Industrial Designers being turned to CAD designers

The principal of a design firm called me yesterday. They’ve advertised on Core and other sites/magazines and they’re worried. They get plenty of responses, but very few send/show sketches. There are plenty of pretty CG renderings, but they want to see sketches. This person said, “We want to see how they think.” In the end, they’re not hiring anyone because even the ones they selected to interview comprise too small a pool to make the cost worthwhile for their firm. I’m not sure how they figure that, but I suspect it’s more an issue of time (in addition to money).

This person also said they’d sub-contracted a design out to a well-known Asian design firm. They were hoping for quality work. They saw no sketches. This place went straight to 3D. And this design firm was completely disappointed and won’t be going back to Asia (right or wrong, that overseas firm was used as a test for all Asian design firms).

Take away from that what you want.

the most secretive companies are auto companies and they show their design sketches all the time. actually some of them show their concepts before the product is out.

i think the truth is you’re not even a designer,

First of all, you have no idea who i work for, or our company policies.

Second, lets not lose focus here. My point was that if you aren’t successful as a designer, maybe you need to look at your process, and tool choice.

original Qs:

  1. are your designs ‘good designs’ from all aspects of design?
  2. Do your designs sell?
  3. Are your designs original, (not metoo products)?
  4. Are your designs receiving good reviews? Awards? Press?

Third, I don’t NEED to validate my first post because the questions still ring true. If you can’t anwser yes to any of them, you need to look at your design process. Simple. Not a rant, and not a personal attack. My guess is you have to argue your excessive use of CAD because you can’t prove its success. If you prove your techniques on the market, people may lay off your wild claims.

1- i don’t give a damn who you work for. it’s irrelevant. just post a sketch you did of an existing product.

2-i’ m not losing focus. it’s you who claims he’s the award winning sketcher who sketches fast not me.

3- your four questions are not applicable because we’re talking about the design process not if i won awards or not. i can name so many stupidly designed products that won awards or which are not even in use because no compnay wants to make it. all you need to do is do a search, and that i did for you. it’s from a seminar/class lecture by a company which stremlines businesses’ so they can be successful school

let’s see what they find important:

What we are going to talk about

Four local companies with killer products that had world-changing potential Why they didn’t make it (or haven’t so far)
Learning the easy way (from others’ mistakes)

Fundamental Requirements for Business Success

•Business Plan Necessary (YES, it really IS!)
•Internal roadmap for everyone in company
•External roadmap for investors
•Need it to raise money
•Need it to measure progress

(Business Plan continued)

•Keep internal B.P. short and sweet
•One-page strategic plan
•Six key measurements
• Project (product or service)
• Responsible party(ies) (management and personnel)
• Budget (financials)
• Completion date (timing and milestones)
• Expected results (business objectives)
• Status (monitoring)

Effective Management and Personnel

•Need skill sets and abilities, not just bodies
•Background and experience critical


•Of projects and tasks (not people)
•Need realistic and measurable milestones
•Must constantly evaluate tactical and strategic goals in light of progress being made

Adequate Capitalization

•What is “adequate”?
•Be conservative on revenue projections
•Financially strong investors are best assets

Cash Flow Management

•Very difficult to accurately forecast
•Must have enough to stay alive, keep current
•Burn Rate: Amount needed to pay ongoing obligations


•Systems in place to verify business plan objectives are being met in a timely fashion
•Quality circles
•Product group

Hurdles to Competition (there are no barriers; only hurdles of varying heights)

•First to market
•Inhibitors to being eaten by competitors


•The harder you work, they luckier you get

a product’s success has so little to do with sketching that it’s funny.
but we’ve given you a chance to post any sketches here, since you’re a new comer to this forum.

again all you need to do is to just draw an existing product and post it. show us your incredible talent!


That’s not quite a design process UFO. It’s not even a process at all. At most it’s a vague recipe for a start up company. BTW that website looks like a student project from a some undergrad business class.

come back with a real DESIGN process, (hopefully yours, that includes zero sketching) with a product developed under that process, and then we can talk.

^my post

UFO once again proves he has no clue to the internal structure or opperations of a design firm.

And post unrelated “research” to try and back up his rediculous claimes.

NA never said the sketches were award winning…the final products were/are.

And, as with you BS video game vitual descision making sinerio for a business model (Design Consultancy Organizational Models), so is the post about streamlining businesses on this post.

The poster was concerned about the need or lack there of for sketching in the development process. And it apprears that in the realm of consultancies, and most manufactuers sketching is still in high demand, as it should be. Not because I am a outstanding artist, but rather because in the early stages quick sketching (not photoreal renderings of works of art) and sketch mock-ups (markers, dowels, sculpy taped and cludged together) are the fastes and most effiecint ways fo communicating design intent and user interface to ergonomics/biometrics experts (PHD’s not Designers posing) and mechanical engineering for internal componet configuration and testing.

