“I’m an industrial design student and I’d like to move into automotive design. What are some resources that can get me to where I need to be?”

Asked on: 2021-01-28

Hi Jake,

Thanks for the question - thats one is a doozy. I have worked on a few automotive projects over the years but none of them were about designing the actual car.

I had to consult some industrial designers at IDEO on your question. They responded with...

"car design is like it’s own world within ID, it’s hyper specialized, and much more about styling/form than problem solving…professional standards are all about really high levels of craft in illustration and 3D modelling"


"And Art Center in San Francisco is still the epicenter of car design programs"

I imagine as an ID student you may already know the above. However, I have hacked my way through so many different industries as a designer spanning - video games, advertising, tech, space, hardware, you name it. To get yourself into a new field (especially as one as difficult as car design) you need tenacity - guts, balls whatever you want to call it.

Here are some ideas:

  • Create your folio for WHERE YOU WANT TO BE, not where you are. There are 100s of tutorial videos showing the drawing techniques that car designers utilize. Nail that. Figure out how to draw those lines, use tonal markers, and render by hand. This is dying art form that would get noticed by any design director. Promise.

  • Stalk the people. Figure out who is doing car design and make them know who you are. Open up the communication and express interest. Im guessing the car design industry its all about who you know and cultivating those relationships will take a long while.

  • Position your current work as auto work. This is a bit strange but there are commonalities among all projects, especially in ID. The lines, the problems, whatever it might be. Use those to show you can design a car.

♥️ ♥️ ♥️,
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