ID life after 40?

Is there life for an Industrial Designer after 40 who likes to design rather than manage people?
Or is the profession slated towards the young and better start trying to teach after 40 or learn to like design management?



I would say that unless you have a very specialized skill or market in ID, or any profession for that matter, you will have to move to management based on the simple economy of it. If you are a general ID person with 20 years experience you per hour cost is drastically higher than someone with 5-10 experience, so people will go with the lower cost. Again, if you have a specialization, such as nuclear medicine industry knowledge, then your experience will count because you will shorten the project length.

Management is where your experience makes you the teacher of fishing to many instead of the lone fisher, so that does increase your worth.

Don’t know if this helps, but I hope so.

Or go and work for yourself - I didn’t enjoy design management, I like to design.

Having said that I can think of plenty of over 40’s still designing as employees in my profession (footwear design) they won’t ditch you if your product sells and salaries can be quite high. Also - look at the greats in shoe design, some of them are nearly pensioners!

I will let you know after January! Seen many examples and would like to be on of them!

Of course there’s life after 40. Design is a lifelong pursuit!

The value-prop for the higher-salary, more-experienced designer who’d not in management is that you can get from A-Z faster and with less risk than the less-experienced designer.

If I was a company that had a few critical and complicated (new to the world) type projects, I would rather staff a couple of seniors doing the work than a bunch of juniors. That’s the situation I’m in now.

I think that’s why we work really well as freelancers - I did an equestrian footwear project recently - the client was really, really, worried that I wouldn’t understand it, that I’d design a ‘fashion’ product instead, all kinds of worries.

But we’ve had years of practise of understanding different consumers and their unique needs. I think it’s like being a good actress.

So we barely had any amendments to do to the initial work we had submitted. Client was pleasantly surprised.

But in specific, at our 19 person consultancy the average age is 40 (we did the math) so that answer to your question is yes.

Thanks all for your insights. Came across this interesting quote:
I am not young enough to know everything. - Oscar Wilde

Where did you see that? :wink:

To Mo-i: Just found it the other day, I think on Art Bistro, I cut and pasted it to a doc I have for quotes I like. Good one eh?

The reason it resonated with me, is the Zuckerberg character in that movie about the founder of facebook saying something like “young people are smarter than old people”, and also the trend for younger workers to be hired before older. You read things like don’t put your years of experience on your resume anymore or year of graduation if your over 40. As that character in the new Wall Street says - “Getting old ain’t for sissies.”

  • Best.

Given my current workload and demands of the profession, I don’t think I will live past 40 years of age in first place :wink:

But seriously, I feel that it would be very beneficial for someone with a wide variety of life experience to design stuff. So the older you are, the better a designer you are. Alternatively, you must have a very vivid imagination.

Look at some architects: some are older than 40, yet their careers have just taken off, as they have finally found their own unique method of solving problems and selling their work. It takes time to be good at any design-related activity. Therefore, I don’t see the point of quitting ID life after 40 years of age.

I know I once read this scale in a high school psychology class that stated athletes obviously make their important contributions in their 20’s, and on the opposite side of the spectrum were architects at around mid to late 50’s. Interesting. Don’t remember the other professions. Chart is probably on web somewhere. No doubt, there is much to be said for life / project experience.

Look at some architects: some are older than 40, quote]

My father is an 80 year old architect who hasn’t quit work yet!

Look at his Mo-i’s signature :wink:

Oh, hey, that is your signature Mo-i! - great minds think alike! Anyway Oscar Wilde like Einstein is heavily quoted all over the place. Did not mean to steal anyone’s thunder.

Well, I don’t “own” that quote, for sure. And I am amazed to learn, that
literally nobody reads the fine print. I’ll go sell some insurance contracts
on saturday, now…

yours mo-i

Yeah right, could sell the farm if I’m not careful, lol. Here’s another good one, don’t know who said it… “Youth is wasted on the young.”

I am still a bit green in the design management world (couple years) and only 30, but I would argue that you can still be a designer as a design manager. I still do quite a bit of hands on work and I think the better design managers keep their hands in the mix. I like the aspect of being able to mentor and grow other designers as well.

I certainly hope that the answer is indeed ‘yes’. I’m 32 and putting together my applications for grad ID programs for Fall 2011 admission. So when I finish at 35-I certainly hope that there are certainly more than five years in my design life.

My optimism is in the prospect of projects that aren’t traditional products for general consumer market. In fact-I’m most inspired these days by things such as one of the essay questions for Art Center’s application. They pose this question, ‘What project would you develop if you had two years and 10 million dollars?’

Revisiting school after having been out for about a decade isn’t exactly what I had planned, but if it enables me to do half of the stuff I dream up it will have been the right choice even if I’m not a ‘hot young designer’ fresh out of undergrad.

This website and forum are great.
Good fortune to us all.

This website and forum are great.

I agree, I only wish I started using it years ago, would have taken alot of the “mystery” out of things and saved me time searching the net for answers and resources. I am impressed with the quality of the information and thoughtful responses. Reminds me of school, which is dearly missed after 15yrs in the corporate and small companies. - Best to All.