Video of The Product Design Program

Create the future of design

The Richmond Institute for Design + Innovation is the epicenter of interdisciplinary design education at Western Michigan University. Home both to interior design and product design, curricular and co-curricular experiences prepare the next generation of design innovators for fulfilling careers.  

Shape how humans interact with environments, and collaborate with international corporations in the industry to develop creative solutions for real-world problems. Our mentorship programs, internship field experiences, and student organization work together to help open a wide network of collaborators not only for your time here but also for the long careers ahead of you once you graduate.  Travel abroad to see not only the roots of design thinking but also the global impact of design. Whether a professor excites you about learning while partnering on an industry-sponsored project or you are invited to work on a long-term design project, RIDI is focused on helping you create the future of design. 

  • 4 years of hands-on, professionally-focused design education

  • Access to more than 2000 creatives via Southwest Michigan First MIX

  • $80k+ in scholarships awarded annually

  • Over 40k square feet of dedicated workspace

Grace sewing clothes in the design studio.

I think WMU definitely has prepared me and given me the structure and discipline to be able to face such a demanding industry

Grace Stibich

Design programs

Interior Design

Interior design is a multifaceted field involving creative and technical solutions used to improve the appearance and function of a structure. Students develop environments that support life, living and work in a positive way that not only contributes to a desired look, but also enhances performance and productivity.

Product design

Product design turns ideas into reality. Designers use the design process to create products, devices, objects, and services that meet needs and solve problems. Our students focus their work in a variety of fields including product development, manufacturing, color and materials, software, and systems.

  • Students at an aviation design charrette, watching a presentation on a tv showing the interior of a gutted airplane.

    Internships

    Field experience and internships are a central part of our curriculum. You will be matched with identified companies to make sure the internship is a good fit and the work is appropriate to the curriculum. Our community partnerships extend around the country to provide varied product design internship experiences. You will have the opportunity to branch out or focus your studies based on where you want your career to take you.

  • Bobby talking to someone who is holding Wahl clippers.

    Wahl

    This summer I worked as an intern at Wahl on the design team. I applied with a handful of students from some other top universities and they liked my work enough that I was the only one called in for an interview.

    Bobby Snell

  • Hooker DeJong, Inc.

    I have been a interior design intern with HDJ architects engineers and planners in downtown Muskegon for just over a month. It has been an amazing experience so far. I have had the chance to work directly with the Lead Designer on many projects. I have worked mostly on affordable housing projects, as well as senior living facilities. The projects are nationwide. From Virginia to Chicago to right here in Michigan - one even in Kalamazoo.

    Carlee Castle

  • Madison working at a computer at her Hasbro internship.

    Hasbro

    I work on creating new and fun board game ideas that could possibly be actually concepts one day. I also help with board games they are creating but just need extra help on. We sometimes come up with brand new board game ideas or different ways to play the classic games. It's pretty great!

    Madison Dempster

Where you will learn

 
The Demmer DREAM Lab. RIDI's main prototyping facility features CNC, Vacuformer, FormLabs 3D printers, laser cutting capabilities, and more. This spacious lab supervised by a dedicated technician also includes a professionally equipped woodshop with over 20 pieces of equipment, including SawStop, lathes, downdraft sanding tables, band saws, and a large walk-in ventilated spray room. There is also a Light Prototyping Lab with ample hand tools, hot wires and other appropriate tools. 
 
Colors, Materials, and Finishes Resources. RIDI features two spaces with more than 1000 physical samples of materials that might be used in interior architecture and design and product design. 
 
The Vicki Matranga Housewares Collection. A one-of-a-kind collection of housewares curated as a teaching resource for contemporary design students as they learn about innovators from the past while applying their skills to design solutions for the human needs and challenges of our times. 
 
A fully equipped metals shop with a fabrication area, bronze pouring facilities, burnout kiln, wax room, shell and sand molding room is available through a partnership with the Gwen Frostic School of Art
 
In excess of 20,000 square feet of dedicated studio spaces for interior architecture, product design and interior design. Each cohort has space to explore and apply design processes to their intended career field. 
 
Provided technologies and software include KeyShot, Solidworks, Fusion 360, Revit, Sketchup Pro and LayOut, Unreal Engine, Rhino, and many more. 
 

Careers in design

Interior design careers

A career in interior design is filled with creative challenges and constant learning opportunities. It involves a commitment to developing environments that support life, living and work in a positive way that not only contributes to the desired image, but also enhances performance and productivity.

Opportunities include:

  • Residential designers
  • Commercial designers
  • Employment with architectural and design firms
  • Interior/facilities management
  • Retailing home furnishings
  • Marketing
  • Showroom management

Product design careers

According to the Industrial Designers Society of America, industrial design strives to elevate both the function and aesthetics of all things made, from automobiles and medical instruments to household appliances and office furniture. 

Opportunities include:

  • Product designer
  • CAD technician
  • Color, material, finish designer
  • Exhibition designer
  • Furniture designer
  • Spatial designer

Meet our students