What to Study to Become a Car Designer
today I write some tips about Transportation Design courses. Every time I receive an email from you asking about Transportation Design courses I often am asked about Math and Mechanical Engineering, this type of questions come mostly from students in India or Middle east countries.
I am writing about car design courses to make it clear that in Transportation Design schools it is not a mandatory requirement to have knowledge about Mechanical Engineering or Math and the reason is simple: we study to become car designers not engineers!
I have tendency to believe that this type of thinking is related also to local culture, example: in Italy some 20 years ago (when I started to work) people thought that to be a car designer or an industrial designer you had to get an Architecture bachelor. So in India I believe the culture is still pushing in the Science environment to pass first by Engineering Universities before going to transportation Design courses.
In a precedent hub I explained why this is (for me) a mistake going against a normal car designer student career development. The disciplines are totally different, the time and age to get a job, the confusion about extremely technical knowledge that is not a priority when we start in car design.
What do we study in a car design school?
In general programs are very similar from school to school, but there are some activities that are a must for any kind of good design school program and they are:
- 4 fundamental steps: learn the basics of drawing, learn how to draw cars, learn how to make a project, Virtual reality including 3D modeling.
- learn about methodology and discipline ( what, how, timing )
- cultural knowledge like: theory of structures, modeling, automobile history, benchmarking, portfolio, presentations...
I can understand someone coming from Engineering thinks that in Car Design schools there is a lack of technical lessons, at the same time the car designer job has its most important key points in: creativity, skills in 2D and 3D, project management and design strategy.
Imagine that even today, after 22 years of career, I find engineers that still do not understand why we have different priorities compared to them. They reason about weight,cost efficiency and timing, we reason about design quality, timing and cost efficiency. This just to say that we understand technical aspects and hard points (it is on the field that we learn about technical issues) but we use them to overcome problems with a tasty design.
For this reason it is not mandatory to study Mechanical Engineering and Math to become car designers. We learn how to use our talent at our best thanks to all creative tools available, developing projects understanding the hard points and finding alternative solutions to propose to our colleagues another way possible. Our objective is to make the project without renouncing to good design quality.
However I conclude saying that all this is possible only if car designers have strong respect for other colleagues problematic on projects, in other words we work in teams and each one has to give the best to help the team. To go to frontal crash does not take us anywhere and we do not learn from the experience becoming ignorant artists!
© 2011 Luciano Bove