'Design' Vs 'Industrial Design'
I studied 'Product Design for Manufacture' instead of the visually-focused, traditional 'Industrial Design' which has its origins in just sticking a fancy case over what the engineers have already created. My course, as its name suggests, was created to bridge the gap between the Industrial Designers and the Manufacturing Engineers who actually have to work out how to make the product at an economic cost.
When I started the course, the most famous Industrial Designer was probably Phillipe Starck or James Dyson, and most of us students didn't have a mobile phone or a computer. Starck's tripod lemon squeezer was a design icon, though our lecturers assured us it didn't actually work very well. Over the next few years, we saw a blue translucent Mac with no floppy drive, Windows 2000 would delete my ZIP disks, some iPod thing cost £600, cameras took floppy disks, Palm licensed their OS to Handspring and Sony, Macbook Titanium and G4 Cube were released, and there was lots of talk of 'digital convergence' (this crazy idea that your phone, music player, PDA and camera would become the same device).
To my mind, 'Design' is a process, and Industrial Design or Graphic Design is merely that process applied to a more narrowly defined area. It is telling that Braun's Dieter Rams describes himself as a 'Form Engineer', and not a designer, because of the way that the word 'design' has been misused. Rams was concerned with how an object worked, how it was used, and how it was made, in addition to how it looked.
This division was also built into the CAD tools that were available... there was free-form sculptural CAD like 3D Studio Max, and then there were the Parametric CAD packages like ProE or Solidworks (actually, at the end f the nineties Parametric CAD was only beginning to come down from the mainframes to workstations) that engineers used which allowed dimensions to be defined relative to each other. Both approaches have their advantages in certain cases, and the new 'Big Thing' in CAD in the last few years has been the emergence of packages that allow both approaches to be used in the same environment.