• Dec 26, 2008
Another casualty in the collateral damage of auto industry woes: Graduating car designers are no longer finding jobs. The LA Times reports that in years past, manufacturer representatives would attend the Pasadena's Art Center College of Design's senior showcase and welcome a few visionaries into the hallowed world of car design. Now, manufacturer representation is down to one or two (if any), and those who show don't always end up hiring. For students who weren't chosen by manufacturers, the fallback was often working for a supplier, but these days, prospects there are just as bleak.

The fallback plan now for studious car design aspirants tends to be interiors or the world outside of car design. Those who can find any place at all in the car world will settle for penning A/C vents for now, and those who can't are looking at consumer appliances like cellular telephones. Although we have no doubt that current designers can deliver worthy goods when given the freedom to do so, as car enthusiasts, we look forward to when the gates open up again for the greatest minds of the collegiate generation.

[Source: LA Times]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      this saddens me very much, ive always wanted to enter industrial design, but changed my major the graphic design. i guess it was a smart move now, but ill always wonder...
      • 6 Years Ago
      True, things are extremely bad now. But when you talk to designers that graduated 10-15 years ago, they refer to periods of job droughts as well. I recently graduated from art center and, like many others, was worried about getting a job. A few of us were lucky enough to land jobs at major manufacturers and contrary to some other posts, none of us are drawing hub caps or ac vents. My point is this... things are bound to get better. The pendulum swings. Opportunities will present themselves at unlikely times. Us young pups just have to focus why we are at school to begin with, to become the best possible designer we can be and work our butts off. The rest will take care of itself. Good luck guys and gals!
      • 6 Years Ago
      This hits hard for me because i've always wanted to car design, and im pretty good, or so i've been told. But i have 4 more years till i graduate, and then 4 more years again after that so... hopefully it will get better soon.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am going to be attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh for Industrial design next fall and this worries me. I've always dreamed of designing cars as a living but i have noticed that everything's the same these days and have been leaning more towards Product design of furniture or electronics. I guess my decision making came at a good time. But it is still sad to hear this happens merely because of a bad economy.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We will bring the next automotive revolution, one way or the other.

      -Sophomore, College for Creative Studies.
      • 6 Years Ago
      yay........... this is what i have to look forward to
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm currently a junior industrial design major, and originally intended to go for transportation design, but after realizing I'd be designing hubcaps and pedals for the first twenty years of my career, I am now focusing on consumer electronics or furniture and lighting. Sad to see even less students getting hired now, but with the state of the automakers, it isn't surprising.
        • 6 Years Ago
        To Eric,

        "I'm currently a junior industrial design major, and originally intended to go for transportation design, but after realizing I'd be designing hubcaps and pedals for the first twenty years of my career,"

        Eric, that is not true. If your sketches are good enough and show that you have an understanding of design/form you will have lots of chances to do scales and full scale models. The only time when you will design "hubcaps" which I prefer to call wheels-or wheel covers (if any), will be during the production/execution phase.
        And this coming from a current car designer.
        Good luck and keep on sketching.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Whoever told you would be designing hubcaps and pedals for the first 20 years of your career has no idea of how the industry works. There have been concept cars in the past designed by studio interns.....INTERNS. This is a creative industry and it's all about talent....it doesn't matter if your fresh out of school or you've been in the industry for 150 years....you either have it or you don't.

        Don't believe me? Google Jason Castriota....he left Art Center 6th term to go intern at Paninfarina....never graduated and look where he is now.
      Jon Russell
      • 6 Years Ago
      welp... I guess I'm glad that I won't be graduating for 2 more years! Maybe... Hopefully car companies will start hiring again.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Everyone's going into limbo.
      Those who continue to develop/innovate
      will prosper. This is like the early 1900's
      with guys with names like morgan & olds built cars
      without the massive investments that Toyota (scion) &
      GM (saturn) had to lay out.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Based on a tightening economy, I had already postponed my plans to attend grad school for industrial design. (And then I lost my job.) This is bad news, but there's still light at the end of the tunnel. It's a long tunnel, and a difficult journey, but if we make it to the end there's an interesting and viable future ahead.

      Everyone have a safe and happy holiday!
      • 6 Years Ago
      I remember when I was hopeful to be future transportation designer... Now in the final months of my education it seems I'll be lucky to find a job in any sort of industrial design related field any time soon after graduation.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Excellent, just in time for the small-time auto maker movement... take a couple million in startup financing, hire a couple of young, talented out-of-work designers, and contract the big auto makers to build it. Some sense could eventually emerge out of the auto industry... and the big names will be nothing but OEM manufacturers for smaller makes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I really do hope what you're saying about small, independent manufacturers does happen. I really can't imagine it working for consumer-class cars (Accord, Camry, etc.) but this would be great for sports, performance, and niche cars. It would be good for us enthusiasts because we get more choices plus there'll be more innovation from the various companies competing to outdo each other. Well, hope this works out cause I'm planning to go into Art Center's Transport Design or if it doesn't there's always Mechanical Engineering.
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