My answer to How can I prepare myself for a degree in product design?
Answer by Scott Tarcy:
So Ill give a quick story of my background. I went to school for Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech. I started out as a product engineer for Tetra (www.tetra–Aquarium Supplies, Fish Tanks, & Live Tropical Fish). At this job I learned quite a bit about designing products. I later worked for Bosch Home Appliances (Kitchen Appliances | Home Appliances | High-end Appliances from Bosch) designing all the control panels on dishwashers. Now I own my own product design company (www.caddesignhelp.com) where I have designed products of many types and materials.
My advice would be to learn as much as you can about how things are actually made. This is the most important thing. Perfect example, just recently I had a project that involved parts being made from sheet metal. Most of the products I had previously designed were plastic products. So I used the resources at my disposal to learn as much as I could about sheet metal design so that I could best design this product. I watched Youtube videos, asked other engineers that I work with, and did my own research.
My point is, having a thorough understand of how something gets made is the most important thing to know when it comes to product design.