Portfolioless, frustrated Dreamer with Questions YOU CAN ANS

I am a high School student who wants to study ID desperatly. However, as I read this forum and do other research it seems to be pretty difficult to find what I want. I know knowing what I must do with my life gives me a strange kind of advantage. Only, getting there for me is possibly more difficult.

I am curious if when the readers on this forum debate the conflict between the majority of the design world(the crass beautification and consumer product end of things) with the conceptual, forward thinking, actualy responsive to human need in emotional, physical, and evironmental issues… design world. I am thinking of people like Marcos Novak ( Web Page Under Construction ) and sites like SensoryImpact.com . Working at IDEO (http://www.ideo.com ) is really the ridiculous dream I have.

Well, are these two world as seperate as I imagine them? My second question is, wouldn’t a better study of the high concept design be made at an academic school as opposed to art school? I read that the high quality art schools(RISD, Parsons) do focus on the large issues. Is this true?

I have no portfolio. Art skills that are nothing special. A high school transcipt that is sketchy at best. Really low SAT math. I am not even really sure I have the chops to make it in ID. I have a great passion for it, nervous about whether I have the orginal ideas the back it up. Classic conflict inside of critic, and “doer.”

How did some you realize you wanted to study ID? Do you feel like you were capable of the ideas you have now, without the education that fostered them? Did you make ID before you studied it. Did you make any kind of art? Should I be good at this already?

Overall I am curious if anyone knows of any academic schools that have quality design programs that really mix the two studys in ways that suit what I a talking about. Is this asking for too much? If anyone knows a place that would be a starting ground(easy to get into) that would be a good place to try and transfer my way to the top?

If you want ID then do it. Start putting a portfolio together. You can always start at a jr college to improve your grades then transfer to a stronger program at another school. Columbia College in Chicago has an open enrollment policy. You may not like the ID program there but you can get a good foundation… then transfer.


You are obviously more articulate and intellegent than 90% of the people I went to high school with so I am sure you will eventually overcome the lack of art skills, high school transcript, and SAT scores. Your real and heartfelt interest in the field at your stage is unusual – people will recognize that and it will be a huge asset.

I am not an expert on schools or the field – I am in the same boat you’re in, only I already have an undergraduate degree (also with sketchy transcript) and I am 31 yrs old – so take my advice with a grain of salt. I do think you will eventually need to demonstrate some artistic skill and you will need a portfolio. Our culture thinks that artistic skills are some sort of mystic thing than only a few are born with. In reality it is something you develop.

Your strategy to get into one school and then transfer does sound like your best option. Of course it would be best to get into a college that does have an ID program tha you could eventually work your way into. Even if you don’t get into a design program right away you should take the time to develop a transcript that doesn’t suck… and draw. You are smart so you will also find ways to demostrate your interest in the field in the form of portfolio pieces. You obviously have the brains and creativity to throw together some ID concepts (no more BS about not having the chops) – many schools love to see sketch books and even writing that shows conceptual skills.

Hi there - as above posters mentioned already one of the most important things to have is PASSION for the field that you are going into. If you have an immense amt of interest in it, find the path that will take you to your goal…

If you do not have a portfolio, take art classes (where do you live btw?) so that you have somewhere to start. A lot of art schools don’t expect anything extremely fancy - just evidence that you can draw and think analytically. Being articulate helps alot as you’ll need that skill for presentation of your ideas to fellow peers or clients. Do you go to a hs where they offer art classes? Do you live near an art school where they offer classes to high school students (assist in portfolio preparation.) For example, I know Parsons has one. The portfolio is an essential part of your application and that should be your priority right now. If you have questions about the content of your portfolio, you can always speak with an admissions person at the school you are interested in and they will usually give you some helpful feedback.

I went to an art school (but did not complete - am looking to transfer to an academic school), very much concentrated on the “artsy” part of ID and I didn’t like it. It is really up to the individual but since you are coming fresh out of high school, going to a uni as opposed to an art school will give you an opportunity to gain a more well rounded education. In general (I am not saying this applies to all art schools), there is a lot to be desired in the general education program at a lot of art schools (maths, science, foriegn language, etc subjects). When researching schools, ensure you get a course description of all the modules / classes so you know what you’re getting yourself into. Every school has their own philosophy, whether it may be conceptual or technical, and ensure you find out what it is (speak with teachers and students) before you hand any money over.

