Thought this could become an interesting discussion.
The love of drawing, finding shapes in the clouds, wanting to do it better, admiration, to create rather than sell, expression, frustration, control, taking things apart, putting things together, voicing your opinion, relaying an experience…
Personally, I always got excited by concept cars/products/buildings. I admired my dad (an architect) and his drawings, renderings & passion.
Why did you get into ID? I would love to hear your stories.
I wanted to make art that people could use every day. They don’t have to recognize it as such, but that would be a bonus. But, if a useful item, it is so much more rewarding to me than the idea of a drawing or painting hanging in a gallery that only art fans appreciate.
I wanted to make things, functional things, so art was out, but engineering turned out not to be creative enough. The happy medium was design.
From similar threads, I think a lot of designers did many of the same things growing up - drawing/art, taking things apart, building things, daydreaming about products, etc. I think it is more than just coincidence…
I’m still in the process of starting ID, but my reason for so abruptly changing my major sounds exactly like what 73lotus said: drawing, taking (every)thing apart, (trying to) build things, daydreaming about products. Too practical for art, too creative for engineering.
I was also a fanatic tinkerer as a child, bycycles, motors, model cars, redesigning and modifying everything for beauty and performance. But what really got me started is the furniture of Le Corbusier. It seemed so pure and complex and simple at the same time, was so different than what is expected and expressed something that fascinated me. SO I started reading about the greats of modern design and architecture, and had to be a part of that world.
When I was a little kid, my mom told me I should design toys. For years I didn’t think that was a real job. I got very interested in art but had no desire to live painting to painting. Also, I enjoyed the other, more pragmatic, subjects and didn’t want to give them up completely. An art teacher suggested industrial design, which I had never heard of. It seemed like a good mixture of creativity and pragmatism while being able to earn a decent living.
As it turns out, my mom was right. My first co-op was as a toy designer.
Oddly enough it started with drawing my own band flyers in my late teens. I learned Photoshop (then Photostyler, without layers and only one undo!) to make the flyers more trippy. That led to a career as a graphic designer, then Art Director. Then I met Bart from Design Engine. He gave me a demo using Alias and it blew my freakin mind. I’ve been hooked on CAD ever since. After a layoff from advertising I learned Pro/E, started freelancing and landed my current gig designing crazy-ass furniture and lighting.
The sad part is I wish someone would have introduced me to ID in high school, so instead of skipping college to be a rock star I would be ten years ahead of myself. I really should volunteer. Does anyone in the Chicago area want to team up and show some kids what’s up?
My story sounds remarkably like ever other poster’s above (i.e. class artist, dad was an Engineer, loved making and documenting how to make rubber band guns, etc.) save one: I actually lay blame squarely at the feet of Nightline and IDEO. Prior to 1998 / 1999 I’d never heard of Industrial Design and was involved in high tech (then print) sales after getting two totally unrelated-to-design degrees. I happened upon Nightline’s “Deep Dive” episode and starting looking at ID the very next day. After reaching out to a dozen IDSA mentors about getting involved in product development sales first, one mentor in North Carolina suggested that I look at NC State for a degree in Industrial Design. I moved my family a year later and now…I’m selling design. But I will commercialize my own products someday, damn it!
Ps. I, too, would love to get my firm involved directly in talking to local high school kids. If I’d known then what I know now…
I have similar story but a bit different. When I was a kid I was always into drawing. I drew things like fighter planes, houses, cars (canâ€™t draw them for shit now) and other random things lying around the house.
When I got a bit older I started to have a real interest in architecture. I really loved the way that a building could be beautiful and be a real part of the environment that it was placed in. I also got a really good at CAD, most of all AutoCAD 12. When I was in HS I took architecture classes, at least 2 a year, and then my senior year decided to take Art. I know this is probably not the norm with the rest of you but I looked at art as a useless class. I knew I could draw, I did not need a teacher to tell me that.
When I finally took my art class in HS I was the only Senior in a freshman class. This teacher was one of the hardest teachers I have ever had. He did not grade me as a freshman; he graded me as a senior. He loved my work and thought I was talented, but he wanted to teach me a bit of humility.
When it cam time to apply for schools he asked me what it was that I wanted to do, and I told him I was either going to go to school for engineering, because I was good at CAD, or I was going to go to school for Business because that is what my father did and he flipped. He told me that I was too talented and should go to an art school. So I got into art school and majored in Illustration. I did this because of my love for art and cartoons. My dream was to become a guy that works for Disney or something.
After getting to school and taking some illustration classes I once again got a lesson in humility. I not only realized that illustration is a hard business, but that I did not have the passion for it. I still had that passion for how things worked and the tech aspect of Architecture. About a month into my college education I met Bob Fee from SCAD and it was history from there. This man had me sold from day one. He told me that my love for illustration could be used in scenarios, my love for how things worked could be put to use in ID, and so on.
I have never looked back from that moment. I have to say that it took me a while to find ID as it I did not know about it when I was making my decision to go into college, but it is a bit more publicized now and the new generation of designers have a lot more info. Good luck too all of you
I had a neighbor in high school who was a pretty cool guy. He collected old Triumph motorcycles and Jaguars and he had studied ID in college. He turned me on to the fact that ID even existed as a balance between art and engineering. Then my dad, who worked for Steelcase, brought home an IDEO catalog and I was hooked.
I was an engineering student and was on the Formula Race Team. During the building process I was interested more in the fabrication. When we raced in detroit I was more interested in the body styles and the car displays than I was the torque and horsepower.
I always took things apart as a kid and I drew alot of cartoons but I didn’t even know about Design until college.
Has anyone else felt that “How I got into Design” stories always sound like “Coming out of the closet” stories?
What is it about Industrial Designers as a group that we seem to constantly justify being a Designer? Doctors and Engineers wear their profession like a badge while I always feel like most designers reluctantly admit their in Industrial Design. Or worse yet, need to say soemthing like "I’m a product designer, or simply “I’m a Designer” and then have to correct ppl when they ask what kind of clothes we design.
This brings me back to the fact that for a group of people that are supposed to be good at branding and identifying product with the customer, we do a horrible job of identifying the profession of Industrial Design to ourselves and other people.