Is it too late to make the transition?

I studied Product Design and graduated last year. Although some projects we worked on were a bit dull I did enjoy the course especially after I was able to get my hands “dirty” (working on models, presentations etc.)

Due to our family business in interior design and me helping out a lot during the last 5 years I feel I have somehow gradually been pushed into this field without really wanting it. Now most of my resume reeds interior and partially graphic design.

I was wondering whether it is too late to make the transition back to product design? What are the best ways of doing so? Going to grad school just to get contacts? Working on my own projects? Even if I do that I will still lack experience in this field. And from what I’ve seen so far - no real world experience means no job. I’m also not sure whether I can afford an internship especially if it’s unpaid.

Any suggestions?

That’s a tough one. There are a few roads you can go that might work.

Grad School (more costly than that unpaid internship though)

Internship

Freelance- try to pick up anything product related freelance

Family Business- take advantage of this as an asset rather than a restraint. Do you best to work in product design wherever you can. Design some custom tableware, ceramics, or furniture for a clients space. Pitch it and see if they go for it and farm out the custom production to build a portfolio.

What school did you goto?

Five years in interiors is enough to sidetrack a product design career, but it’s not a lost case. More than that, if you carefully target your specific skill set to the right market, you’ll turn what you now consider a liability into an asset. Consider architectural and interior design (not “decorating”) firms that can use a product designer with a feel and experience for spatial problem-solving. Industrial designers rarely work on this scale (interiors) so you may turn out an interesting “hybrid” some firms would kill to have. For instance, architectural practices are sometimes commissioned to do custom furniture, and interior designers are often asked to source unusual items over standard retail fare. Sell yourself as the person capable of designing and getting produced just such stuff in these offices, most of whom are only happy to stay focused on their core business and competencies.

My suggestion is to forget any additional schooling or demeaning unpaid internships (which do little good for your self-esteem) and get to work “seriously” designing AND building one-offs or small-series productions, either all by yourself or with the aid of shops/artists/craftspeople in your area. What you need is a gradual transition to product. Once in the “household goods” realm, more options will open up.

Interior design is so closely related to and highly oriented towards trend studies, fashion,matching colors creating a theme etc. Companies like Target expect their industrial designers to be in tune with such ideas to a great extent. If I were you I would try and make my way back into ID by focusing on either freelancing or working with similar companies. :neutral_face:

Thanks for the feedback so far!

Yo: “Family Business- take advantage of this as an asset rather than a restraint.”

  • I did try to use this as an advantage as I thought I could use the contacts to move on eventually. Unfortunately it didn’t really work out the way I wanted it to. I just was never able to get through with my ideas - like what do I know. I guess one never grows up in their parents eyes. Therefore I decided to move away in order to get some time for myself and concentrate on what I wanna do.
    I studied in England, at KIAD just outside London.

UNIQUE: “If I were you I would try and make my way back into ID by focusing on either freelancing or working with similar companies.”

  • I have been starting to look for companies that might see this background as an advantage haven’t really found that many so far though.

wondering:

You might even want to look into the packaging design industry. It will be a good combination for your graphic, industrial design skill set. Check out Pacific trade International (Cheasapeake Bay Candles), Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s secret, Linen & Things…

Getting yourself into packaging will be a good transition from interiors, and then you could slowly progress your way into either an open or focused product category of your choice. :sunglasses:

wondering:

Im in a similar situation as yourself. I studied industrial design in college and ended up working in the family business. It’s a custom furniture manufacturing company, but the problem is that they just manufacture designs for other people. So I rarely get to any of my own designs–Im spend most of time reviewing client concepts and overseeing manufacturing and pre-production. Although this has given me alot useful knowledge with furniture manufacturing and design–I still miss actually DESIGNING the stuff.

But as it turns out I just got an offer from another furniture company as a real designer. The cool thing is that they were looking for a designer with strong production knowledge.

So my point is that its never too late and to make the transition, you just have to take what you have learned and apply it to your next move. I would say since you’ve been in interior design, think about residential or office furniture. Send your resume to Target, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, or whoever.

Good luck

Are you interested in working in the furniture and housewares field? If you are, then your experience thus far could be very valuable. However, if you want to move into transportation, for instance, it might be harder to bridge the gap.

If you are interested in staying with interiors-related products, pick-up all the shelter magazines and check out the manufacturers for employment ideas. Check out the 100% design reports on Core too.

mick design: “Are you interested in working in the furniture and housewares field? If you are, then your experience thus far could be very valuable. However, if you want to move into transportation, for instance, it might be harder to bridge the gap.”

I have never really considered myself as a dedicated consumer-electronics designer therefore I think changing into this field would be rather tough. Although I am interested in cars I could only imagine myself working on the interior. It would be very tough to get into this very competitive field though.

I have now started to work on my portfolio as I didn’t have the time last year. As designers who are probably in a position of being able to hire other designers, what would you want to see in a portfolio for a interior-related designer? Does anybody have any suggestions? ( I do know that this should go into the portfolio section of this forum but I think it fits this thread therefore I would appreciate any response) For the moment my portfolio is very versatile as I have been working on many deffirent things for the last couple of years. Here is the link to my coroflot portfolio:

http://www.coroflot.com/uljana_egli

I put this up to try this site out. I know I should probably show more sketching but this is one thing I’m working on now. Anyways … further suggestions are welcome!

thats a creative person’s portfolio alright. I like the last three slides, though you need a less compressed shot of your lighting project. With sketches like yours of anatomy, you should have some great product shot.
Not a lost cause, obviously. Just get out there and hawk your wares. There are a lot of high end places that might appreciate your blend of skills. Jus dont be afraid to get out there.