It can be argued that no design career is sexier than that of the Automotive Designer. Today's designers embody the styles and culture of today while contouring the style of tomorrow. They utilize product design principles and emerging technology to create commercial, yet innovative, designs for new automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, coaches, and vans. Often working in tandom with a large team of engineers, designers work to ensure that their concepts are appealing to consumers, can actually lead to functioning automobiles, and are environmentally friendly and affordable. Not to mention...sexy.
In the United States, automotive design reached a critical juncture in 1924 when the American national automobile market began reaching saturation. To maintain sales, General Motors pioneer Alfred P. Sloan Jr. suggested annual model-year design changes in the hope that car owners would want to buy a new replacement each year. His strategy succeeded and was later adapted by rest of the industry.
The most celebrated American auto designer is probably Harley Earl,who brought the tailfin and other aeronautical design references to auto design in the 1950s. Earl is joined among legendary auto designers by Gordon Buehrig, responsible for the Auburn 851 and iconic Cord 810 and 812. Another notable designer who had a markedly different style was Chrysler group's designer Virgil Exner, an early pioneer of Cab forward (a.k.a.Forward look) design in mid-1950s. Exner is also credited with introducing the pointed tail fins in the 1956 Plymouth Belvedere later adapted by all other Detroit studios.
The tasks of a car design team are usually split into three main aspects: exterior design, interior design, and color and trim design. Graphic design is also an important aspect of automotive design; this is generally shared amongst the design team as the lead designer sees fit. Design focuses not only on the isolated outer shape of automobile parts, but concentrates on the combination of form and function, starting from the vehicle package. Here is a breakdown of the design elements:
Includes the following steps:
Automotive design is practiced by designers who have art backgrounds and degrees in industrial design or transportation design. Careers related to Auto Design include product design, automotive engineering, and electrical engineering. Successful designers need to be creative and should have strong math, drawing, and science skills. They must also have strong skills in computer-aided draftingand communication.
Since the Automotive Design is a very competitive field, academic achievement is beneficial when looking for an entry-level job. Courses such as industrial design, electrical engineering, mathematics, environmental science and computer-aided drafting are good starts for designers looking to break into the industry. An automotive engineering degree program can provide simulation training and hands-on experience in the field. An internship or work study program is often a necessary component of many automotive engineering colleges, and this can provide immediate job placement after graduation.