Industrial design board exam

…if you know how to spell aesthetix you can’t know anything about it…

you mean ESTHETIX! faux designer…

excuse me would it not be AESTHETICS …the word???..i don’t know just a thought

Interesting poll.

UFO: What would you put in the industrial design exam?

I can think of only two categories I would see in it. Human factors, manufacturing techniques. I can’t think of another category that is both used by all industrial designers and is something test-able.

yes and no

i think a college level test should be in place, something basic regarding design history and trends, if not things about form, function , color and material. There are too many people at my school who come in with no simple base knowledge of design or even a simple understanding of aesthetics. But a board exam seems dubious…what kind of ‘design gods’ would come up with the testable knowledge a designer should have? then again…
ufo posted a quote by Chris Bangle…and while appropriate, I consider Chris Bangle to be the biggest wanker in the design world. Look at BMW now.Style for styles sake? he shouldn’t be making quotes about function. If there was a board exam i’d want to flunk him out of field.

very good question.

i think most importantly there should be a formation or a group of analysts and experts in the fireld of Industrial design in US creating an official organization or group that can do this.

they have to extract all needed information regarding this process, then start sorting out the best ideas and solutions to see what’s better for the advancement of industrial design in the future.

they should clearly be able to define categories of design which are most sensitive and important. they should also be accredited individuals and most respected professionals in the field to perform such task. there should also be a consortium of some sort to define the initial protocol according to what’s available in the entire field of industrial design from schools and educators to companies and regulatory organizatons. because in the end it has to be given operational status and authority.

there’re many ways to approach this. i leave it open for others to propose their own idea.

here are some issues i think designers should be able to deal with which i think are important- feel free to add your thoughts and ideas to this section:

[1]find out about the industry standards of the design process-
[2]what is the focus today in

  • technology
  • safety
  • manufacturing
  • ergonomics / human factor

[3]availability and best use of material
[4] environmental issues and lifecycle studies dealing with

  • energy
  • time
  • money saving solutions in production and delivery
  • logistics
    [5]branding, identity
    [6] consumer research
    [7] future development and modifiction of a product according to predicted standards long term, mid term, and short term
    [8] linguistics of industrial design as it relates to aestetics, form, function, interaction, performance, hidden or visual qualities of a product
    [9] design strategy, management of resourcses and individuals, and maintenance of the procedure in a design process/logic from initial concept to the final product
    [10] standard, modern, and creative tools for carrying out a process
    [11]identification of resources for eventual use, research on modality and on advanced concepts for production.
    [12] multiple task environments and management issues
    [13] legal issues involving product design in US
    [14] future technologies
    [15] internet related functions and future development
    and more…

feel free to discuss anything you don’t understand why it should be there.

here’s another quote from chris:

“Retro is like Hamlet; same words, same writer, yet audiences still like it.” Also… “the absence of an alternative makes retro acceptable.”

well, right now i think BMW is focusing on style because they had the same look for almost more than two decades. the stylistic approach known as “banglization” of BMW was probably unescapable. but i don’t really feel his styling is inappropriate considering that BMW has now some sorta platform to work with.

i know a lot of people like to design BMWs whether they’re students, amateurs or pros, looking just at the folios and competitions because they’re probably one of the most interesting cars with a long history of development to work with. but i guess not all people’s ideas are what BMW considers acceptable.

we have to see what happens in future when bangle leaves because right now it’s too early to tell.

ID is one of the few fields where the designer can control his/her own context- and, in that, a personal definition of design. Schools also teach very different programs in very different ways.

In this big world, this is perhaps our biggest asset. How can you standardize point of view?

(also, certification comes hand in hand with liabliltiy insurance).

just as you standardize a product.

you are the product that you design. that’s the end result. why not then make it streamlined from the begin part. you can’t have it both ways if you want to call yourself a product designer/IDer.

Chris Bangle, Director of BMW Group Design, BMW AG:
“A great airplane designer once said ‘pretty planes fly faster.’ And then came the Stealth, proving the paradigm wrong.”

he really say that? what does it mean? which Stealth? the F-117? the B-2? very different looks. without knowing which, the comment is meaningless.

“Retro is like Hamlet; same words, same writer, yet audiences still like it.” Also… “the absence of an alternative makes retro acceptable.”

“Retro is like Hamlet”? i think Shakespeare is being insulted. he writes about human condition. which is timeless. spans millenia. and cultures. thats what makes the literature great. and so enduring. retro is mostly about looking back to a time-forgotten period and attempting to recreate it (or the emotion behind it). not as much about “absence… makes retro acceptable”. people want to relive better times. and its a relatively recent term. not quite the same imo. i think these are terrible quotes.

would Bangle be a board member for this exam? i certainly would object based on the above quotes.

The correct answer is NO

a huge percentage of what we do is conceptual, creative, abstract, ARTISTIC. How can you apply a test to any of these things, the results would be completely subjective.

