Entering HS senior

I’ve recently discovered the wonder that is industrial design. I’m almost 100% certain it’s what I want to major in. I just don’t know what school to go to. I live on the Gulf Coast of Texas and the college that has my attention at the moment is the University of Texas in Austin. My parents refuse to let me go to an art school, saying I need to go to a “real school”, so I’m planning on getting the same Industrial Design degree, just at a “real school”. This seems less devastating as it normally would to me because after telling a friend of mine with similar interests about this, he pointed out that Retro Studios, the video game company responsible for the Metroid Prime series, is based in Austin, and that an internship there would be very possible if I went to UT.

My question is: Will my degree look less impressive, more impressive, or no different to potential employers because it isn’t from an art/design school?

EDIT: I can’t even figure out based on their website if they offer a degree in Industrial Design… :neutral_face:

EDIT2: It doesn’t… So… Anybody have any suggestions on “real schools” in Texas that have Industrial Design degrees?

Try looking into the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program. That’s a real school, so is Thee Ohio State University.

But if design is your passion then your parents should support that.

Sorry I don’t know too much about God’s Country.

Take a look through the core77 design schools listing: http://www.core77.com/design.edu/

Your parents fear is not rational, but it is common. You can also point them to my website, I went to an Art School (oh the all nighters are “real” by the way) and I’m doing pretty well for myself. Let me know if you need any other amo to help smooth over the folks. I understand their position. It is a lot of money to invest and they just want to make sure you get the best possible start, but that might not be at a conventional University if you are pretty certain you will do ID or something with a 5% variance from that (architecture, graphics, animation…)


But a lot of colleges have great ID programs. Not sure about Texas though. Here’s the local IDSA chapter: http://www.idsatexas.com/members/index.html.

I know taht Arizona State is well regarded: http://design.asu.edu/

Totally agree. And I understand the point of view of his parents as well.

If I had to pick a school today I would probably go with UC or CIA. Actually I would do my freshman year at RISD, my sophomore and junior at CIA and my senior and 5th year at UC… but that is not possible… yet.

A couple of my buddies left the Art Institute of Pittsburgh to finish out their educations at CIA. I wish I followed suit.

My family on the other hand encouraged me to pursue my talent in art. I started off at U.C. in the Architecture field then soon saw some students work hanging on the walls of automotive renderings and product development sketches. This drove me into I.D. I still wish to this day that I stayed at U.C. and finished my degree in either I.D. or Architecture.

Then again, I wouldn’t have met my wife in Pittsburgh.

There’s always grad school… maybe I’ll have both one day.

Thank you for the replies, you all seem to know much more than me. I ran a search and it turns out there are only 12 colleges in the US that offer living on campus, are in an urban setting, and offer degrees in Industrial Design. After looking at the list, my mother’s only choice was Syracuse University, which is about $35,000 a semester… >__> Not exactly easy to pull off.

I am hoping that she will eventually understand that a school doesn’t need to have the word University in the name to offer a real education.

I’d really much rather just go to a real design school. I feel like I’d be much better off after college with a degree from a design school.

What are the actual names of all the acronyms you are using, yo?

EDIT: With a degree in industrial design, I could potentially work almost anywhere that actually fabricates things, right? I spoke with some people at another website and they really convinced me that I want to do ID, because it is drawing intensive and has a wide range of careers, from some more realistic game designers to a shoe designer…

This is all true, correct?

It should also be noted that my main goal is to work in the video game industry, but I realize that it is difficult to get into. I really want to be able to make characters and stories…

The more I type the more I confuse myself. Being a cartoon artist, game artist, industrial designer, gah, what am I supposed to do? I want to be able to do all of this.

You should check out what Carnegie Mellon is doing with “Entertainment Technology”: http://www.etc.cmu.edu/

CMU also has ID.

Make sure to do some campus visits with your mom!!

A good friend of mine graduated from our schools architecture program and went into Carnegie Mellons Entertainment Design program. From a technical standpoint, he wasn’t at the level that many of the freelance/amatuer designers are in the video game world. But from a professional standpoint, he got tons of contacts at huge companys like Activision, EA, Pixar, Dreamworks, etc. Ended up doing an internship with Maxis for a while, not sure where hes at now but it definately helped him get his foot in the door.

My biggest comment to you on a personal level (and speaking from experience) is to keep in mind that what you’re really passionate about is almost certainly going to change over the next few years. I spent all of high school doing art work (levels and models) for Quake mods…it was actually a friend of mine who also did art for games in his spare time that I found out about ID. He got a degree in transportation design from CCS (big Michigan car school) but after working at GM hated it and started designing cars in video games…he subsequently had jobs at Sony and most recently Rockstar doing car models for them.

I went from wanting to design video games (high school) to designing cars (1st 2 years of college) to doing 3D graphics for movies (1st semester 3d year) to finally deciding I just really enjoyed doing products. At the current moment I’m waiting to hear back on a job designing mobile computers and barcode scanners.

