What else is there?

I’m really thinking of leaving the design world. I’m spooked by the lack of longevity for a designers career span. It seems by the fifteenth year, your over the hill. Then it seems your out on the street. So any thoughts on what else to do for work?

I’m thinking of just selling cars, or being a stay-at-home bum.

You can move to Hollywood and be a production designer for films and tv, that’s what I’m doing now after my seventh year in design.

It was a struggle at first, like anything when you start over… but once you build up a good reputation, you eventually get to do those big blockbuster ones.

…and what year are you currently in, that you are thinking this far ahead? a journey of a thousand miles begins under one’s feet grasshopper - keep one eye on the distance and you only have one eye left with which to see the Path.

Perhaps you fear becoming downsized and outmoded fourteen years down the road…well then don’t let it happen. Entrench yourself, learn everything, there will be a test.

I’m on my eighth year of design. I’m in a position of mid level designer and sr. designer. I’m lucky because I work for a company that produces a lot of product on a yearly basis, so I’m picking up a lot of production experince. I’m hopeing this will help keep me valueable to the design market place.

It just freaks me out how quickly one can become too old and out of it in the id world. I’ve spent a lot of money on school loans and put forth a great deal of effort to become a designer. Its really the only life I know. I just don’t want to be stuck out there in five years with nothing of value to the work world. Applying for jobs that are never what I wanted, making a fraction of what I make now.

Am I alone on these thoughts out there?

Nah, no worries, you’re not the only one…

You can start your own design studio, like me.


…part of our professional responsibility is to stay current with technology and styling…i know more than a few designers doing award winning work at 2 X 15 years +…

Its sad to see this topic keep coming up but like many others I’m feeling the same way and I’ve only been working for a little over three years. Of course I graduated feeling like I had wasted five years of my life. Not a good way to start.

I told my current employer that I’m leaving the end of July to do other things. They are practically begging me not to go and have offered to make things better for me but Im just not in it anymore.

I don’t expect things to be any greener on the other side but I can’t keep doing this for much longer. I wish you all the best of luck.

mmjohns - I think myself, “lost” and others would be extremely interested in what you get into next and would love to see a “I left design for X” posting in a year or so.

Well I’ve already got a direction and I’m happy to share what I know so far. I’m currently studying for the GMAT and if everything goes well I will be interviewing and applying to graduate business schools in the spring and starting school next August.

Through friends Ive gotten a taste for business developement and strategy and it is something that Ive become increasingly interested in. Its really weird actually because I used to hate doing math but now I like it for some reason. I plan on teaming up with some friends to do design startups and help get them rolling. They do the design, I put on the suit and talk to the banks. Its a good relationship but who knows, time will tell.

You will be a valuable addition to a mid-large product-based company that may or may not have an internal design staff, if the other ventures don’t pan out. From what I’ve seen there is a serious lack of product development expertise in the management levels - the marketing and strategy people that come from internet or dot-com backgrounds have NO idea how to plan or budget projects that actually have to get built…I wish I could hire on some friends who understand physical product development but have the foresight and training to do detailed market analyses, hypothesize good directions and pitch them to senior management.

That said, I wish you luck getting into, and through your choice of b-school… personally I would go effing crazy with that kind of courseload and subject matter…

…and the Cards are on fire too.

Wow! Thanks for the replys. This has helped alot.

So If I try and become an expert in manufacturing and production of products, will that be enough to keep me fresh and employed for many years to come?

My biggest worry here is employment. Like I said in past replies, I don’t want to be in truckin school in a couple of years.

In the past it might have but for now manufacturing is becoming scarce. As much as it pains me to say it, you would probably be better off learning more about branding and marketing along with product design.

As more and more things become commodities you are going to find companies worrying less about how they are built and more about how they are going to sell them and make them stand out.

Computers are the perfect example. The generic parts inside a Dell PC really arent going to be that much different (or not at all different) from a computer from say HP or XYZ computers down the street. If they can’t differentiate themselves by contents what can they leverage. Price? Reputation? Case Design?

In many examples it will be all three and it is the marketing departments role in companies to determine who buys the things, why they buy them, and what would make them likely to buy more. Having insight into these areas will make you much more valuable right now than knowing how it would be built.

At least thats my experience and the experience of companies I know who now have satellite offices in Shenzhen and other areas in China.

paraphrasing from snow crash :

now that your toasters are made in Uzbekhistan and cars made in Vietnam, there are only four things that America does better than the rest of the world:

  1. music
  2. movies
  3. microcode
  4. high-speed pizza delivery

(my apologies to stephenson, I don’t have the book with me)