What made you want to become a designer?

I am fairly new to the design field and I wanted to ask you all a few things…

What made you want to become a designer? Was there a particular experience or influence that first engaged you and got you interested in the field?

And how do I know whether design is the right path for me? How do I figure out whether I really am creative or whether I just like the idea of creativity?

better by design, UK TV show, with Seymour & Powell…Channel 4 back in the 90’s

then there is the money, drugs and women…shit no that rock & roll, more I guess the smell of a freshly filled marker, the trips to the toy shop for ‘research’ and the opportunity to say your a designer…well industrial design engineer…not quite as sexy, back to the workstation for me.

i’m a masochist. it’s a win-win.

I’m still a kid, 6 ft tall mindyou but my most favourite present for christmas was a technics tractor!!!So much fun with a tin of harp on boxing day… :laughing:

…do you find yourself working out how stuff works, or taking an extra look at objects you feel have influenced you somewhat, and sayin…WOW! thats wikid…I liiiiiiike, borat styley, now that boys creative!!

burnsie :open_mouth:

Saw a show on BBC2 in high school back in the early 90’s (I lived in Europe for 5 years). Each week they talked about different careers - one day they talked about Industrial Design. I was completely mesmorized and decided right there and then that ID was the career for me…

I can’t pin point a single moment, ever since I was a kid I was drawing things that didn’t exist and wondering what things would be like in the future, 10, 20, 100 years from now…

Watching movies when I was a kid like Aliens, Back To the Future 2, The Terminator, Batman, Top Gun (Talk to me Goose), Star Wars (the way it was supposed to be seen, catching it half way through on Sunday afternoon on NBC with comercials… and frantically popping a tape in the VCR to get the last half… ahh, the good old days) I would always get juiced up and draw for hours.

I was glued to all the nerdo shows, McGuyver, the A Team, Knight Rider, Air Wolf, Street Hawk… old cartoons like the Transformers, Voltron, Thunder Cats, and Robotech.

Shoes like the AJ IV and the original Hurache Trainers… they seemd plucked out of a future time… had to draw them…

Endless toying with Legos…

A fascination with taking stuff apart and seeing how it worked (I never could get my Star Wars Imperial Walker back together and working again, there was a lot more parts than I thought…)

It all worked in I guess as corny as it is.

Lincoln Logs, Tinker-Toys, Erector Sets
But most of all, Legos! Especially the Technics and Space sets
National Geographic science books. I devoured the cutaway views.
Growing up near the Smithsonian
An architect friend who taught me how to model with mattboard
Testors plastic model making
Drafting classes
More architects who warned me off

…And finally realizing there was such a thing as ID at about age 17.

We lived in Germany for about 4 years when I was a kid. My parents were determined to expose me to as much European history and culture as they possibly could so almost every weekend, we took trips and then we did 2 or 3 big week-long vacations every year. By the time I was 10, I had been to just about every major museum and castle across Europe. I was too young to appreciate all of the paintings and fine art, but the 3D stuff, the suits of armor, the swords, tools, cutlery, furniture, architecture, etc really captured my imagination. Then, my senior year in high-school, my mom became terminally ill. As her health declined, she became less and less able to do simple things like get out of a chair unassisted, open a can or bottle use the restroom alone. Products started showing up in our home that improved her quality of life tremendously and allowed her to remain independent longer even as her health continued to deteriorate. I realized that somebody was making these things. Somebody was “designing” them. I just didn’t know who - but I knew I wanted to be one of those people. A few months later, I stumbled onto a description of Industrial Design in the course catalog at my college. I knew instantly that I wanted to be an Industrial Designer. I changed majors and the rest is history.

When I was in middle/high school I excelled at Physics, it wasn’t until we reached higher “mathematical” physics that I realized that I excelled because I liked making stuff and problem solving. Half the time in class with the egg drop contest, and the mouse trap cars, it was about problem solving. How do I make it better, faster, more durable…

Plus as a young kid I had a knack for art. The two didn’t come into fruition until a many years later.

Fast forward about 6 years. I ended up getting a degree in marketing, I liked the concepts of finding out what made consumers tick, and why some companies excel and others don’t (problem solving again).

After that I looked around me and wasn’t happy with my job or day to day, until I came upon Industrial Design. One of my closest friends was an Industrial designer, and he made me look around and realize that we had many of the same personality traits and desires.

So I went back to school for ID. Now I love every thing about design, I eat, sleep and breathe it. I am so happy to have found my place, and the fact that I’ll get paid to do it….icing on the cake.

ditto. i more recently enabled the markeing side of my carreer though. i grew up in detroit, my father was an engineer. i was constantly taking things aparts to see how they worked.

i excelled in physics, it just clicked. i started colloege in mech eng, moved to architecture, finished in ID.


when I was a kid I wanted to be an imagineer. No, first I wanted to be a princess at disneyland, then an imagineer (more lucrative). I started school in architecture, felt trapped, and moved to ID. But I’m still doing exhibit. Mabye one day, disney, if they don’t implode anytime soon. As a kid, I was always making spaces, and stories to go along with those spaces. Just glad I went to an arch. school that had ID as well, as high school career councilers don’t tell kids about career options in industrial design.

