Interview: Ankur Singh, Automotive Designer
Designer Ankur Singh has done his master’s in Transportation Design from SPD, Milan, and has experience working as an assistant tutor. He is currently working as a designer in Design Storz, Austria. He will be sharing his journey and his thoughts as an Automotive Designer today.
Where are you from and how’s the car design scene there?
I come from a small town in central India. India has been constantly progressing in terms of design education as well as the design market since the last decade. I believe it has a very promising future ahead.
When did you first think about becoming a car designer?
After my engineering. Frankly speaking, I never realized that a field like this exists. I had a strong interest in concept art and animation though with a very strong inclination toward automotive. I was suggested an exam called CEED for Master of Design from IITs by one of my friends who were aware of artistic skills. After a little digging, I got to know what exactly are design studies and their relevant streams.
What motivates you and from where do you get/seek your inspiration?
My tools of motivation are reading, watching documentaries, and traveling (exploration). My favorite genres are nature, sci-fi, fantasy, fiction, history, architecture from where I derive my inspiration. Apart from that, I try to inculcate my design understanding from other streams like the product, graphics, interior, UI and UX designs, fashion, etc.
From where did you complete your education and how did you figure that particular school?
After my bachelor’s in Chemical engineering, I proceeded for my design education with M.Des from the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, India. Then I came to SPD Milan for another master in Car & transportation design seeking an in-depth understanding of automotive design specifically. Highly experienced faculty with industry experience and exposure to professionals made me pursue SPD. Italy was also enticing for me as it holds a long design culture and heritage from the past and still continuing.
Does the reputation of the college matter for an individual’s career?
The reputation does give a little impression about your work quality and skill set BUT THE PORTFOLIO MATTERS THE MOST. The portfolio speaks volumes about you and that will get you in or out. An institute/ college can only expose you to the opportunity but securing the same is completely on you.
Can you tell a bit about your work experience like where you did your internship and where are you working at the moment and how’s the place?
After my Masters from SPD, I worked there as an assistant Tutor for 6 months and then I shifted to Design Storz Austria. It’s a beautiful place called Zell am see where I am located. Surrounded by mountains and lakes, the studio is centrally located around a beautiful site. The work environment is great along with my compassionate and motivated colleagues.
What do you think should matter most to a designer, making a car beautiful or a car with good proportions?
Proportions play a vital role in car design ultimately making it aesthetically beautiful. A beautiful watch that is not your size is pointless.
How was your career path from the beginning up to today so far?
It was amazing with a lot of learning, practicing skills, working with professionals, meeting iconic personalities and designers which is still continuing. Of course, there are times when you doubt yourself and your decisions but that’s momentary when you focus on the bigger picture.
Which one project do you think was the most challenging project during college and one challenging project you worked on during your job?
My master thesis was challenging yet very interesting for me due to the amount of work we had to produce in a couple of months and presentation at AUDI Universe at Ingolstadt, Germany. During my job I had a few heavy vehicle projects which were very fascinating to me as they were not limited to exterior design but also to the engineering involved in it.
What do you think about future mobility?
The future beholds a new meaning of mobility as we have seen it change in the last decade. Trains, buses, personal mobility, and public transportation are getting mainstream attention. The idea of autonomy is getting more and more real now. Mobility is not only about driving anymore, it’s also about passengers and the overall experience.
What are your views on the impacts of COVID on this industry?
COVID has definitely impacted the industry at different levels especially the design students who are missing the hands-on experience and learning. Definitely work from home allowed everyone to stay at their respective safe zones but it also hampered the socializing factor. Not everything can be learned and done from home, ground presence and physical interactions are also crucial.
What advice do you have for upcoming transportation design students?
Work on your craft without losing yourself on social media for appreciation. Everyone started small someday. Be self-critical and try to explore your own style, everyone has one. Learn from others and don’t try to copy them, you are disrespecting yourself by doing that. Design is a universal subject, try to learn it from all streams. Most important is to stay optimistic, design is about your perception of a problem.
You can follow him on Instagram and follow his work regularly.