My point is you’re going to learn a lot of new things and grow. I used to LOVE doing computer stuff (3d modelling) until I did enough of it to realize…“hey, I’m sick of this”. Just go into all of this with an open head and a lot of determination to be good at whatever you do and you’ll do it. :laughing:

you mentoned video games, if that is what you are interested in there are colleges that offer video game design as a major (or a track with in the computer arts major). I graduated from SCAD where i actually started out in video game design then jumped over to industrial design because it was a better fit for me. Your parents fear is understandable , but if you find an art school that really interests you then go on a tour of the school with your parents. that way they can see that art schools are real colleges and they can ask questions that may settle their fears.

I’d like to get a video game design major, but I’ve heard several times that the video game industry is very difficult to get into. If I major in ID, some video game companies would still want to hire me, correct? Places that make games like Metroid and Halo could definitely use some good ID’s, right?

The video game industry wants talented people, they really could care less about your degree. The flip side is there are a TON of very talented people out there who are entirely self taught, and still can’t get a job. So much about design is about who you know, as well as what you know.

I might also suggest checking out: http://www.fullsail.edu/ A friend of mine was planning on going there and they seemed to have some good facilities for the entertainment/digital fields. It also seems they have a very big alumni network which as I mentioned is a big key to getting a job in those areas.

I watched the Full Sail program overviews, and the video game development program seems to be based much more on programming than the artistic side (character design, level design, story, etc.) This bothers me, as I’m not interested in the slightest in learning complicated computer code, I just want to draw and come up with good games. If I were to pursue industrial design and have a solid portfolio, how easy would it be to find a game company that would hire me? Do game companies employ people who are simply artists and do not program?

I had two roommates in art school, one got an Illustration degree and ended up working in Hollywood for a well known creature-shop. The other got a sculpture degree and went to Dreamworks and later Disney. ID will easily prep you to do the same.

Your decision to go to a Design School is really about betting on the future, and betting on yourself.

But trust me, there is no shortage of demand for talent. You’ll be in far more demand than most graduating from state-schools with generic degrees. Hell, Harvard Business School even said “The MFA is the new MBA!”

My recommendation is to go for it. Don’t fall for the belief that a state school is in any way going to “hedge your bet.” If you feel like you’ve compromised, it will be obvious.

To get a sense for what the future holds for Design, I recommend reading and sharing the following books with your Mom:

“Rise of the Creative Class”

Tom Peters on Design

Well I showed my mom the list of schools and we both really like University of Cincinatti. If I can get in there my life should move along smoothly. Still need to look through and find a few other possibilities, though.

I was in the exact same spot you were. I live near Dallas so I was trying to find an instate school to help lower the cost. None of the schools really offered anything close to ID. UTA offered graphic design but people says its pretty much non existent. Half my friends went to UTA and the other half to Texas Tech. I’m the only one gonig to Cincinnati.

The fact that they don’t require a portfolio to enter DAAP, really helped me out as I didnt even have one. Also if possible take a tour. Dallas is a far way away. $300 plane ticket. Or $80 for Greyhound (which was the crappiest 18 hour bus trip in my life) I know its quite a long ways up, but youll love the campus.


The $300 plane ticket will be well worth the investment into your future career if you want to be an industrial designer. You won’t be disappointed with the DAAP program at UC.

Looking for advice on how CCS compares to DAAP trans design…and the difficulty of getting into DAAP since they don’t even look at portfolios and base it solely on gpa and act/sat score…what are my chances, i have high gpa but average act test score…anyone who has recently been accepted, appreciate your advice. (Recently visited CIA, they do not have a strong trans design major, considered 4th ranked school, and considering AC Pasadena but sounds too difficult to get into as a high school freshman) thanks for any help!

I am the parent of an ID freshman and a public school administrator as well. It will be a shame and diservice if your parents do not look at the possibilites of what an art school has to offer. I do not know a lot about the ID field as a whole but feel that having the ability to draw is an important facet that may not be stressed as it might at an art school setting.

When my son told me he wanted to attend an art college I looked at my wife and said “oh boy… he will be living with us the rest of his life!” Then I went out with him and visited every art school on the east coast… boy has my attitude changed… the work load and “passion” that I saw from professors and students alike was astounding… not to mention the opportunities that abound in the field… but… like being a professional athlete, you have to work with and be around the best… you have to be pushed to limits that cause you to make changes that might be out of your comfort zone… art schools today are evolving and if you really want to excel in the field you may be missing out for narrow minded reasons… I encourage them to really see what’s out there… it took me a while as well…

Trust me on this: Apply to University of Cincinnati. We get a number of top kids from Texas. My daughter is rooming with one right now who attended Westlake High School.

UC has a superb ID program and a transportation design program too. It also has 1.5 years of PAID coop,where you will get a lot of experience upon graduation. This is the school that you want to go to for ID.

If you might want to go into game design, apply to their digital design major. This major has some animation, web design and special effects design. It is unique in the country and is VERY good. It will allow you to branch off in a number of different ways.