Am I on the right track?

Hi everybody,

Not so long ago, I was a network architect designing dozen of computer networks for my customers. I have been doing this for years and I have lots of experience. Work had its ups and downs. Hoping to have more ups than downs, I decided to consult a career counsellor. After in depth analysis of who I am, he suggested that I become an ID. Not knowing what an ID was, I got to work and found that it’s a pretty exiting job. There is one video on You Tube that particularly drew my attention:

I can totally relate to these people. I have a natural ability to look at something or a situation and try to find ways to fix them or improve them. I love to take a problem, analyze the good and the bad, research possible options, sharing ideas in a group, coming up with the final product and showing it off.

So far so good. The scary part for me is the artistic side. I have an eye for what looks good and what doesn’t. I might have a great idea in my head and I can represent it well in 2D but forget 3D. 3D Drawing is just not my thing. Is it essential to success? The guys in the video have about the same drawing abilities I have. Is that a show stopper?

Your opinions and comments are welcome!


Maybe you are maybe your not…

Without seeing any of your ID-work it’s hard to say.
I suggest you test yourself and do a little project. Find a product that frustrates you. What would you change? Can you find a problem? Try to think of as many solutions that would fix it and doodle them on paper. These drawings don’t need to be nice. As you can see in the IDEO-video. Having many ideas is essential. There surely will be some good once in there.

I’ve made some design rules for dummies…so if you need some guidance feel free to check them out.

Also being a good sketcher isn’t everything…although it will help selling your ideas. I’ve made another topic on this:

So post your doodles then we’ll talk

Good Luck


I started ID at 25 and couldn’t sketch for shit and now work in ID full time.

I can sketch fairly competently now. No where near the pro level but could probably get there if I put more time in. Like they say, practice makes perfect. There are a few good resources on sketching that have really helped me:

The other thing to consider is a lot of famous designers were never really great 3D sketchers. I’m talking about Dieter Rams, Joe Colombo, Marc Newson amongst others. Have a look at some design books and you’ll see they’re not all amazing sketchers.

I am not sure the career counselor set you on the right track.
I could imagine you to be a great problem solver for your future customers
in many trades. Perhaps inside you is good salesman for any technical product
that needs a lot of explanation and custom fitting to special niches in the market?
You could deal with industrial pumps, heating systems, cooling systems - whatever.
But how come the counselor thought you were an ID fit, if you don’t like to draw, feel
no connection to your artistic abilities and do not want to make constructions in 3D either.
Well, all that is probably relevant to becoming an IDer, no ?
in conclusion I fear this counselling might have misled you, indeed.


Hi all,

Thanks for the great comments so far. As recommended by Athoms, I thought of an idea that I could improve upon.

I travel a lot and I find that the quality of the transit maps vary greatly from one city to the next. For the average tourist, it makes it difficult to find your way around. Even for locals, it is sometimes difficult to know when your bus will arrive. So I imagined a transit help system that can help both the tourists and the locals. The intent of this post is not to show how great the transit help system works but to show a doodle. In a nutshell, the system can provide easy, printable itineraries for tourist by the touch of a simple button. It can also provide itineraries based on street name (like a GPS would). It can put a person in contact with the dispatcher if necessary and it can provide video security for improved safety. This is what it would look like:

I understand this is not the level of drawing that you are normally achieving but is there any hope to make it a trade if I received some training?


You would definitely need some training.

And as for as spotting a problem. You spotted one. And you got a solution. Albeit just one. A designer should be able to think of +100 solutions for one problem. So think up some more solutions to the problem. (& I’m sure there’s a simpler solution.).
So sketch some more. lots more…you’ll train your drawing skills and exploration/idea-generation.

If you need help with sketching:

Still a work in progress…

Or some inspiration:


Hi Athoms,

I depicted a single idea here but I had several more ideas. I guess I shouldn’t have held back. My ideas vary greatly depending on how far the customer wants to go. Additionnally, there is probably a need for more than one solution. The solution at a major transit point will likely be different than the one at a neighborhood bus stop. Here are some more:

  • Installing a board with pre-printed cards of popular destinations that indicate the route to take
  • Using an e-ink screen that shows the routes available at that stop (interactive or not)
  • Setting up local wifi access-point so that people with smartphones can connect to access the bus maps
  • Providing a RFID or similar device that vibrates once the user has reached a transit point (similar to flashing drink holders in bar)
  • Using a low-frequency FM radio that speaks out the schedule
  • Have a wired phone that reads out the schedule or can call out the dispatcher at the press of a button
  • Prepare a kiosk running the transit company application on a smartphone
  • Prepare a IETF standard that standardizes this bus scheduling that allows easier integration of this data from one city to the next
  • Finance the cost of the solution by adding publicity on the device (physically or on the software)
  • Integration of scheduling information between bus line companies (eg STIB and DeLijn) is often poor. Unifying the databases using XML would help resolve this.

I would like to know more about the trade and I noticed you live in Belgium (and so do I). Would you mind if I called you to ask a few questions?