Isn’t that the truth! Mine actually tried to dissuade me from going to art school. He’d never even heard of ID! I was lucky to have contacts outside of the field. Of course, we didn’t have the Internet back then, and no one knew that product design existed. It’s a different world today.

When I was in high school, I was looking for a job where I could draw and do different things. I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer all the time. Nothing profound here, I just wanted that variety from day-to-day. It was after I was in school for a couple years that I grew to love other aspects of being a designer.

i actually started out as a web designer in singapore. but i saw no future there so here i am in japan taking a BA in product design. i have no specific goals as of yet, i just want to create stuff. either transport or toys. in japan, of course.

Ive forever wanted to draw things over or improve them give them another look or just make it my own… Ive always took a like to Logos and Images… Logo i think is my specialty… Amongst other things , Ive always had a thing for Nike sneakers and Jordans when i was a kid, and still to this day i can just pic up the #2 and just hit the sketch book to make a new sneaker. Like its funny, for the longest time U wanted to draw over the Nike Air Force I’s, and I did sometime last year… Low and behold I guess NIKE was thinking the same thing huh!.. Personally I like my version better but hey thats just me…

My path to Industrial Design started out when I was in a bookstore looking at a book on careers. As I recently got out of the Navy, I really wanted to do something where I didn’t bust my knuckles turning a wrench knee deep in bilge water. I saw a listing for toy designers, which really intrigued me, and that there was place called the IDSA where I could get more information.

The IDSA, I imagined, was a huge, shiny building with a horseshoe driveway and a fountain. As it was located 45 minutes from where I lived in Maryland, my girlfriend at the time accompanied me for the drive out in the countryside.

Well, as I pulled in to the location, the IDSA hq was actually located in a townhouse condo right above a karate studio. But there was some strange force pulling me. This was in 1996.

And it was when I walked through the doorway that I felt it. On the wall to my left was a display case with some recent IDEA winners. In it was a mentioning of the Dodge Neon, a pair of Speedo swim mits, and a pair of Nike Air Max running shoes. I drove there in my Neon and in the trunk were the very same award winning products. And, to top it off, the carpeting inside the foyer leading to the receptionist’s desk was black with yellow stripes down the middle, like a road. I had goosebumps all over my body.

After talking to the receptionist, she stated that Virginia Tech just received accreditation for their I.D. program. And since I.D. wasn’t offered in my state, I was eligible through a special program to take I.D. at Virginia Tech as an in-state student making it the most affordable school. Since my girlfriend graduated from V.T., it was a must that I go to school there.

I still remember the whole experience.

How do you know if it’s right for you? I would ask what do you NOT want to do.

If you enjoy the idea of being creative and can communicate your ideas with a sketch, then you have the basics for pursuing a career in I.D. All of the other abilities required of you will come to you as did your ability to walk. But before you could walk, you first had to want to walk.

Who loves I.D.?

As a kid, not only would I accessorize my barbies, but I also loved legos and making those plastic models of cars and planes. I guess it was kind of weird for a chick to like those things, but I loved the idea of building something with my hands that looked cool and that wasn’t there before. I would constantly draw. I had a natural knack for physics and math (like VDH said, I loved the problem solving aspect of it). My art teacher kept bugging me to take more art classes – I had a good eye for proportion, design, perspective, etc. I’m always looking at products and imagining how I can make them better – look better or function better. When I shop for shoes or furniture I usually draw a picture of exactly what I want – there have been times that I actually make my own furniture cuz I can’t buy what I want (I just wish I could make my own shoes sometimes).

So, when it came time to decide what to study in college I chose……………………Mechanical Engineering! Like others have said before, Industrial Design wasn’t heard of at my high school. I grew up in Detroit where engineering is king. If you’re good at physics and math, then you better be an engineer. I thought that engineering was what ID is – I wanted to design products that look cool and function intuitively. In engineering school I felt like a fish out of water – nobody cared about how the product looked or how the end user wanted it to work, and that’s all I cared about! I stuck with it believing that eventually I’d be able to break out of the mold. About a year after graduating from college I discovered ID, and I’m so glad I did. It’s a perfect fit. I’m planning on starting ID school in the fall. I’m so excited.


an angel came to me in a dream and told me to pursue industrial design. it sure beats slangin that yayo…

I’m a Junior in school now, I just added an ID degree this year. I started out as just a Mechanical Engineer, now I’m doing both in a five year program. It’s hard, but I always envisioned myself as more of what a designer does vs. what “normal” engineers do. I was lucky to have found ID while still in school, its the best decision I’ve ever made and I can’t be any happier.