Approach to ID Career / School Advice / Non-School Advice

Hey guys and gals,

I’ve been working for a couple years in Austin, TX as an independent inventor (among other jobs), coming up with ideas, hiring out an ID firm here in town, and in doing so have licensed a patent for one product (it’s actually on the market- though not selling very well) and am nearing completion of final prototype on a second product with hopes of licensing it in the near future.

That said, it takes too damn long, costs too much money, hinders artistic control, etc. to continually hire out an ID firm to bring my ideas to life. I’m seriously considering returning to school so that I can more easily take an idea from sketch to prototype to production (whether on my own or working for an ID company), but my drawing/design skills are weak and I have no experience whatsoever with CAD or Pro E or any real prototyping work of my own. I see it all in my head and can sort of sketch out ideas so that my ID firm can bring it to life, but I want to be able to do it on my own. I love simple solutions, clean lines, bursts of color, and much prefer designing organizational/lifestyle items and furniture to super-technical, highly engineered stuff like transportation devices, etc…

So, apologies for the long-windedness, but any suggestions on schools for someone in my boat? Grad or undergrad? A la carte classes instead of full program? I’d much prefer to stay in the South and Savannah seems to really be calling my name (even though I haven’t visited yet), but any feedback would be much appreciated. I’ve spoken with SCAD reps and they think I should apply for grad program since I have experience in ID profession, but I’m not so sure an undergrad program wouldn’t do the trick. Thing is I’d really like to avoid more than 3 years of school. I’m taking drawing and design classes in Austin this winter to try and get things rolling. Any other advice would be much appreciated.

Merry merry. – Don Weir

my product on market: http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/99df/

Instead of wasting your precious $XX,000 on a worthless ID education from most school go to any fine ID firm in the Austin area and offer yourself as a “Paying Intern” as opposed to a “paid intern”. You pay them for the priviledge of learning by watching over their shoulders.

The idea above in my opinion is the best option, but it may be too unorthodox or revolutionary for some people and honestly the idea above is just a veiled expression of my contempt for college ID education.

This is what you get by going to college. If you are going back for undergrad youll be in class full of 18 to 19 who have no idea of what the hell is going on in the world much less anything ID. You goto grad school you’ll be in class with buch of 20-30 year old usually with no ID background who have this pollyana idea that ID will be much more creative and FUN than what they were doing before as lawyer or investment banker. What do you expect to learn from your fellow class mates it is like the blind leading the blind.

Going to college is great for the college experience and a person’s overall education and awareness, but if you are focused on ID then just get your hands dirty and do more designing and try to get it made. No school can teach this to you.

Now enough about me and back to you. Since you already have some experience in developing a product. You are already ahead of many ID graduates. You need specific skills to compliment the experience you already posses.

I suggest plan B. Take some sculpture, drawing, engineering and CAD class in your community college.

Why these clasees:
Sculpture - The modern abstract sculpture class not the classical life study type that is unless you like the nude model part. Taking this class will build your 3D form awareness and familiarization with power tools so you can make models of your designs later.

Drawing - learn to quickly sketch out and visualize many ideas quickly.

Engineering - specifically a Mfg process class. Good ideas are worthless if it can only be made with 24th century technology, Learn what can be made and how. One of the most important thing to learn.

CAD - That is 3d Cad skip the Autocad. You need to learn how to use the software so you can test out multiple versions of the designs that is more refined now than a sketch electronically before cutting anything on the table saw. Late you can use the same cad model to generate drawings with hard numbers so the factory knows how to make it. With the money you save from getting a BS ID degree you can afford to buy your own seat of Solidwhateverengineer CAD plus training and subscription. But having CAD but not knowing how things are made basically makes the software useless to you.

Good luck and stay away from Art/Design school’s admission office-blood suckers.

i’ll take it into consideration for sure. most of my artist friends tell me the same thing. i appreciate the feedback. - dw

If technical skills are what you’re looking for, with all of the information online you can do your own grad school for free. There are enough links in this forum to tons of information that you can learn on your own (if you’re that type).