For me, I had been studying Graphic design for 2 years but grew interested in ID because of the limitless opportunities that one has with choice of materials, form, funcionalities of products… I do have a lot of problems with what ID is about at times, essentially the mass production of waste (at the end of the day, your product is going to the junk yard / landfill) and this has made me question whether this is definitely what I want to do with my life, but YOU as the designer can choose what will become of your ideas / products. For example, you can either choose to make a sustainable product (ie powered by hand) or something that adds more waste to the environment (ie use of nonrenewable energy like fossil fuels /cars/ burping carbon dioxide into the air). Those sustainable design classes are ohh so important in that respect.

Good luck with your portfolio and feel free to post any further questions you may have

Thanks a lot for the advice. I do keep a sketchbook, and have made a few welded and ceramic pieces. I hadn’t considered the idea that those things might actually be a “portfolio.” It may just be my high standards. When you spend time at places like core77, any non-revolutionary work seems rightfully pale in comparison. As of now, I go to a pretty artistic boarding school in western Mass. Which is also may be an advantage. I grew up, and live in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Thanks laureng for the Columbia link. I check out their requirments, and they don’t require a portfolio! Anyone have any other comments on Columbia.

Does anyone know anything about The New School of Architecture in San Fransico?

Also, I know its cheesy… but I’d really love a discussion as to how and why people were drawn toward ID.

I am drawn toward it because I sense that it can be the most primary way to actually participate in the “future.” Many issues of globalization (i.e. the growing gap between rich and poor) can be solved by design of all kinds. I am also just real geek for new ideas, however artsyfartsy they may be. I get off on mininmalism for some reason. And I think pretty efficent stuff makes people happier, and potentially better people. Nobody can deny the fact that in our world of gross overproduction and total interconnectivity, our sense of indentity is largely made up of the objects we surround ourselves with. The specific purchasing choices we make often seem to be major dividing line between such surfacly similiar people. I hope we can find way to eliminate and design systems that allow for new healthy kinds of indentity. I have this theory that pop culture knowledge might have a place in ID. I am kind of a culture freak (movies,music,tv,art, etc) Somehow I can find a way to blend knowlege of others’ ideas throughout history into something new and usefull. I am an information freak. I have this feeling like we are on this verge of a HUGE ID craze. I just really want to jump right in, and I sense that 2005 is an amazing opportunity to do so.

Anyone else sense a huge design boom? Or is it only that as I grow up I notice it? With all these TV shows about interior design… and the huge amount of design magazines. I wonder if overall ID school enrollment has shifted?

I am a graphic design major there. email me off list and I will fill you in: lauren3gg@yahoo.com

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How about design competitions? they offer great themes for projects; be as creative as you can and work on your presentation skills. Since you are not yet in college, that might be a nice boost for your portfolio.

here’s some sites that post a lot of design competitions;
http://www.core77.com/calendar/ … of course
designboom magazine | your first source for architecture, design & art news … they also have online courses, and have a look at the past competitions for inspiration

Good luck

If you think you want to do ID then I would suggest you try like hell to get an internship, or see if you can shadow someone at a design firm for a day, or if that’s not even possible then tour a consultancy and meet with a designer for an orientation sort of meeting. If you could get a job at a consultancy just answering the phones it would give you a good feel for it.

I worked at a graphic design place one summer and it showed me that I didn’t want to major in that in college - priceless info. There are lots of people who want to go into ID and it is a very competitive field, so the more you know about it before committing or not committing the better off you will be. Also, the pay is not awesome, I would guess most IDers make less than a school teacher with the same amount of experience, now that doesn’t sound bad when your in high school but it becomes more prominent when you get older and want to have a family.

One last note, not to sound too jaded but it will, where do people always get the idea that IDers will change the world? by making some product look prettier that will magically transform everything?? The gap between rich and poor countries is already narrowing, no thanks to the ID profession. The chinese economy grew 16% last year.

Don’t listen to Billy Squire. IDers can change the world, and Karim Rashid is not one of them, regardless of that ridiculous book he put out. It’s just that most of them chose not too by working for penny pinching, landfill creating companies that are in a bottom line market. There are plenty of firms/designers that will allow such innovation if you want, but you need to be at the top of your game and have a lot of drive. Pick up the book Massive Change by Bruce Mau and that will shed a little light on a fraction of the people in our profession trying to do something that matters.

Why not listen to Billy Squire -

The only reason I went into Industrial Design was because I was awesome at it, won awards in school and because I made beautiful designs and awesome mechanisms - which is the only reason anyone should go into ID in the first place.

If you can’t make something beautiful and work out mechanisms then join the peace core if you want to change the world - in other words if you are not an artist by nature and are just looking for some cause to join - then ID will chew you up and spit you out.

um, this thread was started in December of 2004…the only reason why it keeps getting updated and put up as an active thread is because people keep posting ads for online casinos…

I love you :wink:

at least the kid correctly predicted the design/ID boom. sooner than i did. wonder where the dude is now?