The term industrial design is a very broad one that encompasses a wide range of subgroups, which give the term a meaning that may be derived from the particular subgroup under consideration. For instance, the term encompasses areas like product design, automobile design and plant design, among other areas. In a general sense, industrial design is a mixture of the application of scientific knowledge and creative skills with the aim of arriving at unique design concepts. As such, the characteristics of modern industrial design are determined by the particular subgroup of industrial design as well as other factors, such as geographical area and the taste of people at that particular point in time. Another factor that influences the characteristics of modern industrial design is the level of technological department and its applicability to the design of products.
In the application of subgroup considerations to the determination of the characteristics of modern industrial design, the particular subgroup plays an important role in the type of design that may be applied to it. For example, in the area of medical product design, the characteristics of modern medical instruments are largely the result of general advances in medical technology, creating a platform for the transference of such advances to the development of modern medical products. An example of modern industrial design in medical products can be seen in the development of suturing materials that can be left in the body to dissolve after a predetermined length of time, removing the need for the extraction. Such a material was not available in the past, as objects like threads were the suturing materials of choice.
When determining the application of industrial design in the area of architecture, the location and the needs at the time are included. For example, the integration of concerns like energy-saving considerations in modern homes, such as solar panels and heat-retaining or coolness-retaining factors are also factors that shape modern architecture. The drive for green homes is a relatively modern concept that is an offshoot of the increased awareness regarding the effects of harmful behaviors on the environment in terms of ozone depletion and greenhouse gas effects. Modern industrial design characteristics are also evident in the area of plant design as a result of strides in the development of modern equipment and applications utilized in industrial settings.