Best Complimentary Minor

Hello everyone,
I’m new to the Core77 forums and am currently enrolled at Virginia Tech as a first year Industrial Design student. Along with this major, I am pursuing a business minor because I felt that it would be useful to have business knowledge in the design world. However, I was wondering what would be the best choice for me during school.
I noticed that many industrial design firms also specialize in packaging, which is a minor here as well. Should I pursue a ID Major with a Business minor and Packaging minor? Or perhaps business would be of no benefit to me at all? Should I drop business and just pursue packaging? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

What ever you do don’t drop business. It will benefit you much more than some specific packaging courses. Take some of the packaging stuff as electives just to get a feel for it if you can. I wouldn’t pigeon hole yourself too much at first until you really find out what you love doing.

Thanks! I figured that general background would be useful but I was getting very hesitant because I am obviously learning very different things in ID and was worried that I wouldn’t be able to link them

Well, yes learning Trans. design is different from Footwear, but the core principles are all the same. Visualization, sketching, ideation, etc. I suggest taking a little taste of everything and refining the skills you enjoy and the ones you can see yourself doing. Not to say that someone who designs footwear can’t design a car…

Cultural Anthropology, or Cognitive Science.
Because design is about people.

I agree with the above. Business minor will help you more than you could ever imagine. This is a big issue with new grads that they do not know the basics of how businesses work and the core principles of economics. I would also suggest taking some packaging courses (may be a bit bias on this one). Packaging, POP/POS is a major point in creating a successful product. Without creating the proper experience in the store the product will not sell. A few classes in packaging will give you the basics of this.

Business is a good one.

I think it depends - What do you want to do with your career and where do your interests lie?

If you like mechanics and production, you might want more of an engineering background.
Graphic design for understanding typography and layouts
For bigger picture thinking, maybe marketing.
For appealing to peoples subconcious desires, psychology.
For relating to the worldwide market anthropology
For understanding people, sociology
entrepreneurs, finance
communication, writing and foreign language
etc, etc…

If I were in school now, I would maybe take a very wide assortment of classes. It seems like
you would need a bit of all of those specialties, though a minor does look strong on a resume


They are charged to determine customer needs/wants/etc. Upstream and downstream.

But then again, you should do what suits you best. If you have to force something, it shows.

I second marketing. If taught well, it can be a saviour. Is marketing taught well in your uni?

Marketing is reputable here but taking on a full Marketing major would be incredibly difficult to do while balancing studio/Industrial Design. However, the Business Minor at this school is meant to give non business students, such as my self, a wide scope of all ranges of business, including marketing. I’m positive that marketing courses are included in the minor’s curriculum.

Have you thought about mechanical engineering? The principles of business and marketing a fairly common sense compared to M.E. It would give you a strong head start compared to others purely focused on making things attractive. Setting yourself apart as a pragmatic and creative individual could go a long way.

I really think the same could be said for Mechanical Engineering… at least for what a designer would do with it, it’s a lot of common sense. Most designerly products don’t need the complex mathematics that engineers are trained to create, something like creating a hard drive reader head that floats a couple microns over a disc and is ultra precise. I know several designers that routinely take care of the assembly design, break out parts, and take things to tooling without MEs. A lot of it comes down to sensible construction and knowllege of the process & software (that ID need to know anyway), much like furniture design or building something in a shop.

If I could go back to school, I think I would have take a broader range of courses, from finance/marketing to creative writing to sociology/anthropology to materials engineering to philosophy. I think exposure to a variety of different specialties could really build a strong designer

I actually transferred from the engineering school here into industrial design so I’ve taken a few general engineering courses. But if i wanted to pursue that id have to pursue a double major because the engineering school restricts its courses to students in the major only (and there is no engineering minor degree).

Thanks for all the advice!

I couldn’t have said it any better. It really depends on the combination of what you want and what will benefit you in the long run. Don’t worry if you aren’t able to learn everything all at once because sooner or later, once you’re practicing design as a livelihood, you will most likely pick up some of the more important concepts as you go along the way. Ideally, take up just one minor along with Industrial Design to prevent from spreading yourself thin.

I realize charlie has probably already figured out the school situation. But I agree that business is probably the best minor to go for. Other relevant classes include basic psychology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, creative writing, marketing, also a wide variety of non ID art classes.