Not an industrial designer...what does my Portfolio show?

My chances of being an industrial designer

  • Very likely
  • 50/50
  • No at all

0 voters

I’m not a designer
I have no background career experience in designing
I didn’t graduate with an industrial design major
My current job doesn’t have much to do with designing

but…I want to change my career path to become an industrial designer

As of now, besides giving it all to building my portfolio, how can I compete with those who have the right background in industrial designing?

Judging from my current portfolio, do you think I have a chance to getting an industrial design position?

Please check out my Portfolio…all comments are welcome!!!

slick renderings - one of the skills needed to be a designer seems covered.

Add some of your thought process to your corfolio like the sketch development.

those images make it seem clear that there is a strong desire, and thats half the battle.

What kind of training do you have?

no_spec, thanks for your comment.

I focused on Art while in high school and had done traditional pen/pencil sketches and paintings, but other than that I don’t have any formal training nor special workflow/techniques to develop my work beyond what I had known after high school. I would say most of what I know is self taught and research.

As for thought process, I usually start out with several sketches of my concept and proceed to 3d modeling/rendering.

Any recommendation as to what step I should embark next? (i.e. school, organizations, etc…)

Sweet renders! My suggestion would be to start working on your rapid visualization skills. The ability to generate multiple alternatives in a compelling visual manner is a huge part of being a designer. It’s clear that you’ve got the 3d stuff down, but I’m guessing you don’t want to be a CAD monkey right? What employers will look for is your thought process on paper, they want to see you exploring, solving, perfecting through sketches before you jump into Alias and spend countless hours setting up photo-real renders.

I would suggest picking a topic of interest to you, let’s say it’s ski boots. Spend a week researching it, find out the problems, what are the tends, talk to some skiers if you know any see what they thing could be improved. Then spend a week sketching, simple quick thumbnails (100 of them) then more developed forms (20 of these) then post it up on Core77 in the project log, get some feedback, keep researching, then starting whittling you options down by the end of the 3rd week, and by the fourth week your into the final renders, storyboards, etc.

Basically this is an abbreviated school project; but it’s the sort of stuff that separates good design thinkers from good modelers.

If you do this, and you are posting your progress on Core it will give everyone a better sense of your abilities and then their advice on what to do next will be more insightful.

Good luck!

choto, thank you for you advice, very useful information.

From concept to final rendering, it took me about 1-3 days total. Since I only have couple hours after work to produce these designs, I don’t think I can spend a lot of time to do researching. But you’re right, I should be showing more thought process with sketches and development. I just haven’t had time to scan my sketches.

Do you have any advice for someone like me who doesn’t have the background to pursue industrial design. How hard is it to compete with those who have degrees in it?

I am not going to be as kind as the rest.

You’re renderings are good. You show the capability of being able to press a few buttons within Hypershot, or some other rendering package. It is a very easy to learn skill in a large tool chest that makes an Industrial Designer.

Anyone is able to be an industrial designer. But don’t be fooled into thinking that all you need to do is be able to manipulate CAD and Hypershot. I don’t get the impression from your postings that you think this way…but it also isn’t 100% clear either.

Go to school. Even if it is part time. Call some industrial designers in your area. Take them to lunch. Ask them to help give you guidance.

What you’re asking for on a discussion forum is impossible to provide.

You can be an industrial designer, that i have no doubt. I have no way of telling where you are in the sense of skill from what you’ve shown so far.

Industrial Design is a problem solving process, not a final rendering.

A potential employer is going to demand a design degree. They’re also going to ask you to design valued solutions against a design brief. You will conduct research, generate concepts, communicate those concepts. You will work closely with Marketing and R&D and will need to know a bit about both worlds.

In my first two professional years as a Jr. designer, I was asked to design:

A baby stroller
A cardiac-cath remote
A coffee-bean roaster
A semi-trailer refrigerator
A collection of childrens toys
A folding car keyfob
A hairdryer
A new type of car battery
A kitchen mixer
A bone-densitometer
A planter-bench
A user-interface for a cherry-picker
A pedicure spa
A tradeshow booth
A software box
A bagel-slicer
An animation of a new type of scuba-mask
A swiveling-display laptop
An interactive childrens book/reader

Would you feel comfortable taking on those assignments?
How would you go about them?

ip_wirelessly / cg - thanks guys, awesome tips

Please don’t give me just sugar comments, I need you guys to be as frank with me as possible, because that’s how I can improve.

