Car Designer career, how is it?

Designer career steps
Designer career steps | Source
Luciano Bove Senior Design Manager R&D Renault Design studio
Luciano Bove Senior Design Manager R&D Renault Design studio

This Hub is written with the intent to clear a little what could be a job career for a car designer of major car design studios.

This is one of my favourite subject to talk about when visiting design schools because I see students extremely interested and also, sometime, surprised because in school they think to become a car designer and not necessarly what could happen with the time working in a studio design organization.

On the other hand design schools, except for the most important ones, have design education programs focused mainly on how to learn to draw illustrate and present a project in order to make a convincing quality portfolio to get an internship and a designer job when out of school.

What is a career for a car designer? What steps to make?

I'll try to make it simple, but important for me is that the reader understands that during his/her time in school there is a lot more than just an excellent portfolio.


This is the first role and also the most important at the beginning of our career, it is the time to prove our creativity and skills to deserve cool projects and show our ability from sketching to presentation of our works. The objectif is to work well and listen to our boss or lead group in order to follow correctly the received project breaf.

Expert or Senior Designer

This role, other than the Designer role, has also some responsabilities within the design project team and participates to technical meetings as well as meetings with suppliers in order to guide and follow up design development

Design project manager (also Senior according to years of experience)

He/she has the responsability of a project "X" between Design and Engineering company plateforme or particular project. the main responsabilities are: assure respect for Design/Costs/Quality/Planning. This role (which I have done for almost 12 years) is a strategic one for Design Department, it has 2 bosses: Design director & Plateforme director. This is a role for which we use creativity for problem solving within the main project team (including engineers, product planning, marketing, cost analysis, suppliers) always trying to protect validated project Design. The plateforme meetings is the theater in which to perfom, and Design studio and design team is the place to help make modifications needed to respect engagements taken before with the main project team. Being a designer the Design project manager can guide both teams correctly to defend Design and also to respect Design/Costs/Quality/Planning.

Design Studio Chief (or director studio manager)

This is a role that has creative responsability for the designers team and the produced projects, he/she has the hierarchy responsability for all studio personnel growth (careers, promotions...). The Studio Chief is the real coach, the mentor, the studio guide, he/she has a design stategy and is fully responsible for the studio production to top management. Several type of studios like: Concept cars, R&D design, Exterior design, Interior design, Color & Trim Design, Graphic & IHM Design (instrument pannels...), also international design studios abroad. He/she reports to VP Design director for Interior or exterior.

VP design Interior or Exterior design

This role is about Design strategy for exterior or interior design and basically is responsible for all studio design chief produces plus a lot of company strategy and politics for project development in larger scale, responsible also for brand image policy and media comunication.

VP Design of any automotive company or design istitution.

This is the top of our pyramid the most prestigious role responsible for everything is designed and produced or presented,responsible also for brand image policy and media comunication. The most important qulity for a VP Design is to have the right design vision for the right epoque, able to anticipate correctly a lifestyle or needs to come offering the right answer with projects to come at the right time. In most of cases the VP Design seats at the President board, his/her boss is the company President or N°2 of that company, it is a strategic role that can be interrupted anytime if results are not it is a role that is well payed but with a very high risk.

OK this is what I wanted to write today, just few infos about car designer career. Now ask yourself: do I like more to be a designer or to move into management?

Thanks for reading!

Fabio Filippini  - VP Design Pininfarina
Fabio Filippini - VP Design Pininfarina | Source

© 2012 Luciano Bove

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Comments 5 comments

Uji Terkuma 4 years ago

Thank you for this, Luciano Bove.

Ashleigh Vambe(Zimbabwe) 4 years ago

Thank you for sharing such valuable information.Most aspiring designer anticipate that its only the talent that counts and basing on your facts a manegerial post is the best to pursue as far as job security and promotion is concerned.

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luciano63 4 years ago from Paris Author

Dear Ashleigh I do not know if it the best to be in management , but it is also about talent!

Kahn aftab 4 years ago

Thanks for guidance

luciano63 profile image

luciano63 4 years ago from Paris Author

My pleasure

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