According to the ICSID, (International Council of Societies of Industrial Design) "Design is a creative activity whose aim is to establish the multi-faceted qualities of objects, processes, services and their systems in whole life-cycles. Therefore, design is the central factor of innovative humanization of technologies and the crucial factor of cultural and economic exchange" .
According to the IDSA (Industrial Design Society of America) "Industrial Design (ID) is the professional service of creating and developing concepts and specifications that optimize the function, value and appearance of products and systems for the mutual benefit of both user and manufacturer."
Although the process of design may be considered 'creative', many analytical processes also take place. In fact, many industrial designers often use various design methodologies in their creative process. Some of the processes that are commonly used are user research, sketching, comparative product research, model making, prototyping and testing. These processes can be chronological, or as best defined by the designers and/or other team members. Industrial Designers often utilize 3D Software such as '3D CAiD, Alias Studio Tools, 3D Studio Max, Pro/Engineer, SensAble FreeForm(R) Modeling Plus(tm) System, Rhinoceros, solidThinking, SolidWorks' Computer-aided industrial design and CAD programs to move from concept to production. Product characteristics specified by the industrial designer may include the overall shape of the object, the location of details with respect to one another, colors, texture, sounds, and aspects concerning the use of the product ergonomics. Additionally the industrial designer may specify aspects concerning the production process, choice of materials and the way the product is presented to the consumer at the point of sale. The use of industrial designers in a product development process may lead to added values by improved usability, lowered production costs and more appealing products. It is important that in order to be an industrial design the product has to be produced in an industrial way, for example an artisan can't be considered an industrial designer although they may challenge the same aspects of a product. However, some classic industrial designs are considered as much works of art as works of engineering: the iPod, Coke bottle, and VW Beetle are frequently-cited examples.
Industrial design has a focus on technical concepts, products and processes. In addition to considering aesthetics, usability, and ergonomics, it can also encompass the engineering of objects, usefulness as well as usability, market placement, and other concerns such as seduction, psychology, desire, and the sexual or affectionate attachment of the user to the object. These values and accompanying aspects on which industrial design is based can vary, both between different schools of thought and among practicing designers.
Product design and industrial design can overlap into the fields of user interface design, information design and interaction design. Various schools of industrial design and/or product design may specialize in one of these aspects, ranging from pure art colleges (product styling) to mixed programs of engineering and design, to related disciplines like exhibit design and interior design.
Also used to describe a technically competent product designer or industrial designer is the term Industrial Design Engineer. The Cyclone vacuum cleaner inventor James Dyson for example could be considered to be in this category (see his autobiography Against The Odds, Pub Thomson 2002).
 Industrial design rights
Main article: Industrial design rights
Industrial design rights are intellectual property rights that make exclusive the visual design of objects that are not purely utilitarian. An industrial design consists of the creation of a shape, configuration or composition of pattern or color, or combination of pattern and color in three dimensional form containing aesthetic value. An industrial design can be a two- or three-dimensional pattern used to produce a product, industrial commodity or handicraft. Under the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs, a WIPO-administered treaty, a procedure for an international registration exists. An applicant can file for a single international deposit with WIPO or with the national office in a country party to the treaty. The design will then be protected in as many member countries of the treaty as desired.