Newbie Intro


My name is Rob. This is my first post and intro.

Just like to say that this site will be very valuable for me. I am interested in getting into design full time. I am a engineering technologist and am looking for something that is more creative. I have my eye on Industrial design. All the programs I looked at are 4 years and I think that is too long for me, are there any programs that are 2 year diploma. I am still considering going for the degree, but I feel that it is too late for me to take such a long program. I am from Canada so could anyone recommend some schools that offer good ID programs.

Also when I was in Vancouver I went to Emily Carr and talked wih someone in admissions and he said that they look for people that are at a level of 8 and 10 being lenardo devinci. If you were that good already why would you go to school. What do you guys think. As for a portfolio, I dont have any drawings or anything, what do they expect, just hand drawings and models.

Thanks guys/gals,

o ya. I found this course at SAIT.

Let me know what you think about it.

Personally other than the 3 whole ID related courses I do not see much difference than what you would have already taken for the Eng Tech certificate, assuming that it is similar classes as here in the states.

I have seen various 2 yr programs over the past couple of years, however they are simply CAD drafting certificates that have jumped on the “Design” band wagon and renamed the curiculum.

I went through a 5 yr program, with 2 yrs of Mech/Electrical dual major engineering prior to switching. Personally I feel that 5 yrs was not enough to learn all that was needed.

it has a couple of ID courses, but ya they just renamed the course too, from computer integrated design. Alot of Auto cadd and solid works. What other program do you guys use.

Also when I was in Vancouver I went to Emily Carr and talked wih someone in admissions and he said that they look for people that are at a level of 8 and 10 being lenardo devinci. If you were that good already why would you go to school. What do you guys think. As for a portfolio, I dont have any drawings or anything, what do they expect, just hand drawings and models.

Who the hell told you this about Emily Carr?

If that is what they told you, they must have been smoking some of the well known BC Bud.

I have taught at Emily Carr and it is my opinion that ECIAD is a mediocre design school at best. There are some good students, but it needs a lot of work. I taught a 3rd year design studio and I was astounded at the lacking skills with respect to concept iteration and development. Basic skills like sketching was anything but DaVinci like.

I can’t speak directly for their entry/acceptance requirements. But if there is a portfolio review to get into the school, there were definitely a handful of students that I have no clue how they got accpeted based on 8 out of 10 of a DaVinci scale.

I drove there with my girlfriend from calgary for fun and thought I would look at emily carr. So I brought some of my designs, just some sketches that I have done. I dont have any sketching experience beside the time i put in trying to get my ideas out of my head, so I dont forget them. So basicly we were taikng about the course and I told him that I don’t have any background in art and thats when he said that 8 out of 10 speech. I guess at the time I didn’t understand, so I didn’t show him my work cause it wouldn’t be up to the expectations of the school, so I thought I would save my self some embarrassment. But I thought I would take the program to get better. Am I wrong, Is ID program only for people that have the art experience. He was also asking if I could draw a face in detail to look realistic, I said no, Can all ID pro’s draw faces, and landscape that look realistic. After going to that interview it kinda turned me off of pursuing this, but I am back again 2 years later looking into it. So I am sure that this is what I want.

You were most definitely mislead. You do not need to be 80% DaVinci to be an Industrial Designer.

No, you do not need to be able to draw a face or landscape with detail (this can be learned)

My fundamental problem with ECIAD is that I get the impression they are trying to create Artisans, not Designers. I also find their emphasis on sustainable design to be myopic. Well intentioned, and important…but the amount of emphasis placed on it within the program is what I find myopic.

I find it very frustrating that a faculty member would discourage you from exploring ID more.

Sidenote: Drawing is a very valuable and important skill to have for design. But it can be learned. You can learn to draw sufficiently enough to be a good designer. Post some of your sketches in the Sketching section of this forum and you will get some constructive guidance as to how to improve.

have you looked at Carelton ID program in Ontario? I went there and can highly recommend it and think it has probably the best ID program in Canada.


Well to be honest, never touch autocad, use solidworks and pro to deliver the “Surface” files to the engineering divisions of our clients. Magority of most projects are worked out through handsketching in painter 9 and quick mockups in the shop. Then the CAD is used to flushout the individual components and to get the final physical CNC or SLA model to test the real world fit, feel, and interaction.

I do agree that you do not need to be a Di Vinci be design, however you do need to beable to efficently and accuratly convey your ideas first to the rest of the team and then ultimatly to the client. Many will say CAD programs can do this better than the hand, however this only true if changing minor aspects and details.

