No ID schools in my area. HELP!

I went to school for Architecture for 2 years until I figured that it wasn’t for me. I am currently working for an Architectural firm as CAD Tech. Now, I really want to go back to school for Industrial Design, however there are no colleges (within a reasonable distance) in my area that offer the program. In addition, I am not in a situation right now where I can more or less “relocate” to attend a college that offers an ID program.

Is there other routes in obtaining an ID degree? I’ve read that a Bachelor’s in ID could be substituted by degrees in design, graphics, or mechanical engineering. Is there any truth in this, if so, what is the best route to take?

There is a college nearby that offers Graphic Design, and Mechanical Engineering. Please give me some insight on the best route to take. I’d appreciate any help/advice that is offered.

Thank you.

yea its mostly true,…

if you are artistic and creative naturally, and have the smarts to go to a respectable college, scrap all that thumbs-up-each-others-asses ID shananigans and get an engineering degree. You wont be sitting around for four years with “professors” who love to listen to themselves talk about world changing ideas… that they strangely arent implementing yet preaching.

With it, while most IDers will be flexing muscles and bickering with mere “drawings” of airbrushed-look cars online and worrying about fonts and marker colors, you’ll actually have concrete useful knowledge and wield a bigger command for higher salary and more respect. Always remember, theres a huge difference between mere talented artists (dime a dozen) and designers. Most IDers are more artists than designers. Rendering jockeies…(although kickass renderings as they may be).

Engineers can be useful designers more easily and often, than designers can be useful and realistic engineers.


Sounds like the last post is an I.D. reject and is a little bitter. That happens with a competitive natured education. Don’t listen to anything they said, it simply is not true. You’ll find egos in any profession. I am an I.D and work with engineers, business, graphic people, as well as know many architects. I will tell you that if you want to be an Industrial designer, you need and I.D. degree. You will not be a good I.D. with a graphic degree, and most definately with an engineering degree. There are specific purposes for each of these fields, and though they may overlap a bit, they are all very different as a whole. If you don’t want to do what it takes to get a degree, you can find other ways to get into the field, though most, if not all, are much more difficult than simply getting the degree in the first place. I was in a very similar position to your positition (as were most I.D.ers I know) and I made the sacrifices to get into the profession.

Bottom line, if you truly want to be an Industrial Designer, make the sacrifices to get the Industrial Design degree at the proper school for you (yes, the best I.D. school for you won’t be the best I.D. school for everyone). If this is too much for you, then do something else.

I appreciate all the replies.

So, is my best bet to just go back and finish my Architecture degree and try to move into the ID field from there? I’ve noticed that a lot of people have been doing it this way. I’m guessing this way I’ll also have more options open for me as well. There is no way for me to relocate since I just got married, just moved into our new house (new construction), and my wife is already established here as a PA. I need to hurry up and make a decision ASAP. I’m 25 and not getting any younger.

Thanks for all the help thus far, any additional info/suggestion will be greatly appreciated.

I would say that these “other” ways of getting into ID are becoming more and more the rare exception to the rule as corporations develop established design teams. Middle leg’s statements where more true a generation ago, it’s a different, more competitive world.

Companies have engineering teams to figure out how to make things, marketing teams to figure out how to sell things, and they rely on design more and more to tell them what the heck these THINGS are, do, stand for, and look like. The ability to generate ideas that are relevant to the business you are working for as well as the consumer you are designing for, coupled with the ability to communicate those ideas to people who may not have a long term vision, and the tenacity to see that vision through the many hurdles on the way to a mass produced object rarelly collide in one person. A design degree prepares this skill set better than any other form of education.

Writing off most designers as artists shows how little some people understand the feild, yet they give out advice as if they know it all. Unfortunately, as much work that has been done to educate people about what a designer really does, people are still mis-informed, in our own forum no less!

In the end I would say you can make anything happen with enough will, determination, and skill but I would suggest that you figure out where you are, where you want to be, and then plot a straight line inbetween. Statisticly I think it’s the most reliable way to make your dream come true.

Now make it happen, good luck man. You can do it!

So basically they are telling you to leave your wife and go to a reputable college for ID and gank yourself a “skill set.” (Which obviously isn’t even an option I suspect, since I seem to be the only one who read your post carefully)

Completely ignoring the actual question and considering the situation you mentioned, this post turns into a stubborn defense for world designers.

IF there were NO ID schools, what alternative degree would you get? Thats the qestion. Arch? graphic? fine art? or ENGINEERING? (all the more popular and guarantee there are plenty around his new home in PA). I call noshit on, of course getting a RISD or (enter hot shot ID college) is much better than anything else if you have unlimited resources and an awaiting mansion .5 mile away from campus. Let’s give him more realistic advice then, telling him common sense and wishing him good luck. I say mechanical engineering. Most useful.

“The ability to generate ideas that are relevant to the business you are working for as well as the consumer you are designing for, coupled with the ability to communicate those ideas to people who may not have a long term vision…” You can learn that more in three months at a firm/company than four years at a ID school and going through the motions.


Total BS

No firm is going to pay you for three months to screw up. It takes four years of school plust those 3 months just to begin to be a profitable employee.

Oh, I read it, the question was wether or not there are other ways into ID to which was replied that there are but it is often a difficult, frustrating, and arduous road that might not pay out vs simply comiting to the a path with a fixed amount of time which will loop you into the industry, network you with a peer group that has a common goal, and give you the skills you need.

There are plenty of schools like CIA or Columbus that are cost effective. They’d probably even lop a year off for you, get out in 3. I still stand by this as the most practical way to get in at this point in time.

Screw up? who said they’re just gonna stand there facing the wall? Is that what ALL entry levels do? Either “screw up” or spearhead adamantly hitting the ground running with their:

“”… ability to generate ideas that are relevant to the business (they) are working for as well as the consumer (they) are designing for, coupled with the ability to communicate those ideas to people who may not have a long term vision…“” ? Is it all Black or white? So you MUST have mastered the above IN SCHOOL before you even spell monster on your browser? NO ONE in the world can posess those magical abilities without an ID degree? That right there is total BS.

All of those (above items) are learned MORE through working experience than through what they blab to you in a crit for 4 years. I’d be surprised to see how useful an entry level “IDer” might be if he walked into an interview and claimed to have learned (above items) in SCHOOL and is ready to work for your firm. Unless he isn’t an entry level, but a 5+ year. He would get laughed at but praised for his cute gumption.

But enough going in circles… here’s the deal. We have left leg here, his BOTH legs are in concrete permanantly in PA, and he has a burning desire to be a IDer no matter what. Now, the only “degrees” within his reach are everything BUT. Read again: No other options. Thats why I say mech engineering would be more useful for him (granted he is naturally creative/artistic/smart/etc) to eventually be active in the world of the ID MORE SO THAN “graphic design” or “architecture” (all of which HE mentioned for advice, and also claiming he knows ppl who actually have done this). I’d rather that advice than, sorry kid, unless its concrete accredited ID program with 3.0 average at a school whose name makes you gasp, you’re shit outta luck, go reach into the box and pull out another completely different career option. Black or white.

Its “difficult, frustrating, and arduous road” for 100% of everyone in the situation. …ok, left leg, i guess your shit outta luck. Don’t ever look back. BUT i’ll still wish you “good luck.” Hope my advice helped. Not.