applications.
  • It enables product designers to incorporate emerging technologies and visual mediums such as AR/VR into their design process, expanding their creative possibilities.
  • It prepares product designers to create products that are not only functional but also performance-oriented, usable, aesthetic, and valuable.
  • It trains product designers to consider the environmental and social impacts of their products and design for sustainability.
  • It equips students with the knowledge, and soft and hard skills product designer, to manage design projects, communicate effectively with stakeholders, and innovate strategically.

Also Read: The Different Softwares that Product Designers use to Create Prototypes

5 Essential Skills for Product Designers

Apart from pursuing an M.Des in Integrated Product Design, a career in product design also requires students to learn other essential skills for product designer to excel in their careers. Some of these skills are:

1. Creativity

Creativity is one of the most important product designer skills as it enables them to come up with innovative solutions that can differentiate their products from the competition. Product designers rely on their creativity to explore new possibilities and challenge existing assumptions.

To enhance their creativity, product designers can:

  • Seek inspiration from various sources such as nature, art, culture, history, etc.
  • Use brainstorming techniques such as mind mapping, sketching, SCAMPER, etc. to generate diverse ideas.
  • Experiment with different materials, tools, methods, and prototypes to test and refine their ideas.
  • Seek feedback from users, peers, mentors, experts, etc. to improve their ideas.

2. Empathy

Empathy is one of the most crucial soft skills for product designers as it helps them to design products that are user-centric and empathetic. It also helps product designers build rapport with users, elicit their pain points, motivations, preferences, etc., and create products that can enhance their experience.

To develop their empathy, product designers can:

  • Conduct user research using methods like interviews, observations, surveys, personas, etc. to gather insights about users’ behaviours, needs, goals, etc.
  • Use empathy maps or user journey maps to visualise users’ emotions, thoughts, actions, etc. throughout their interaction with a product or service.
  • Use tools like storyboards or scenarios to illustrate how users would use a product or service in a specific context or situation.
  • Involve users in the design process through co-design or participatory design to collaborate and incorporate their feedback.

3. Communication

Communication is an essential part of the product designer skill set as it helps them communicate their design concepts, rationale, and decisions to stakeholders such as users, clients, team members, managers, etc. It also helps product designers collaborate, negotiate with clients, and present their work.

To improve their communication, product designers can:

  • Use visual communication tools such as sketches, diagrams, wireframes, mockups, etc. to illustrate their design ideas and solutions.
  • Work on their verbal communication skills to communicate clearly.
  • Use presentation skills to deliver engaging and persuasive presentations.

4. Critical Thinking

The critical thinking skills of product designers are vital as they help them to identify and solve problems, make informed decisions, and justify their design choices while also helping them avoid biases, errors, and fallacies in their reasoning.

To sharpen their critical thinking, product designers can use:

  • Problem-solving techniques like root cause analysis, SWOT analysis, 5 Whys, etc. to define and analyse problems and generate solutions.
  • Decision-making techniques like pros and cons analysis, cost-benefit analysis, decision matrix, etc. to compare and select the best solutions.
  • Evaluation techniques like criteria-based evaluation, usability testing, feedback analysis, etc. to assess the effectiveness and feasibility of their solutions.
  • Argumentation techniques such as claim-evidence-reasoning (CER) to construct and support their arguments.

5. Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learning is key among product designer skills as it helps them to keep up with the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the field of product design. A zest for lifelong learning also helps product designers to enhance their personal and professional growth and development.


Product design is a rewarding career that requires people to have a diverse set of product designer skills and knowledge. By pursuing an M.Des in Integrated Product Design and learning other essential skills such as creativity, empathy, communication, critical thinking, and lifelong learning, product designers can enhance their product designer skills in creating functional products that are user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What are the 4 key elements of product design?
    The 4 key elements of Product design are Utilitarian function, cultural style, social purpose, and emotional attitude.
  2. What are the soft skills of a product designer?
    Some of the soft skills that a product designer needs to have are empathy, creativity, communication, critical thinking and lifelong learning.
  3. What are the 4 good common features of product design?
    Four of the common features of good product design are functionality, usability, aesthetics, and user experience.
  4. What is the salary of a product designer in India?
    The average salary of a product designer in India is INR 7.6 LPA in 2023, according to Payscale.