Skills learned in ID schools can be applied to industry other than product development. However, I do think there are more grads every year than jobs available for them in product development. On another note, I also think there are many students who get out of school without proper training.

Off my graduating class (a while ago!), I beleive that only about 40% are currently still working in design. Some left design the moment they graduated. Some days I think they were the smart ones, other days I think they missed out.

If you have talent you will find employment, but the bar on talent is constantly being raised. Good for the profession, bad for employment prospects.

50% of my class.

I’m one of those who left I.D. pretty much right outta school, but I still managed to find a job that uses my creative skills and that I enjoy quite a bit. I’ve begun to go down the path of photography art direction / editor. It’s not product design, but I still sketch storyboards, find shooting locations, cast models, and go on the shooting locations, travel, and edit my photographer’s work. It’s full time with a good salary, and great location (NYC). I also pick up freelance I.D. work on the side for extra income and to satisfy the design urges that are still in me. Am I a little disappointed that I’m not working for an I.D. firm? Maybe a little, but I really love my job and career progression right now.

If you have the skills you will get the jobs, regardless of the economic situation, barring another major terrorist attack and following recession.

The problem is that schools are accepting and graduating students who have sub-par skill sets, simply because they want the tuition dollars. This is true for both state and private schools. I think the 50% ratio is about right. However, I know an ex-coworker who was 1 of 10 people in her class, and she was the only one to get a job from that class, and the class before and after her. Yet last May 15 people graduated from that program, and 9 had jobs lined up to start within two weeks of graduation. Two were working for the same Seattle based design firm, from campus their entire senior year.

I guess what I am saying is those who work to master their talent and trade will find work. Those who sit back and expect the school to give them what they will need, and do not put 40+ hours a week into practice and skills building will not find work, unless really lucky or really connected.

Also a major factor is connections…who you know is always key to getting first job. Network often, early, and every chance you get. Be your own commercial, and broadcast to everyone!

:smiley: Thank you I was really worried that I may have to settle for somthingoutside of the arts! Here is the deal: I am 24 years old and I know for sure ID is what I want to get into, I did not know much about it until a few months ago when a freind of mine showed me his ID class work (he is going into engineering). I did some research on my own and this is it! In high school I wanted to get into commercial design, but I had little to no support and did not know of anyone in the feild. After talking to counselers and others I was dooped into engineering because it was a “great career” after a couple of quarters of community college I was misguided again this time into business. I learned some valuble info, but I think there is more to life than skeeming ways to take peoples money. I finishied community college taking a wide range of classes, I have way too many credits, but I also know what my real intrest are. While I was going to community college I worked at a few car dealers and pondered making that my career, but after a couple of years I found I was not cut out for it (no creative outlet). I have tryed other jobs too but nothing fit so I kept going back to dealerships. Finnally a dealership laid me off and it has made me think and talk to others trying to find what to do. I am finnally going back to what I originally wanted to do from the heart.

My plan is to start school spring of 2005 and in the mean time learn what I can on my own (the main reson I want to go to school is for the added resources) and try and find any job in the design industry (hopefully with a company that deals with product design) I live in Seattle and know of a few places I can apply to, but I want to know more so I have a better chance at getting a foot in. I need all the help and encuragement I can get, your posts and this site are great! I am going to go gung ho! I am very excited, and you like to know anything anyone who knows what they are talking about has to say! Thank You again!

I think there were about 21 or so in my graduating class and about 5 work in the design industry.

wlj_jr, sounds like you’re in the same boat as i am, except a little less in debt. i know it might sound totally out of place, but i did a whole biology degree and a bit of medical school before i found out that this was probably the direction for me. i’m still exploring too.

According to an underground leaflet I looked at the other month, only 30% of ID students find full time employment within the first 2 years after graduation.

Having the Grades/knowledge gets you the interview but usually not the job.
P.S; If you’re ugly, don’t bother, you’ll have the door slammed in your face on more than 10 occasions.

“an underground leaflet”? what kind of source is that?

You would be very suprised at the number of hot chicks that get design jobs that cannot even draw a stick person. They are great to look at but when they are on YOUR TEAM it sucks!!!

Well, I think if you really want to do this, have the mind-set and a lot of fun re-designing, inventing and constantly thinking about the world that surrounds you, then just enjoy it. Finding a job will not be hard.
You’ll have a blast ,! your mind travelling in a million directions.
Just go for it… have fun!
I have freelanced for years and I love it!

