Industrial Design at RISD focuses on a rigorous process with a concern for people-centered solutions that synthesize technology, ergonomics, and manufacturing questions into formal solutions.

Our alumni apply lessons first learned at RISD to create new business models, new systems and new products. They apply design to streamline the ways technologies are brought to market, and to improve the way platforms deliver experiences. The design education at RISD prepares them to design new products and whole new design disciplines. Industrial Design at RISD embraces the diversity of our alumni’s experience. Across our graduate and undergraduate programs we teach our students the skills, habits of mind and approaches they need to orient their careers and to navigate the different moments of leadership they will encounter over their lifetime.

Product Leadership – the creation of new artifacts and new offerings. (see: product design, ui/ux design, service design)

Process Leadership – the ways that designers coach others through better decision-making and design processes. (see: design thinking, organization design, participatory and co-design)

Vision Leadership – the kinds of work that chief executive officers, entrepreneurs, and strategists engage in. (see: design thinking, strategic design)


We believe that to navigate these moments of leadership, our graduates need to know how to to design objects and artifacts; they need to be explicit about the value those products deliver in larger services and experiences; they need to understand how those services are supported by designed systems and platforms; and they need to see how those systems are organized to achieve strategic outcomes for organizations and initiatives.