Fading dreams in the Aussie ID scene...???

Is it just me or is the Australian ID scene really boring…many on the international circuit seem to recognise ‘fresh’ Australian designs but overall there are hardly any interesting work available, especially for grad students like myself with high hopes (well not so high anymore)…all the firms only want to hire product engineers to do FEAs and become chained up CAD jockies…>> Is it better off trying to start a career over in Europe where “design” seems to be appreciated rather than copied and churned out…???

Is there no hope for young designers to do creative stuff in the land of OZ (which i love btw) unless you throw your life-savings into your own business/products…???

Several employer saw and loved my folio (phew…) but can’t offer any jobs cuz they want mainly plastics engineers/CAD jockies (even though I know my CAD pretty well, i just don’t want to become the hunch-back ‘computer guy’)…The more I look around and think about it the more i envy my mates who did finance/commerce at uni (hardly any work - compared to all the all-nighters and stress common to me and my design mates…) then got jobs at large firms and getting paid more for paper pushing than IDers would get paid with years or experience…while half the time we do all the hard work designing and making THEIR products/dreams a reality…

I love design and will try my best to have a career in it but with everyweek of seeing ‘CAD “designer” wanted’ ads on job sites…my heart sinks a little bit… :cry:

Any advice? views? arguments? anecdotes?..jobs?

Hey aussie
get two-three years design/engineering/CAD experience anywhere then head off overseas - London is a good start.

do your own stuff on the side so that when your interview in Europe, you can show that you are technically savvy AND creatively gifted.

You must do your time at the bottom at whatever industry you choose - But also remember design is a “calling” not a job - if you can’t find the passion, then perhaps you might be better served doing a BORING commerce job -(and they are boring)

good luck!

believe me, we see lots of the same here in the usa but i do have an an anecdote to share…a young female id from downunder made her way to the usa and landed a low pay bottom of the heap job…that was five years and two jobs ago…now she is with a top firm in a major industry…but she likely would have suceeded most anywhere because she put it up front and on the line, all the time…even if you are just out of uni, you just have to keep bustin’ ass and movin’ on because the minute you stop, y’er dead meat mate…

thanks for the advice/anecdote xyzzy/mrd, i thought about biting the bullet and going for those CAD jockey jobs but here lies the other problems:

in Aus, the ID scene is still relatively young compared to US and Europe and the truth is that there really aren’t that many jobs around, especially from design consultancies…the rare one or two available are the CAD jobs i mentioned but they are all taken up by product design engineers who spent there 3-4 years at uni learning FEAs and engineering based programs and skills (where as i did ID and our course was more conceptual based…the only CAD program we were officially taught was AutoCAD!!!..and an optional short course in Solidworks…i taught myself Rhino in order to free up some of my designs and at the moment learning Pro/E in order to compete with the engineers…)… :angry:

The other CAD jobs available are really really boring…not even design based >> we’re talking about specifing window frame extrusions and aluminium trailers…I had industry experience in the exhibition + display industry and there are a few jobs available but i really don’t want to work in that industry…

so at the moment the only thing i could do is work on my own folio/projects, keep bugging consultancies and wait…meaningwhile thinking of going back to hospitality to earn some dough cuz i’m broke… :confused:

i’m passionate about design but reality bites big time…

Reality check:
Pro-E, solidworks etc are not just for the engineers. They are essential tools for the Industrial designer too. You will not get a “pure” industrial design job where all you do is sketch and make foam models.

Australia is a very small market and as such design consultancies must employ designers who can not only produce a nice outer shell, but who can also engineer the internal details.

Take a job at a POS company and learn some skills. Quit complaining about the state of Australian design if you dont even have the skills required to get a real ID job.

It is difficult to get a job in Australia, so take anything you can get to start with and pretty soon you’ll have enough skills to move on.

My take is exactly what you state.

The annual design reviews of work done by firms in Australia always looked like there are not enough opportunities around.

Part of it is the only Australian product I believe was ever purchased in our family was a Hanimex slide projector.

Where Australian design could take a lead is related to lifestyle. If there was a high end sportings good company like Burton.

The other opportunity might be in the boating industry. I never like boats though. Everything always looks “puffed up” and then trimmed with gold and teak.

My guess is the best opportunities lie in exhibit design for large trade shows in Asia.

What exactly are you looking for out of an Industrial Design job. I know about 10 - 15 designers all employed in design or design orientated roles (Sydney). If you are after a pure product design role i imagine that you might find this difficult. However you can find that even the jobs that seem to be CAD jockey roles can change into more design orientated ones.

When i was fresh out of Uni about 3 years back i was looking for a job solely in product design. Now i work in Exhibition Design, which i find to be enjoyable.

Industrial Designers are pretty much linked to manufacturing so there are always jobs around if you are willing to look at several fields. Go into something that looks like a CAD jockey role and then try to show your boss that you can be creative as well, with any luck you will be able to steer towards a more design orientated role. In the end if you fiond after 6 months that you dont like the role, find something else - its not that much of a struggle as long as you aren’t too idealistic.

Get good at a CAD package, doesn’t matter which one but obviously something common like ProE or Rhino. By good I mean 2 years worth of sitting there, figuring out how to build something. That way you will gain the seat time and experience to know how to build whatever your immense conceptual mind can think up.

I did an internship at a place called Design Resource outside of Sydney, was it Neutral Bay perhaps, anyway - the principal was a fellow named John Brown, a cool guy by all respects - but of course the work was struggling. This was in the mid-90’s, and it seemed all Aussie firms were doing work in smart card readers.

We did NOT have computers to use, and I spent my 3 week internship drawing a plastic door for a sort of industrial microwave, thermoformed clear plastic.

I agree with the above posters about the size of the Aus. design field - more designers than work to go around so pick where you want to be in 5 years, get to work, and be patient. Learn. Only about 4 designers in the whole damn world got to graduate from uni and go do blue-sky conceptual work for a famous firm.

Hi mate,

You got to venture out of Australia to see more. Yes I agree that it’s a bit disappointing that there arent many ID jobs around back in Oz. BUT, perhaps you could find ID jobs internationally provided if you are mentally prepared yourself, telling yourself “yes, i will go all out for design”. Everybody has to start somewhere.

If you are very extremely passionate for Design, get some overseas exposure, Be informed about what’s the design scene internationally. Work overseas, the experience you’d gain, will be treasured by employers back in Oz.

Some of my Design senior are doing that, venturing out of Oz. Some of them working in US and europe at the moment.

Cheers mate