going from Painting undergrad to Industrial Design grad

Hey folks, I’m new here.
I’m finishing my undergraduate degree in Painting and Drawing, and I’m taking a year off before applying to graduate programs. What are the best ways I can use this year to prepare for an Industrial Design graduate program-- How do I get involved in building a portfolio?
Any advice is more than welcome.
Thanks all,


----O Please, reply.-----


this general topic has come up quite a few times, please search around the boards and read up on some of the many varied opinions. It may help gain you better feedback to ask more pointed questions.
My advice is, if your looking for a 1st professional degree so you can earn a living in ID, a bachelors is better suited to that goal. Even if you want to teach in a university someday you’ll need a proven track record of designs in production, again a Bachelors is better suited to start.

I agree. I don’t think it’d be a good idea to go through a graduate route as I don’t think you’ll have enough to show for it afterwards- i.e. design students with 3/4year bachelors have a hard enough time finding work, you’ll only be making life more difficult for yourself. That is presuming you are going to ID to try and earn a living, as No_Spec said.

yeah, I’d figured someone probably had this kind of question before… well well. Thanks for the feedback anyway.

Actually, weirdly enough I studied ID with a girl called Sarah who had a degree in Painting (which she obtained about 15 years before studying ID). I think she found it quite difficult to get a designers ‘mind’ about things coming from a more art-based background. She was quite suited to our ID course regardless (quite conceptual based design rather than completely resolved and feasible design).

Patience Danielson. Use the search feature and read up.

things to put into portfolio (for those changing careers, not people with ID undergrad)

–your best item from previous field – your best painting, if you studied psych, anthro, etc. see if you can find a place in your admissions material to briefly discuss or include your work. If you came from graphics try to include work with research, or deeper branding sort of work, not just hot-shot design work.

– generative (as opposed to observational), freehand drawing

– be careful about trying to create ID specific stuff… your reviewer knows way more than you about ID. It’s better to leverage your area of expertise into a design project. If you have an art background you might want to create things that are more form based (certain types of furniture and tabletop for example). If you develop your own projects you might try to have clear design criteria – a user, needs, problems, or context.

One of the few books that works as a sort of ID how-to book is “Design Basics: From Ideas to Products” by Gary Heufler.

– something 3d. If you don’t have anything 3d it’s kinda hard to convince someone ID is your life passion