Located just a short distance from the residential furniture capital of the world, Appalachian State University’s Industrial Design (BS) - Furniture Design program has a proud history of serving the furniture industry for more than 70 years. The program is housed in Appalachian’s Department of Applied Design and focuses on design inquiry, creative problem-solving, user research, social and environmental concerns, and manufacturing requirements.
Through industry collaboration, personal exploration and the required Marketing minor, you will develop the necessary skills to compete in today’s furniture market. The curriculum offers a design-based education that emphasizes experiential skills, research, aesthetics, presentation, computer-aided design, critical thinking and professional development. In addition to the studio classes, you will also take foundation courses in product design, computer-assisted drafting (CAD), solid modeling, design drawing, and materials and processes (including wood, metals, plastics, rubbers, fibers and ceramics).
Employment: Students have gone on to a variety of jobs throughout the United States and internationally. See a list of employers in the right column.
Graduate School: Students have also gone on to pursue graduate degrees from Southern Methodist University, Appalachian State University, N.C. State University and Georgia Institute of Technology.
Students complete introductory skill building courses at the start of their studies. These include computer-aided design, model making, history, drawing and creative thinking classes. Students progress to studio-based courses – building on the skills they have developed while incorporating new skills and thought processes. All courses are hands on.
Engagement Outside the Classroom
Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) - As an extension of the professional organization IDSA, the club participates in portfolio reviews, sets up group tours, hosts professional presentations and travels to district and national conferences.
American Society of Furniture Designers (ASFD) - As an extension of the professional furniture design industry, the club takes factory tours and coordinates visits to High Point Furniture Fair to better connect with the furniture industry.
Appalachian is committed to introducing students to different cultures and teaching them how to live and interact in a global society.
Industrial Design has created a strong relationship with the Howest Academy in Belgium with student exchanges and the sharing of class experiences. Also, summer studios are frequently taught in Prague, Czech Republic.
There is not an added requirement for initial admission, but there is a portfolio review after the student completes an introductory class sequence which will allow the student to take upper-level classes.
- This is the only furniture design program in the country that requires a minor in Marketing.
- Alumni have gone on to work at world renowned design firms, corporations and independent business ventures.
- Student work has been recognized and shown at Greener Gadgets, Dwell® on Design, Designboom® Mart in Copenhagen, High Point Furniture Market and ICFF.
- Students have won the national Creative Juice Competition sponsored by Google®, honorable mention in the Robert Bruce Thompson Lighting Competition, and “Best of Show” at the International Woodworking Fair. Numerous student group projects have placed in the Retail and Health Innovation Challenge hosted by Wake Forest University School of Business and sponsored by CVS Health.
Number of Students
Approximately 170 students in the Industrial Design program
Method of Delivery
On campus only
- Touchstone 3D
- Dorel Juvenile
- Chrome Hearts
- Hugh’s Handsbuilt
- Joe Gibbs Racing
- Bernhardt Design
- LIAT (Jasper Library Furniture)
- Skookum Digital Works
- Cree Inc.
- Westfield Outdoors
- Hunter Fan Company
- ECR Software
- Newell Rubbermaid - Irwin Tools
- Milwaukee Electronic Tool Corp.
- Techtronic Industries
- Lowe’s Home Improvement
- TOMY Toys
- Mesa Home Products