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What to Study to Become a Car Designer

Updated on March 8, 2018
luciano63 profile image

Luciano Bove is a car design manager working at Renault Design. Born in Italy, he graduated from Art Center College of Design in California.

Coventry University, Transportation design Dept.
Coventry University, Transportation design Dept. | Source

Dear friends,

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.


Student  at work on a clay model
Student at work on a clay model | Source

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: design thinking, theory of structures, modeling, automobile history, benchmarking, marketing, portfolio, presentations...

I can understand when someone, coming from Engineering, thinks that in Car Design schools there is a lack of technical courses, 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 thinking strategy.

Still today, after 22 years of career, I find engineers that still do not understand why (on a project) we have different priorities compared to them. They reason about weight,cost efficiency and timing & their Excels charts. We reason about design quality, timing, cost efficiency & our sketches.

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 treat them to overcome problems using our creativity and problem solving design approach.

For this reason it is not mandatory to study Mechanical Engineering and Math to become car designers. Not at all. 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. We search always for another way possible. Our objective is to make the project without renouncing to our good design quality, therefore we look for solutions that are compatible with the project expectations and are respectful of our requested design.

The synthesis

I can write designers are the synthesis for any project, because they have a mental global approach to problem solving. Designers, because of their nature, must see the all picture and not just a part of it Vs engineers, because of their work organization and objectives, they see and are concentrate only on a specific part of the same project.

This ability in making the synthesis gives to designers an important role on a project, a larger vision to complete the work with the team.


Designers at Work

Designers at work
Designers at work | Source

© 2011 Luciano Bove

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    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      6 months ago from Paris

      OK I will check

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      6 months ago from Paris

      In India NID DSK STRATE

    • profile image

      Yash hedaoo 

      6 months ago

      I read many articles of you about how to hold your dream throuh a long hard jeurney to become a car designer till I came to the article of entry initial portfolio of juging primary on a talent. I published my work in my face book profile (Sayed Faramawy) but set a privacy setting just for friends so please add me as a friend on your personal page to be able to review my entry work and judg am I really talented and ready to join a design school or what I have to do.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Yash 

      6 months ago

      Sir which is best school for car designing in India

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      9 months ago from Paris

      Thanks Thomas I also talked about Strate in my latest videos on Youtube ;).

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      9 months ago from Paris

      Hi you have to ask the school, call them and ask to the foreign advisory office. They have all info.

    • profile image

      Ogunsaanu Obafemi 

      9 months ago

      How can I get a scholarship into the Arts Center. I really want to study car design but I don't have the means. I'm very talented in drawing of cars and in clay modeling too without prior training.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      9 months ago from Paris

      Ciao Rita how are you? Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      RitaSue Siegel 

      9 months ago

      I agree 100% with the article "What to Study to Become a Car Designer," by Lucieno Bove.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      9 months ago from Paris

      Hi I am sorry but not possible. Designer is a profession and it requires a Bachelor in Design.

    • profile image

      Ajay Vishnu 

      4 years ago

      Hi sir, I'm from India I have completed my Mechanical Engineering this year.But after the course I realized that I have passion about the aesthetics and design of cars rather than technical. I love cars and also I love drawings so ever since I was young kid, ever since my memory i have been drawing cars. But I don't know the 3D modeling. I wish to learn the basics of computer modeling before applying for a Transportation Design course. Which are the software's for a beginner to learn the modeling of cars? and can I do Transportation design course in SPD. Italy after my engineering degree, because i have no background in design degree? It will be a pleasure to hear anything from you about any recommendation you can give me.

      Thank you

      Ajay vishnu

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      I do not know it!

    • profile image

      saurav 

      4 years ago

      I heard on net that its second best school in Germany are their also living financial aids available in Italy with scholarship s?

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      never heard about before...not known in our field!

    • profile image

      saurav 

      4 years ago

      sir is HBK braunshwig a good school too in germany not talking aabout pforzhiemh here sir.... just want review of HBK from you

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      saurav 

      4 years ago

      thank you sir,i wanted to say also that i am a big fan of yours and of course

      italy, i bilieve world's best designers are italians only.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      Yes they all offer scholarship programs...get to their website to discover or contact them via email..all infos on their websites.

    • profile image

      saurav 

      4 years ago

      are their financial aids provided in the schools in italy, i am more intrested to know about italian schools rather than americans?

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      Saurav I do not know..I remember at my time US governement used to give Grants which are money given for merit and particular financial weak situation...you should contact school over there and ask how it works today.

    • profile image

      saurav 

      4 years ago

      hey luciano i am from india i know about the best indian schools like NID and IDC, or CPDM, how to get a degree from US, when you are financially weak?

    • profile image

      Juan 

      4 years ago

      Grazie mille, Luciano. Sei molto gentile.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      4 years ago from Paris

      SPD and IAAD are the schools I know better and I believe they are going to be good for you...IED it is too long time I do not go visit so it is probably better for you to go visit them to get an idea and compare. OK?

    • profile image

      Juan Vásquez 

      4 years ago

      Hello Luciano, I´m Juan from Colombia, Mechanical Engineer, and Certified BMW Group Trainer. I´m very passionate about cars, since I was a child, I love Italian Design, Italian cars and the language. I have level B2 of Italian and English, and I have a dream, and is to become a transportation Designer. I´m 23 and I have lots of questions. First of all, I have no portfolio, because I´m an engineer. I´m taking courses in 3D modelling, sketching, product modelling, and I´m practicing each day doing car sketches, is being very useful to watch your tutorial videos. I want to apply for a Post graduate study in the field of transportation design. Actually I have seeing that some universities offer a preliminary course for people that have done studies in another fields, like me, in engineering. For example SPD (Scuola Politecnica di Design) offer a course of one year car design tools, what do you think about this possibility for me? Another school that is very interesting for me is the IAAD that have a preliminary course. Actually I have in mind, these universities: SPD, IAAD, and the IED. It will be a pleasure to hear anything from you about any recommendation you can give me.

