The Switch: Arch. to Trans. and Product Design

Greetings, First time poster long time design forum stalker. I’ll try to make this as short as possible. As the subject alludes to I am in the beginning phases of trying to make the transition from Architecture to Transportation or Product Design. I’ve always have had a deep respect and admiration for Trans. and Pro. Designers for they have inspired my studies and pro. experiences in Arch. (M.Arch) which has relied heavily on fabrication (milling, 3d printing, laser, prototyping, vacuum, manual etc.), digital (Alias, Maya, Rhino, etc. and programming), and the experimental. The professional experiences have also have leaned on the heavy side of the fabrication and digital with one or two products that are sold to the public. Looking back, most of, if not all of the academic and professional work is inspired by surface styling and formal techniques found in Trans. and Pro. Design…seems I’m finally coming out the Architectural closet.

Some examples of target companies : GM, Ford, FIAT Chrysler, Harley (perhaps as a janitor to get in). With aim at interior or exterior stylist, design engineer, product engineer, anything fab (clay, ren, foam, metal), or digital models and drafting. The task seems like an uphill battle or just really muddy waters and that is why I wanted ask for input from some that might have been here before.

Some flags:

  • By researching their design/fab openings first thing that jumps out is that it varies in computer skills. Harley wants Pro-E, Ford and Dodge want NX. All want some sort of A.S. in ID or an A.S. in Mechanical Engineering or “related technical degree”. Could a Masters of Arch. be considered related? Should I start to look into community colleges now?

  • Perhaps retool the entire portfolio to look and feel like an ID port? In other words, keep it as an Arch. process ie. diagrams - sketches - study models - sexy Illustrator/PS - then sexy renderings OR re-tool and massage the Arch. process into an ID portfolio similar to Googling “ID portfolio” with layered concept sketches and collages etc… a hybrid of sorts.

  • As far as format. Products first then Arch? or vise versa.

  • Replace the word Architecture with another noun in the resume/CV?

The Switch is Bitch and there are many questions in this void. Appreciate any input, guidance, or tips that the community could provide.


No budget for a Masters degree? Seems like this would be the route to get your foot in the door.

Can you show us what you have so far?

In ID and especially Trans, firms and companies will be looking for potential. There are things I would believe one can already judge from a portfolio that might not be straight ID.
Things such as a sense for proportion, style, understanding of process.

I think it would be helpful if you could show your Arch work here and give us an idea of how you present you process.

MasterBlaster: Already behind the eight-ball. However I would consider an A.S. at a community college or apprenticeship while working as a janitor or service position within the company’s listed to get in.

Bepster: Thanks for the input. It would be uncomfortable posting publicly but it’s visually rich, deep, and shows process as outlined in the original post for an Arch or fab. position - “diagrams - sketches - study models - sexy Illustrator/PS - then sexy renderings and models”. Spent a lot of time on it and all ILL’s combined are close to 1GB. A new sample port. is in the works but I’d like to have a plan of attack before investing.

I think right now the retooling portfolio into a hybrid question is the most bothersome. As you know once you commit to a certain style or format (ID, Arch, or hybrid) there are ripples that effect the port. as a whole.

Why would posting your work be uncomfortable?
You can’t show it out for legal reasons? I’d question any other reason.
Saying it’s stunning won’t get you anywhere. Beside, how large your portfolio is has no meaning. A case where size really does not matter…
I would actually rather say that the most effective portfolios I have seen were so condensed and edited that they didn’t need more than a few slides to impress and tell the story.

If you want serious feedback on how to structure your work so it would appeal to a hiring manager in in the ID field, I’d strongly suggest you show what you are working with.
I am not sure how it is in architecture, but in ID, students are very much encouraged to show their work as much as possible as it will yield the most precise and targeted feedback.

…I really hope you are joking about being a janitor? You really need to get on the design team asap as an intern if designing is what you want. But yes… that is a tall order in trans.

Bepster is right. The conversation is not going to be fruitful unless you post some work. Don’t tell me your work is visually rich, show me. You are going to get a lot better input and conversation if people can get a sense of where you are at.

PM’d. And makes sense.