I could see some sort of certificate system Granted for technical knowledge

Oh wait nevermind then you’d be an engineer (nothing wrong with that, I’m just saying)

I’d be interested to know what the architects on this forum are thinking. After all these are people with streetable cred(entials). Not to say that the AIA system isn’t flawed - each state or province requiring its own certification, et al. - but practices have to make certain guarantees. The tower won’t fall down, the condo roof won’t leak, the house won’t fall into the river, etc.

But, there are many spectacular examples of this kind of “certified” work. Fortunately, as professionals, they are insured.

Would getting professional insurance be the only real benefit of certification? If so, would it then be better to have the insurance industry provide some of the parameters for the credential?


insurance is not a precautionary measure for better standards but rather covering the archs/engs in case they screw up just like medicine and engineering. the only thing they might be able to do is to promote the culture for better standards ie not insuring those who continously fail as archs or engs. same as medicine, if a doctor has malpractice or few too many mistakes he won’t get insured anymore and his license will be revoked. he might even go to jail.

yeah in toronto.

i think he meant the 117.

as for hamlet, i think he’s not refering to work itself but the interpretation of it, just like i’ve heard many different interpretations and performances of mozart concertos. in that sense a modern version of the piece which is not played with period instruments and taste might differ to a great extent. everybody has their onw idea of how mozart wanted a certain instrument like violin or piano sound. some like to give it the soft sound attribute while others kinda deeper, more carved out sound, and still others light and spirited.

same with hamlet. i’m sure mozart was aware of shakespeare, not that it relates to this subject matter but one can also speculate in that avantgarde level where composers and writers find a common space they consider intriguing to experiment with and the effect continues into modern times.

therefore not only the original performance becomes the focal point but also all other instances of it.

i think he’s refering to that idea.

read [8]

also did you know that in certain cities in europe they have aestetic review for buildings? if some architect designs a building that is ugly according to their standards the city won’t give permit for it even if everything is done in correct code and building standards.

I am not necessarily for or against it. I guess I’ll vote for ‘core members’ and see how it goes. (try it on a small scale before going big).

Well Bryan, you say that industrial design is ARTISTIC ( I say it’s INDUSTRIAL DESIGN :wink: ), Artists do Artistic stuff., Designers do design.
As for what could go on artistic side of the exam:

Art history
Colours and understanding of psychology of colour/form
understanding of Shape
Evoking emotions
Morality of visual communication.

What are your thoughts?

i think he’s referring to 117 too. and its a slow fighter. slowest fighter we have i think. subsonic. so what he says is grounded in error. if it’s the B-2, which is fast and beautiful, that design dates back to WWII. bit old for paradigm revelation.

just as well. sounds like he’s arguing that its okay for a fast car to be ugly. he talking about BMW’s? w/out context, that quote sounds bad for BMW!

i think Hamlet comment is just poor analogy. very poor. someone see’s old design they recognize an old design. old style. or way of doing things. beauty of Hamlet is that there is no “old”. its transcendent. retro is exact opposite. it uses that bygone association. at very least his comment is confusing. maybe thats why designers should stick to communicating visually.

bigger point. if there was to be an Exam is this person qualified to make decision what should be on it? how it works? is Stark? is Graves? who? and why them? not opposed to idea. but it should done carefully/correctly or not at all imo.

F117 is rather ugly. B2 is beautiful, except for the squared off trailing edge of the wings. That’s a bit odd.

I’d love to see the “history” section of this ID exam. I’ve spoken to professionals who are great designers, but who have no clue who Gerrit Rietveld is. I don’t think that history, in terms of something testable (names, dates, places) is anything that is truly practical.

UFO: Do I understand you right…there would be different tests for various members of the ID community…that would work better than one single test.


Out of curiosity what benefit would our field derive from having exams to gain entry in the field?

If we created exams like this back in the early 80’s would Ideo, Frog, Ziba, Et al have grown past their strict product design roots and developed into the multi-disciplinary strategic design firms that they are now? probably not.

If we had a system analagous to the architectural review boards would styles to to homogenize and become repetitive or at least bent to the liking of the board members? That’s what has happened with cities that have strict reviews.

These threads always strike me as being overly protectionist, and demonstrate a real lack of professional self esteem. If your a good designer you will succeed. The market will seperate the good from the bad, messily as it always does. Adding layers of impotent hierarchy will lead to no concrete benefits for designers.

While sometimes I think it would be nice if there was something that separated true ID’ers from interior designers or the fakes that are all over TV, IMO, a professional exam would be a bad idea for the ID profession.

One aspect that I think is great about ID is that there is no perfect process, and very little that can only be done one way. Great things come from thinking differently than others, and having some type of standardized exam would require that everyone learn to do things, and think, in a similar way. Any ID’er worth the air they breathe should take it upon themselves to be as proficient as possible just on the principle of it; anyone who doesn’t care or puts little effort into ID deserve what they get (most likely fired and/or unable to get hired).