DAAPgrad - going from product viz to DESIGN.

Hello. I just wanted to take a moment to introduce myself to the forums as well as to seek advice on my current career situation. My name is Chris Feldmann and I recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s college of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) studying Digital Design (received a Bachelor’s of Science in Design). I am seeking to change my career path to industrial design. I am aware that this sort of discussion has taken place many times (I have been using the search feature), but I was wondering if I might seek some more specific advice based on my experiences.

At DAAP, my first year foundations were the same as the industrial designers (it’s just the next four years of training that I missed out on, that’s all - ha! :wink: ). Within Digital Design, we were trained in studio to be kind of a “Jack of All Trades” in design while under the rather ambiguous title of “Digital Design” (interactivity, motion, 2d graphic design, 3d, sound, experience, etc). While in school (and on co-ops) I focused primarily on 3d and motion even further specializing in product and architectural visualization. I am currently employed as a design consultant by P&G for product visualization for some of their upstream product lines - but being on the viz side of things I am finding that I am growing tired of the design solution always being “add more glitter,” and would rather pursue my interests in product DESIGN function - where I can actually have a hand in designing something that could benefit other people.

I am not afraid of hard work and I am already making efforts to further improve my sketching ability (it has always been an integral part of my design process and a hobby anyway - though I am aware that to succeed in this field I need to improve my sketching by at LEAST ten fold), as well as learning other tools that might be utilized in the industry (Rhino, Inventor, Pro E - I don’t have Solidworks, but I could work on learning that too).

So as I see it I have three options: To go back and receive a second Bachelors, to continue on and receive a Masters (from an institution such as Pratt) or to try to find a company that is willing to take a shot on me and place me in an entry level position (I am not naive in thinking that I deserve an industrial design position while there are so many talented ID grads, nor in any way am I “above” a sketch or CAD “monkey” position - I have a TON to learn, but I am very willing and passionate about it).

Other things to consider: I am married with a newborn baby - which makes the second Bachelors a challenge. I am currently an instructor at DAAP teaching Motion Design, and I love the idea of teaching at a college level someday - which makes the Masters option appealing. And I am currently buried in debt from my Bachelors - which makes either the second Bachelors AND Masters option a challenge - and the job search appealing - but would a company even hire me as a junior industrial designer without that specific degree and industrial design experience (my guess is “not likely”)?

I greatly appreciate any insights and advice.
Thank you very much for your time as I realize that it is valuable,
Chris Feldmann

No free ride to get a second BA since you now work for UC?

everyday more and more traditional products are becoming interactive on a limited scale.
If you understand the technical and human factors in creating a control for common devices, you may have a niche opening into a product development consultancy.

Let me tell you something about hard work and desire. You have one baby, plus a job and debt. I commend you for taking the leap towards something bigger. Your design results will be that much more richer with your new found experiences. But don’t give up… and go for that which you truly desire. As for me…I am 30, with three kids, full-time job+freelance, going back to Art Center for advanced design course work one day/week, plus weekends I have kid’s sports activities. With your new baby, trust me…you will find the time and the drive to do that extra piece of design. Kindly welcome your family to the maturing designer’s lifestyle…kudos to your first steps.

First, let me start of with my sincere apologies for not responding to any of your responses in a timely manner, it was quite rude. Life got a little busy and even more hectic - but I’m sure all of your understand how that goes.

@lac29 - Unfortunately no. No free ride since I worked at UC - but they did offer it to my wife :wink:

@no_spec - That is a very insightful and interesting point. I think that is something that I should look into during this whole transitional process. Maybe I can offer some different insight as I grow as a designer with the interactive/user experience that I have.

@masood1224 - Thank you very much for the inspirational words and vote of confidence. It is indeed challenging but I’m now working with my wife in finding a balance in time management in order for us both to have some time to grow personally (in my case, re-establishing creativity again after letting it grow weak for lack of nurture and developing technical skills that will be required when I make the transition into the industrial field).

As for an update: I caved. I didn’t make the transition - at least not yet. Practicality, life and need to pay the bills won out so instead of making the transition to industrial I found a job in Louisville with an ad agency where I am their go-to guy for all things digital design (2d/3d animation, motion graphics and video editing). I felt satisfied and appreciated in the new position until just recently. I started feeling again like the work I do is so ephemeral and without impact (feeling like my job is just to add glitter as previously noted). So when looking for inspirational I came across some industrial design sketches and my passion for industrial design was once again set ablaze. So. Here I am. Back again. I think my best course of action is to pursue a master’s degree in Industrial Design and in the meantime continue working on the effort to learn all I can about the process and the skills in my free time.

So, anyone have any recommendations on schools?

Thank you,
Chris Feldmann

try out the search function regarding masters programs. lots of opinions.
YO has some of the best cliff notes summaries, look for his posts.

As a way to change careers, it’s less than ideal, because grad school tends not to focus on the fundamentals that gets jobs.
Many of the top grad schools, UC included, wont take someone without an ID undergrad, so choices are limited.
I don’t think there’s any option that doesn’t have you leaving the 'ville, not much ID there.

come back after reading up on that path a bit.
I still stick by my original suggestion of finding a consultancy with a strong interaction-on-products clientelle.