The relationship between product design and industrial design is the fact that the two concepts refer to similar items. These two only differ in the fact that product design is an offshoot or a component of industrial design with a narrower scope. Product design is more focused on the design of consumables and other types of consumer products, while industrial design is related to the overall design of various items, ranging from consumer goods to industrial plants and machinery.
When studying the relationship between product design and industrial design, it is necessary to understand the process involved in the two types of design. This is due to the fact that the similarity of the process involved in product design and industrial design establishes the fact that the concepts are not that far removed from each other. Sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably due to the view that product design is a more modern form of industrial design. The kinds of items that may be designed under both product design and industrial design are many, only limited by the creativity or the range of the talent of the designers working on that particular product.
Usually, specific companies in any industry may contract the services of either product of industrial designers to design a product to achieve a described propose. For instance, if the client has a kitchen appliance manufacturing company, he or she could ask the designers to design a more ergonomic type of cake mixer. Using the expectations and specifications of the client as a foundation, the designers could design a cake mixer for the company. On the other hand, the designers might use their own initiative to create something that will be used in any industry of their choosing. For example, the designers might design a type of mixer that will have a different attribute to make it stand out from the other mixers on the market.
Another link between product design and industrial design is the fact that an individual client may contract the services of the industrial or product designers to fully design his or her own concept. The designers will merely serve as a conduit for the materialization of the idea that the individual already has. This individual may take out a patent on the design and may decide to sell the rights to the design to another company after the design has been successfully established.