Design in Columbus, OH

I am currently getting a degree in industrial design at The Ohio State University.

I was under the impression that there are a lot of industrial design opportunities in Columbus, OH. There are two schools that offer ID degrees - OSU and CCAD. But, I have recently heard that Fitch has laid off all of their industrial designers and only does brand communication. I’ve also heard that Design Central is struggling. There is also a design firm called Priority that does a lot of sporting goods, but I’m not really in to sporting goods. Why are Columbus industrial design firms struggling so much? Is it the current economy or is it just not the right place for design?

Sounds like it is the economy as well as increased product design capabilities in Chinese factories. Batelle might be a good place to look at. In bad times corporate design departments might be hurting less. Priority does more than sporting goods designs- just look at their website. They are good guys.

Columbus is also a little saturated what with OSU and CCAD both pumping out graduates. You might be better off looking at different locations for that first job.

hey man.

not sure which one you are, but this is david here. i would encourage you to try to take visits to all the firms. do not rely on a classmate thing…this would actually make it harder…firms have to plan to have a whole group in. if it is just you, one guy could quickly take you around. you will realize this is very normal, and most firms always has someone with a few minutes.

also, i think it is important to really read into the state of design. i feel as consumers are demanding more and more out of their product experiences, it is becoming more and more important to be a well rounded designer. GRAPHICS for product designers is a must. push yourself in this area and seek firms that deliver in all areas of the product experience.

and as for priority, they do in fact do more than sporting goods. actually, after interning there, i realized that this is just a fraction of the work. that place is really freaking awesome. i loved it there and learned so much.

feel free to email me anytime. i just went through the job stuff and have quite a few opinions to share if interested. im in nyc working late often, but i check emails often. hit me up.


Hey Dave, good to see ya! I’m also curious who this buckeye designer is.

Fitch hasn’t laid off all of their ID, but they have cut back tremendously. They have a small full time staff, and then they rely on some freelance (which I am looking to pursue)

It is true that most of our class has moved elsewhere to find work. If you’re familiar with any of us by name, Dave is in NY like he said, Joanna is going to Seattle, Sarah and Leslie are out in Chicago, Mike is going back to grad school for uhh, Nursing… I only know of 3 that have jobs/internships here in Columbus.

I was looking for work in Columbus when my girlfriend got a job teaching at OSU, but couldn’t find even a sniff of an opening… pretty disappointing. I ended up in Minnesota. Good luck finding something!

hey OSUbuckeyedesigner-

For the size of Columbus, it has more design firms than most places do for the amount of people there. I’ve heard that Priority let some people go recently myself. But the economy is def slow these days everywhere. I know that Design Central is not struggling, not sure where you heard that. They got some major programs with some massive companies and are showing up in presentations all over for stuff they do. Must be rumor mill or something.

Its not about Columbus either, just listen to what the president said on tv last night. It’s the economy…

I am currently in North-Eastern Ohio, and am planning on moving. This is not just due only to the lack of design opportunity. However if your family is in Ohio and you want to be near them you can always fly.

I have it on good authority that Design Central is kicking ass on all cylinders. Maybe you haven’t looked into this hard enough?

It is true Priority-Designs has let go of some staff as I recently talked to a former industrial designer who was employed there. Design-Central was busy last summer, but I do not know the current status. As a free-lance mech. design eng., that information is typically not shared.

Fitch has hired a veteran of the industrial design field in April 2008 (you can find this on the internet), so I am assuming they plan to re-engage their industrial design & engineering department.

Which software do you prefer, SolidWorks or Pro/Engineer for industrial design?