      Thank you.

      Juan.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      5 years ago from Paris

      Ok I understand you however this does not stop you from drawing cars for your own pleasure :)

      It has been a pleasure!

    • profile image

      Cyrus 

      5 years ago

      Thanks a lot for your answer. Unfortunately I titally agree with you and I think I should forget that dream.

      Have a good one and again thanks for answering people's questions. Nowadays, It's not easy to find a professional consultancy.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      5 years ago from Paris

      Dear Cyrus, it all depends on your skills...if you are good even if you have an ID bachelor you could try to get a job in Transportation Design....however it is going to be harder....to start school to get a Tr D diploma now would be too late..

    • profile image

      Cyrus 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for your nice article. I just have a question regarding getting a job in Automotive industry. I did my bachelor in ID (not transportation design) but I've always been working on my 2D/3D drawing skills in transportations design. Now, I am 28 and I think it's late to start my career in that industry. I just wanted to know if I'm right or wrong?

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      5 years ago from Paris

      Yes it is a good one...thanks for following!

    • profile image

      Siddharth 

      5 years ago

      Hi .. Luciano ..

      Love your blog .. I see you did a lot of research for Indian students.. I just need a little help ... I got selected in DSK ISD pune ,India .. is it a good college to go there ??

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      6 years ago from Paris

      Rajiv check out all my hubs here or follow on facebook the page "car design education tips" you will find tutorials for beginners and artiles about how to do...

    • profile image

      rajiv 

      6 years ago

      hi ..

      i am very weak in desinging cars. i would love some guided method to learn car designing. i guess i can cope up with the imaginative aspects required for designing a car but i am not able to bring it in paper.Any good sites for this kind of problem???

    • profile image

      Bassam Mansour 

      6 years ago

      Luciano, you almost made me cry. i'm soo happy right now, it's like there is hope remaining. I'm doing my best believe me but the circumstances i'm in is more than hard.

      Thank you again.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      6 years ago from Paris

      Dear Bassam, age counts because car designers find jobs when young! Like 25/27...now if you are an extra super talent you might have a chance at an older age....however not too old!

    • profile image

      Bassam Mansour 

      6 years ago

      Just one little thing...Is age matters? i mean can i apply at any age! if i really got the talent?

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Dear Dhamodharan,

      here on my profile hubpages.com you will find all sort of articles about portfolios in car design.

      On my blog too at "my articles" session http://www.lucianobove.blogspot.com or check out my Facebook page.

      Thanks!

    • profile image

      dhamodharan 

      7 years ago

      Hi Luciano, Im also from india by this year i will be completing my mechanical engineering .Im interested in transportation design, i choose my master course in Scuola Politecnica di Design(Italy,milan). whether this institute is worth-able for money. One friend(Rajendra) ask u about 'portfolios' pls explain it and how much this portfolios important for transportation design.

    • Sayed  Faramawy profile image

      Sayed Faramawy 

      7 years ago from Egypt

      Thanks Luciano for patient and help. please I want a general openion for my case after watching my entire work in my profile photos in FB. the most thing I want you to know that all my work is a free hand except albume E-paint it containes about 15 to 20 sketch drawen almost freehandly by the E-pen of my labtop . while my entire work is about 500 sketches (15 year) drawen by pincel and ball point

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Sayed this is the link to my profile on FB:

      http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10000062232...

      Ask for my friendship, OK?

    • Sayed  Faramawy profile image

      Sayed Faramawy 

      7 years ago from Egypt

      Hi Luciano. I read many articles of you about how to hold your dream throuh a long hard jeurney to become a car designer till I came to the article of entry initial portfolio of juging primary on a talent. I published my work in my face book profile (Sayed Faramawy) but set a privacy setting just for friends so please add me as a friend on your personal page to be able to review my entry work and judg am I really talented and ready to join a design school or what I have to do.

      Thanks.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Hi Sayed, it is exactly what I meant with this hub and you confirmed my thesis. You should apply for a car design school!

      Good luck.

    • Sayed  Faramawy profile image

      Sayed Faramawy 

      7 years ago from Egypt

      You are right about the local culture of the middle east, I am from Egypt and felt passionated towards car drawing since I was yong but every time I show my work to any one they always say the same comment ( you should study mechanics and math ). I did not care and continue train my hands but individual work, I think I came to a stage I should study the car design art.

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Hi Saheli,

      you should apply to a car design school for entry level showing your car sketches. Now if you can go to US or Europe you will find best schools...or you can try in your country because there are 2 schools that are not bad.

      On cardesignnews.com you will find all schools adresses.

    • profile image

      saheli debbarma 

      7 years ago

      hi! i m a girl 4rm india studying mechanical engineering. i want to b a car designer! wat do i do?

    • luciano63 profile imageAUTHOR

      Luciano Bove 

      7 years ago from Paris

      Dear Rajendra, if you look at my hubs here you will find the answer, or you can visit my blog at www.lucianobove.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      Rajendra S 

      7 years ago

      I am from india, I wish to join for transportation Design course, before that i want do prepare for my design portfolio so where can i find such institutes or centers who help to prepare portfolios and improve our designs?..

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