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Professional Car Designer: How to Get Things Rolling


Professional Car Designer: How to Get Things Rolling

Believe in the dream

Perhaps you were young, in school, and instead of doing homework, spent hours drawing your favourite cars, and even designed your very own dream car. Perhaps that is you now, perfecting the proportions, shaping the body for maximum airflow and maximum speed, colouring a unique paint job, and showing off your artistic skills with interesting reflections.

Despite your parents nagging you to get back to your studies (which is important by the way), you should also note that you can actually draw cars for a living. The next steps will be to discover transportation design schools, one of which will let you reach your full potential, and will act as a stepping stone towards becoming a designer.

Don’t stop drawing

Great news, you can continue doing what you love the most! Later as you apply to transportation design schools, you will need to present them with an entry portfolio. Schools are looking for talented and determined students and this is the perfect way to get to know you, and gives you an opportunity to share your passion with fellow enthusiasts.

The entry process can also involve presenting your portfolio to a panel of judges, allowing them to experience and understand your personality, so it’s important to develop yourself in many areas, not just in design.

It’s a good idea to present your portfolio in A3-size in a clear folder, present your cars first and continue to display the whole range of your best artistic skills, including graphics, paintings, drawings of people, and even cartoons. Your portfolio will also be a testament to your time spent at school and during an internship, keep it safe and build on it.

What to expect in design school

First, note that it is important to apply to design school and not an engineering university. Although knowledge of mechanical engineering is necessary when considering the design of a car, it is much easier to increase an artist’s awareness of practical limitations and requirements, than to convert a mechanic in to a practiced designer, underlines a recent bachelor program in transportation design.

To be successful in design school and in the industry as a whole, it is imperative to think and act professionally right from the start, you will have many new things to learn and master, such as realistic object drawing (a key skill in the industry), 2D and 3D illustration, virtual digital modeling, and producing painted scale models from your final designs.

Life as an Intern

Getting an internship is an essential stepping stone on the path to becoming a designer. You should aim to be ready for an internship about halfway through your university course. The internship will give you valuable work experience and allows you to work in a real-life design studio. If you act professionally, work hard, bond with the team, and improve upon your own skills then there can be the opportunity for you to join the company after university.

As an intern, learn from the experts around you, don’t forget to keep drawing and improving, and to be brave and willing to share your idea. Not only is this a perfect chance for you to learn new things, but it’s an opportunity for the studio team to get inspired by your creativity, and to discover new ideas.

Living the dream

After qualifying as a car designer (which is extremely exciting), and acing an interview with your prospective company, the delicate process of negotiating a salary needs to be tended to. This is very daunting and should be done as always: calmly and professionally. As a young, newly qualified designer, it would be wise to ask your employer how much they would be willing to pay you, and negotiate from there, rather than to demand a set amount. Experienced designers will have the luxury of requesting a specific salary. From your first day, you will have to prove your creativity and engagement. Your team must be able to count on you and there will be lots of things to learn.

As a car designer, you will have many exciting experiences and will get to work among some amazing talent. If you are willing to keep learning and improving, and can offer positive solutions in the field of design, then maybe, you just might get to see that dream car of yours on the road.


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