id'er working with engineers


I’m an industrial designer working at a design development firm composed of mech enigneers; mostly alumni from a noted program. It really is a great gig working with good people on cool (significant) projects. Working on things that are conceptually and aesthetically cool is awesome, and working on things that functionally work through proof of concept protos to mfg databases is another. This is my first full-time i.d. job (other than contract gigs and furniture design) and I have about 3 years of related exp.

My questions to the IDers and ME’s out there are…

  1. How do you cite the value of i.d. in this setting?
  2. How did you work with the engineers(’s)?
  3. What were your responsibilities in the firm?
  4. What’s good advise to someone in my shoes?
  5. General advice and rants?

Thanks in advance…

are you the only ind designer in the team??


Tesla…I’m in the exact same situation.

First off, it’s pretty rewarding because I do have a lot of control over designs. At first it’s very frustrating to work with the engineers, who are driven and live by numbers. But once they see how much good design matters, and that thinking things through prior to opening up a seat of Pro/E, things get easier. Took some time, but I’ve earned a lot of respect throughout the department.

My boss, on the other hand, seems to think that all I’m worth is “pretty’ing up” designs, and that outright pisses me off. Most of the time engineers fail to grasp the knowledge and skills that we do have but arent’ readily seen, such as methodology and marketing aesthetics.

My advice to you is to be a sponge for information from them. Your time there will be incredibly beneficial to the rest of your career, as you’ll learn tons about the minor details of design, tooling, etc. Great situation to be in, while it may not be as cool as a premier design studio. It’s difficult sometimes to keep your head up and be creative though.

I totally relate and agree with you 6ix…i work in the sheetmetal industry and i am the only designer on the team, my boss is exactlly the same but the main thing is sticking by your beliefs and your desire to create great products. Engineers will respect good design and learning from them is fantastic experience. I like to think us designers teach engineers a thing or two also!!