In all reality the only “designers” I know who only use CAD from the start are in the latter stages of the development process. They are woking within of directly under the engineering department (treated as the redheaded stepchild of the department), doing CAD modeling on projects that the engineers feel are not worth their time. For the ones working in consultancies they are also contracted directly by the engineering department of the client company. They are given a pile of competiting products told “Take the shape of this one, add the buttons off this one, and make it blue with our logo this big on the front. We need prototypes by next week and tools cutting in two.” The client has nor respect or appreaciation for design, nor do they want any real design. They just see ID as a cheap way to get a CAD model without sacrificing their engineers time or having to hire an actual engineer. The CEO or VP of Product Development rairly know your firms name, let alone the designers. They are just looking for the cheepest and quickest product possible.

If that is the situation that you want to be in then by all mean CAD is the only tool set you will ever need. If you want to be a vital link in the development of NEW products, or products that are more than landfill fodder sketching is the fastest way to comunicate to the CEO’s and VP who will be in attendance to your review meetings.

All CAD + No Sketches + No Consumer Focus = Undesireably Formed (or) Functioning Object.


Just wanted to weigh in.

Lots of people throwing stones about who has chops and who doesn’t. That never does much.

To the original poster:

I like being the guy who sketches his stuff and then makes sure no one is re-envisoning it into something which is easier to digitally model. We all design things to be the way they are because we see that as the best solution within the parameters. But I think I would hate it if they were having me do everyone else’s stuff too.

Its funny because I have heard the same complaint from guys who were sick with markers. “I am always rendering up someone elses line work and it is getting boring”.

If your company is focusing you into a set of skills you aren’t interested in developing further, sit down with your manager and ask to build a plan to expand you into an area of responsibility you like more. If they aren’t willing to help you dust off the old resume and look for somewhere that will appreciate you and give you a shot at the work you want to be doing.

I wish you luck in finding a resolution to your problems.

Ufo proved along time ago he’s nothing but hot air. Ignore him.

Maybe I’m wrong after all. A quick google search DID yield some products that are:

  1. on the market
  2. selling well
  3. didn’t require any sketching!

Easy, you know who might have “designed” those

i suggest you show your sketches then we can talk! till then good luck.

i’d rather read repeat junk mail!

I’ve shown my sketches and designs here. Back then you said the same thing. I showed mine. You didn’t. Why should anyone believe you’ll show anything now?

And a new corefolio page. That’s not helping you.

No, but the success of a product does pivot on the effective communication between all members of the team. From the CEO down to the consumer purchasing and using the product. It is the communication that the sketching is assisting with. The most important factor to the sucsess is the ability to connect with the users on a level no other profession can, and then visualise (sketch–>Mochup–>CAD–>Prototype–>Product) their needs and desires into a product that is proffitable for the client, craved by the consumers, and affordable to the target market.

If you can do this entirely in CAD efficently enough to have 3-5 projects on your plate at once…all the more powwer to you. But ALL major firms would say the most important technical skill a designer can have in the initial phases of development is the ability to communicate design intent through quick 30 - 60 sec sketches.

Give paints to a master u get a masterpiece.
Give paints to a hack u get shite.
Put real designer on CAD u get product.
Put hack designer on CAD u get shite.

Give paints to a master u get a masterpiece.
Give paints to a hack u get shite.
Put real designer on CAD u get product.
Put hack designer on CAD u get shite.

This is true…

Designing a product entirely in CAD, you also usually get Shite. Work through a design with experts…think through every detail…never let the software limit or hinder the design of the product…and you have a product that hit the shelf and actually causing orders for the competition to be canceled…or atleast returned…in your case to Dollar General or Wal-Mart.

oh really?
why should i show my sketches when i have a folio with rendered designs? anyway i show my initial drawings in person when required, only because i like to see the viewer’s reaction.

not helping me?!! i didn’t ask for help.

i wonder how this thread has got to the point of challenging each other to show sketches…it is a shame ufo can not just concede the point that sketching is an important part of the exploration processs. it is a little telling that ufo downplays sketching (yet is challenging everyone to post theirs without posting his own) but admitted to starting with a sketch and taking it directly into 3d. if sketching is such a waste of time why even bother sketching at all? the answer is, which has been stated SEVERAL times aready in this thread, it is in MOST CASES exponentially faster to rough out ideas on paper, and the better you sketch the easier it tends to be for someone else to understand what you are thinking…and the FACT remains that it is a skill that it is independent of a computer…

the original question/statement was about the increasing role of cad in the ider toolkit and is this trend likely to conitnue???

are you talking about dog food?

in that case all the major firms are dead wrong specially in today’s market.