You would be very suprised at the number of hot chicks that get design jobs that cannot even draw a stick person. They are great to look at but when they are on YOUR TEAM it sucks!!!

I bet there are more hot guys hired that can’t draw than hot girls (that can or can’t draw.)

Seriously, I think you are mistaken. I personally feel most designers (male or female) aren’t stupid enough to hire a pretty face instead of a designer with skills/talent. Granted if they have both then yeah, the pretty face will get the job.

Yes, there is tremendous overcapacity in this business. In places like San Francisco, this has even true of established designers. The total billings for the profession are probably under a billion dollars. That said, the questions to be asking are:

  1. What is an Industrial Designer?

Industrial designers develop the form of mass produced (100,000 Units+) of products. This is a very small segment of the people who call themselves industrial designers (maybe 3000 people).

Unfortunately for us, the sort of promotional conceptual product that has increasingly been displayed in design magazines like Wallpaper and Surface, Etc rarely make large amounts of money for our clients. While the sorts of products in these magazines are typically quite expxensive, they have very short runs for their manufacturer. Thus, while they are extremely ego satisfying, they tend to not make a lot of money for the designer.

  1. What makes Designers successful:
    A successful entry level designer can conceptualize salable, producable images and soft models of product forms on time on budget.

A successful entry level designer listens enough to follow a design manager’s often vague or conflicting direction and deliver what they asked for.

A successful entry level designer is intelligent and hardworking enough to identify the shortcomings in his boss’s direction and to propose a better option.

A successful entry level designer is humble enough to listen and learn the political, business and practical lessons when their proposals are shot down (most of the time)

A successful entry level designer is smart enough to find an employer who will provide this sort of feedback.

A successdul entry level designer understands that their goal isn’t to satisfy their ego, but to learn the business. Otherwise, they will always be an entry level designer.

A successful entry level designer is also a salesman. You have to be to get a first job with a manager like this.

In the long term, most successful designer specialize in some way or morph what they do into with another sort of business. For instance, I bring deep marketing strategy to companies that bundle physical consumer products and services. I also bring extensive experience in bringing inventions from product insight through production.

As a result, there is a very small, but lucrative set of clients who feed me. As a result, I am able to act as a liason between marketing design and engineering while providing form development services. Because I am able to decifer and solve the needs of stakeholders within the client organization, they are able to come to consensus very quickly.

The point is that like most designers who have managed to make a decent living at this business, I identified, mastered and focused on a high value niche market. Aside from the large design agencies that compete with me as part of a larger project (and often hire me when they win) there are very few qualified competitors.

  1. Do you have the skills to become a successful designer (they are rarely taught in school).

Well, it seems like you have a base level of understanding of business finance and operations (a big plus) and a bit of knowledge of mechanical of electronic design concepts as well as decent people/sales skills.

The next question is do you have a natural aptitude for Product drawing (this is very different from life drawing), scultpure or presentation graphics.

The third question is are you willing to make a serious time and financial commitment to this field. This is not the sort of business to start learning if you have young kids at home or have a desire to do anything else with your life or make serious money for a period of years.

That said, if this is what you really want to do, there’s nothing betrer.

Where the helll did you get a number like 3000?

Hey butterfingers, and then there are the type of people like you who only talk about being an IDer.

apparently the truth hurt someone. while it might have been worded somewhat sharply (but not overly sharp) Prof. Butt’Finger made a lot of great points, even if several where numbered 2. Great to see people who have been there calling them the way it is. If only your school professors would take words like that to heart, there would be a whole lot less ID grads working at K-Mart getting the clean-up in aisle 5.

A lot of valid points here, mostly textbook/common sense stuff people already know. What I find an interesting point is ‘most successful designer specialize in some way or morph what they do into with another sort of business’ : I think a specialisation with industrial design is necessary now to separate yourself from the rest. To get/keep an i.d job, you need either/or :

a. a stellar portfolio
b. contacts
c. a specialisation with industrial design

A specialisation for example might be : - buyer/merchandiser administration, - fea/fmea plastic product design, - human factors, - business linguistics. I.D. is becoming so competitive now that a and b are barely enough to survive. There needs to be more joint i.d programs with specialisms in some key areas.

didnt sound harsh to me. and pretty much agree with it. just glad i planned ahead.