specify for niche markets, or go for general ID degree?

Although this is a complex question, I’m looking for a simple answer (perfect for ID’ers) Going into College ID education, I have long been wondering if it is more secure (or profitable) all around to focus on say furniture design, shoe design, or some other niche market rather than getting a general ID degree…any experiences?

What a shame. When I was in school, industrial design was industrial design. The processes aren’t all that different.

Why would anyone want to pigeon-hole themselves voluntarily so early in their career … **pre-**career?

ID still hasn’t fully developed as a knowledge based process. this is a long discussion but to make it short it’s due to weak implementation in schools, lack of categorization, processes and applied technologies/ sciences, clueless R&D foundation and philosophy input/output, and essentially several other either non-existant or fake factors like experience, emotion, psychology, dialogue, marketing, innovation, anthropology, etc.

so i would say it depends on your own capabilities. no one can teach you how or why to design anything.

strangely, thats the anwser i was looking for…

Not sure where you got that info from… nor am I sure what ufo is saying, but that is normal. Talk about not being knowledge based…

In general, the only real specializations in ID education are Transportation and Furniture.

Transportation you absolutely need to specialize in, and even if you go to one of the three schools that consistently place designers in the field, nothing is guaranteed by a long shot.

Furniture I don’t think you need to specialize in.

That I know of there is not specialized, 4 year, bachelors program school for footwear in the US. There are several small institutes in Europe and Asia but they focus more on shoe making and pattern engineering to my knowledge. Most athletic footwear designers have ID degrees.

i also have to say this in relation to my previous comment:

the ID tools have become specialized too. if you go back and look at these forums you’ll see how students or graduates have had to change their tools and adjust their understanding of the process integrating software. graphic ones like 3d max, alias and photoshop/tablet or cad like solidworks or pro. even for architecture which has always been autocad and 2d drafting now it seems it won’t be enough.

more important than specialization is the fact that a designer is uptodate and prepared to face the challenge considering there aren’t any non-design-related obstacles like what you wear to work,etc.

if you have a designer who has studied furniture design and has been using the old tools like drafting and put him up against a guy who has uptodate capabilities you’ll find a considerable difference provided it has solid theory behind it.

there’s still this old fashioned belief that the concept can be developed by itself regardless of the process but as we progress we can see how important the process has become vs the concept. that’s because other automated factors mainly manufacturing have become increasingly knowledge/economy/tech based than previously predicted. i mean it has speeded towards those innovative factors multiple folds in contrast to random visual concepts.

it all has to do with sales. that’s the most important issue because if you can’t sell your product with better profit than your competitor you just have to kiss your design career goodbye. other things might change but that’s an absolute fact that has never changed and won’t in future.

“If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance…”

I think it depends where you want to work - it’s not so much the case in Europe. I worked at Pentland Group (big UK mostly athletics multi brand company) for nine years of my career.

In the UK non footwear trained designers were non existant when I started, they are still pretty rare now (outside of pure athletics). (although it’s easier to get a foot in the door with a general ID qualification than it used to be ). The footwear degrees do not just specialise in shoemaking and pattern engineering, they also tackle trend forecasting, leather and upper materials and qualities, outsole materials and qualities, range building, presentation skills etc. We covered the pattern engineering and shoemaking in the first two terms. You can study soley the pattern making, engineering and shoemaking at schools such as ARS Sutoria in Italy.

If it’s fashion footwear and you can’t find a footwear degree (difficult outside Europe I know) , you could be better off studying fashion rahter than ID because this kind of design is so dependant on understanding trend and colour, ID is just too errr. 'Industrial ’ :laughing:

Also if you have an ID degree and want a way in, consider any junior footwear role to learn the basics - your dream job may not be the first job.

I am pleased I pigeon holed myself so early on, it has been nothing but an advantage for me, simply because there are so many footwear jobs in the UK requiring footwear qualifications and so few footwear schools.

BUT none of this will matter if you are brilliant and talented. I took on a fantastic 16 y.o. once with no qualification at all and just sent them to nightschool to learn all the technical stuff.

Furniture I don’t think you need to specialize in.

I would think you would want to specialize in furniture only if you planned on manufacturing that furniture yourself and it was your life long dream to show at SOFA in Chicago.

Other than that, it seems like everyone from Architects to IDers can become furniture designers.

Realize this: your future career probably hasn’t been invented yet.
The best way to prepare for the future is with a broad foundation of abilities.

Industrial Design has always been recognized as a very flexible career option. It teaches you the foundations (process, critical-thinking, 3D, usability etc.) that can easily morph from specialty to specialty. I know more IDers that went the non-traditional route than those who didn’t. Special Effects, or Interaction Design, Furniture Design, etc.

Many design-driven organizations seek out Industrial Designers that have a breadth of experience. When other auto manufacturers were hiring transportation design majors, Nissan was hiring Industrial Designers with product background.

I always recommend joining a design consulting firm after graduating to collect a wider range of experience before considering specialization.

word. All great points CG.

head manager for nasa’s jpl mars mission dr firooz naderi was on iranian tv a couple of nights ago answering questions regarding the project to some students in iran.

when asked about what was the most important aspect of the work he answered team work is probably the foremost. he also said talent/money is not important because you can look at real madrid football club they have the best talent and the most money but they aren’t getting results that match.