Bachelor of Fine Arts Industrial Design

The BFA in Industrial Design (ID) will appeal to hands-on, tangible learners who will complete the program with a significant portfolio that reflects their potential. Studio format courses cover specific materials, processes, and fabrication techniques. A substantial number of technical courses in science and math plus computer-aided design/manufacturing/engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) develops skills to draw, create, and interact with objects. Traditional art and design-allied fields are represented with courses in drawing, graphic design, and experience design. A unique aspect of this program is its emphasis on designing embedded objects requiring the student to also study computer hardware and software. Unlike traditional programs in industrial design, CDM’s ID program includes marketing, management and sustainability classes.

Industrial designers work as either entrepreneurs or on established teams in larger companies. Students create under the constraints of what is possible and practical using established manufacturing techniques. Our curriculum addresses designing, making and scaling through an iterative process from prototyping to large-scale manufacturing.

Degree Requirements

Idea Realization Lab

The Idea Realization Lab (IRL) is a 4,500 square foot makerspace that includes a variety of state-of-the-art fabrication facilities like 3D printers, thermal formers and molding, and more. The IRL supports several types of rapid prototyping technologies including Inventables X-Carve, laser cutters, and precision multi-axis CNC milling machines. Students have access to leading-edge engineering software tools to bring innovative ideas to life.


Student Spotlight

BFA Industrial Design student Gabriel Rickabaugh is an industrial designer and game designer from the suburbs of Chicago. He has been a student employee at our fabrication lab for over 2 years, working with several tools and media and specializing in the laser cutter. Gabriel has worked on multiple design projects, including the design of the badges for Chicago's hacker conference, THOTCON.

"DePaul has provided me with the resources and knowledge to form any creation from idea to fully fledged object. I have learned how to effectively design at any scale, from a personal passion project to a full market release."

Named a
Best Maker

For the second year, DePaul has been named a Best Maker Schools by Make magazine, thanks to makerspaces on each of our campuses and innovative maker-focused programs and opportunities.

Faculty Research & Creative Activity

metal pedal platform

Nate Matteson led the design team that created the 0xEAE Boost, designed to be a robust, modular, and extensible pedal platform both inside and out. Inside the Boost is an artistic misappropriation of an early 1970s phono preamplifier built around a discrete operational amplifier topology—along with protection from over-voltage, reverse polarity, and electrostatic discharge. Outside is an enclosure designed around maximum separation between precision controls and stomp switches, and a low center of gravity for maximum stability—while also paying homage to the innovative design histories of the Tone Benders and Fuzz Faces.

nurses and doctors with PPE  

Illinois PPE

DePaul students, faculty, and staff are leading the way on a $125,000 funded project to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to the people of Illinois and our neighbors. Students participating in the effort are prototyping, developing, and fabricating thousands of pieces of PPE to help solve a real world problem. In addition to fabricating face shields, the group has designed and developed bus barriers for the Menominee Indian School District, goggles for doctors and clinicians, and face masks.

computer drawing  

Industrial Design Consulting Group

Students in the Industrial Design program’s consulting group have netted over $250,000 in funding to work with firms in the industry. Products that students get paid to design and build range from IOT sensors to furniture, and utilize the skillsets learned in the classroom and studio.

two students with a lot of parts on table  


Students and faculty in the Idea Realization Lab (IRL) designed and coded 1,700 custom badges for Thotcon, the Midwest’s largest hacking conference. The interactive badges contain an alternative (screenless) interface with a circuit board that plays a video game. At the conference, Faculty Jay Margalus and Rudy Ristich led a workshop about the design and development of the badge, and the code to hack it.

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