I use SolidWorks for all of my designs and PV360 as my render engine (very similar to Hypershot).

I’m a mechanical/applications engineer, so industrial design wasn’t my choice when I was in school. As time progresses, I very much fall in love with industrial design and at the same time regret not having to go into ID in the first place. I guess designing is more like a side hobby to me. However, I do want to make a career change as my passion grows with ID. If you do something you love then I guess it’s no longer a job.

cg - the projects you were working on seems very interesting, I would be comfortable doing any design project on that list. If I were to tackle any project, I would definitely do some research on it and find out what’s the most practical/simplest design solution possible, then moving on to sketches/modeling/rendering.

my short answer is this. go to school. i have a couple friends that got into design jobs without a degree through hard work, but their salary was lower because of it, and there is nothing worse than to not be earning what everyone else is with your same skillset.

Also not just to have that piece of paper, but to learn the ID process, your knowledge in M.E. will be a big plus, but you dont want to continue to look at projects as an engineer, rather with knowledge of engineering. I dont know you so i cant assume that is the case with you, but thats my 2 cents.

Also not just to have that piece of paper, but to learn the ID process

dziner82, thank you for your input, learning the ID process is exactly what I long for, I’m sure there are many valuable methodologies/techniques to be learned, otherwise anyone with conceptual/modeling skills can be an industrial designer without the need to go to school.

there is nothing worse than to not be earning what everyone else is with your same skillset.

This is also a very critical information as well, I had a misconception that any “good” designer would earn the same.

I guess my main concern here is to find a school that would fit my limited time schedule; I highly doubt it. Going back to school full time is definitely not an option either, given the state of this economy.

My answer is go to school too.

From my perspective, your rendering is really nice, but it doesn’t prove that you can design yet.

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how good you are right now, without the myth of traditional design education would make you get stuck in some political level anyway. In reality, most people can do design, rendering, problem solving, think 3-5 step ahead whatever. But not everyone can convince others they can do that as a designer professionally without a degree. This is not about the fact that you are good or not, but it’s about politic in the modern profession.

Without a right degree, it is hard to get start in a right position that support you to be a good designer in the long run.

my_computer, thank you for your input.

I agree with you as well that an ID degree is indispensable for a professional career. But like I said, my “main concern here is to find a school that would fit my limited time schedule.” Do you know any program out there that would offer a full curriculum without the sacrifice of a full time job?

Where are you located?

Where are you located?

I’m in Irvine, CA

I’m the devil’s advocate, but hear me out.

Its all about talent and portfolio. I jumped from Art Director to Industrial Designer by sheer will, hard work and an awesome portfolio. School is good but to be honest with you I scored a job with a small manufacturer and now I’ve spent the last four years MAKING money learning the ropes instead of PAYING money to a school. Did I have to settle for less money? Yes, but I’ll tell you this: I’ve directly presented to buyers at Target, Best Buy, and Wal Mart to name a few. I’ve traveled to China. I have several products on store shelves right now. If I would have spent all that time in school instead I would be up to my eyeballs in student loans and searching for employment with graduates ten years younger than me. The money will correct itself if you are worthy of it.

I’m not here to crap all over design schools. What I’m getting at is if school is a difficult time and money issue (which it seems to be for you) I would focus like a hot lazer on your portfolio. A really great portfolio that drips with talent will trump a degreee and a mediocre portfolio any day of the week. Plus, it sounds like you already have a M.E. degree. That’s awesome. You can become a great Designer/Engineer crossover.

Being a good designer requires eyes that stay wide open and a thirsty brain. You are off to a good start. Good luck!

P.s. Feel free to take me to lunch whenever you want. :laughing:

There are part-time offerings, I don’t think anyone here reccomends that path though.
The real value of design education comes from all the sweat, blood and tears in the studio.
24/7 designing with a bunch of over caffinated design junkies can’t be replicated half-time.
You will learn as much or more from each other as from your teachers! this is an important fact.

Go to school. You will learn way more from peers than a mentor. Just think about how many products you are going to design in your own time. Then think about 16 very talented students designing 16 different things at the same time. At the end of the project, you will get 60-70% (the rest will be mistakes) out of you own design and 30-40% from others.