The most important thing to being a designer is the melding of multiple disciplins into one being, and a desire to learn everything you can. Be a sponge of information and learning…set aside time each day to research something.

thanks guys for your wisdom. Carelton is one of the schools I have been looking at. I am also looking at OCAD too. So I want to apply at these places and they require a portfolio. Honestly I dont have one and I looked in some of the ones in the portfolio section, do they need to be take good to apply for ID. Also In the ID program is there still alot of sketching classes and cad type classes.

Honestly I dont have one and I looked in some of the ones in the portfolio section, do they need to be take good to apply for ID. Also In the ID program is there still alot of sketching classes and cad type classes.

I do not have any experience with the Canadian schools but, here the portfolios were mainly just to prove that you had the basic artistic skills needed to ensure that you will be able to perform to a bare minimum in the classes. Different schools look for different quality in the portfolios, schools heavy in the arts will focus more on the portfolio. Here in the states most state schools have even droped their portfolio requirments, or give 1 yr grace period for you to compile one through the foundation art classes prior to fully entering the ID program.

In the art centers, they are heavy on the sketching and styling aspect. But most schools will offer classes that teach the basic principles of sketching and rendering. Then will utilize and improve these skills through the remainder of your ID classes.

As far as CAD modeling most schools I know of offer 1 or 2 CAD classes, just enough to so you learn the basic principles of how modelers work. They feel that because there is standard software, and there are far more important skill sets that need to be worked on during school that this aspect can be learned more efficiently out of school once you know which package you will be using.

What I personally like to look for in an ID program is a balance between traditional ID, marketing, business, basic engineering, psychology, sociology, cultural anthropology, and communication courses. This is because the ID professional is the modern essence of the “Renaissance Man”… or Woman. Da Vinci is a good example. Designers have to have the ability to instantly become the experts in any given product category, while simultaneously thinking like the clients CEO, VP of marketing, end-user, and designer.

what type of programs do you mainly learn in ID. I really like the ones in the protfolio section what kind of programs do you use for those.

Many are simply illustrator, photoshop, or ailias sketchbook. To the untrained eye many of the images that look photoreal are actually photoshop renderings, or photoshop enhanced Rhino, Solidworks, or Cobalt.

Then most of the final eye candy is 3d studio max, Alias, and Maya. They are used mainly just to get the eye candy shot, and with the exeption of Alias will only be utilized in school. They are simply tools that are available to students usualy un-known or unofficially by the school. Most are self taught, and actually that is what proves the most usefull in the portfolio. The ability to see a need and take the time and effort to solve it, such as learning software not taught as a class.

I would really like to figure out how to use that kind of software. Are all these programs pc based or can I run them with OS X. Ya, some of them look so real.

With exception to the CAD programs they are available on both platforms. Photoshop, Painter, and Alias Sketchbook are easy to use. It is just sketching and painting in a digital media utilizing a Cintique or Wacom tablet.

But they are just tools, any one can use them. Anyone can learn the software, knowing the programs inside and out will not make a designer. That is why schools do not put emphasis on teaching the software. There are still some old school designers doing quite well that never touch a computer for design. Everything is still pen and paper…then a cad jockey will translate the designs into 3d for engineering.

I just want to point that out because over the last 4 years of mentoring students I have seen too many who felt that simply because they new the software and the techniques that they were great designers and deserving of any job they wanted. Every one is now working a mediocre non-design related job. Design is almost a state of mind…It is the creative problem solving through the combining of Art, Science, Psychology, Sociology, and Marketing.

Well I am trying to decide betwwen UofA, Carleton, or MDT @ SAIT with advanced furniture design.

also do you learn alot of protoying methods. such as vacuum molding and 3d printing.

Thanks again people, you guys are very helpful.

ML, your posts have been very informative- regarding software and otherwise… I’m currently an Industrial Design student and appreciate the insight.

what school are you going to ^^^^

Again it depends a lot on the school. Some have inhouse CNC for the urethane foam, but most still only offer hand fabrication. This is because they want you to learn the skills needed to quickly product sketch mockups for evaluation, and then secondaraly how to finish the various materials into a presentation model. At the school phase it is essential that you learn the fundamental skills prior to moving on to the more technical aspects of rapid prototyping such as SLA, SLS, or RTV. They make great models but so can someone with a skilled and patient hand. Infact it was the ability to make quick yet acurate sketch models was a major factor in landing my first job out of school. But I would not sugest that being the strongest part of your portfolio as you can quickly be pigion holed as a model maker, as with having CAD software as your strongest.

I am still practicing my sketching skills, wil that be a big part of the ID program. I am getting the gnomon dvd on perspective. I just hope my portfolio is good enough to get in too ID.