Essential Tips For Automotive Designers - Before You Graduate (Part 2)

In Part 1 we discussed crucial aspects such as portfolio development, social media presence, networking, specialization, integration of AI tools, and gaining practical experience through internships and collaborations. It emphasizes the significance of a strong portfolio in securing job opportunities, highlighting the need for diverse projects showcasing skills and creativity. Moreover, we discussed the integration of AI tools to streamline the design process and enhance creativity. If you haven't read Part 1 yet, we suggest you do so before continuing here. Now, let's delve deeper into other crucial aspects for design students.

7. Soft skills and communication

Designers operate in highly social environments where teamwork takes proceeds over individual efforts. Designers must collaborate effectively with others, encompassing attitude, social behaviour, and the ability to articulate their ideas and thoughts. In design studios, there's a diverse mix of designers from various cultural backgrounds, making them truly global workplaces. Therefore, it's essential to respect and appreciate this cultural diversity. While designers often work in competitive environments running for the same projects, this should foster a healthy atmosphere rather than anything negative. However, for young designers, navigating this can be challenging and may lead to cultural issues.

Another crucial aspect is the attitude of young designers. Often, it can be daunting for them to receive critical feedback on their work, which may demotivate them. However, the key is to take feedback positively and focus on improving weaker areas. Designers need to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and diligently work on enhancing their design skills. The way one approaches feedback is crucial, as design managers value designers with an open mindset. Additionally, personal presentation, including how one dresses and takes care of themselves, is important. Designers should craft their lifestyle as a brand to effectively represent themselves and their unique style.

Soft skills such as clear communication, both visually and verbally, are incredibly important. Understanding social dynamics and empathizing with others' ideas and emotions are essential for building strong bonds with colleagues. In design, the aim is to deliver the best outcome, so individuals must collaborate effectively to achieve this goal and align themselves accordingly. These skills can be honed through group projects, internships, and course collaborations, as previously mentioned.

8. Understanding your style and Taste to stand out

When selecting designers, design managers typically choose those who align with the brand's style and philosophy. For instance, Citro├źn embraces a playful and product-inspired design language, so portfolios showcasing such work are more likely to be selected. Each brand has its distinct style, so when applying for a position, ensure that your portfolio includes relevant projects that resonate with the brand's identity.

Ground-breaking Concept by 2 German students In Collaboration With The German Aerospace Center

Each designer has a distinct taste and style evident in their portfolio. We advise design students to discover and develop their unique style. This presents an opportunity to stand out and distinguish yourself. To further amplify your creativity through technology you can also consider custom Vizcom models trained exclusively for you, on your design data.

Vizcom Custom AI Model

Vizcom Custom AI Model

This means that it's created to comprehend and reflect your distinct identity and style while staying completely under your control. The greatest advantage is that this vizcom custom model can instantly turn your rough sketch into a high-quality render suitable for production, all while preserving your unique style. It enables you to expedite your brainstorming process by working alongside a version of Vizcom that inherently comprehends your design language. We all know that collaboration is the future of design and with a personalized Vizcom model that grasps your taste and style, the potential is limitless.


9. Build your library

One of the most powerful tools for any designer is their collection of references. Many top designers have a daily habit of researching reference images both offline and online. This constant search for good design work keeps them ahead of the curve and builds a vast mental library of forms and ideas. We recommend that all the design students gradually build their reference library over time. This will provide them with inspiration for their own work and help develop their taste and style. Moreover, these reference images can also serve as inspirational cues for AI tools such as Vizcom when brainstorming ideas and establishing the project's direction. For instance, if you aim for a particular feel, colour scheme, and finish for a product, these tools analyze various aspects such as angles, lighting, colours, materials, finishes, and proportions that embody your style. Instantly, it transforms the sketch into a captivating shot.

Traditionally the simplest method to collect references is by taking photos with your phone camera, as it's always readily available. You can organize these images in a folder for later use. Nowadays, the most common approach is using social media platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Behance. These sites enable users to categorize their saved content, making it easier to build a diverse design library. Spending some quality time on more platforms like Automotive Design Planet and Yanko Design can help you gather excellent examples. Don't forget to save impressive presentations, graphic designs, and portfolios from successful designers. Additionally, we suggest having Pureref on your desktop, as this app allows you to save images in one file and view them simultaneously.

Pureref for Designers

10. Keep a watch on trends and industry

The automotive design industry operates at a rapid pace. Gone are the days when trends lasted for decades. Nowadays, the automotive sector experiences significant changes in short periods, influenced by various industries. Factors like electrification and autonomous vehicles play a significant role in shaping these trends. With new car launches happening every week and global brands reaching new heights, there's a wide array of products and trends to keep track of. Design students must stay updated on current trends, past innovations, and potential future design directions. Predicting the future is partly the job of a designer, but without knowledge of current design trends, accurate forecasting is impossible.

Geneva Motor Show

As mentioned earlier, media outlets like us are invaluable resources for staying informed about industry news and developments. Developing a daily routine of spending 15-30 minutes surfing the news on new launches and what your peers are doing in the industry can greatly assist designers in creating relevant products.

11. Skillset and graduation thesis

Today, being an exterior designer is not just about sketching; many also possess skills in 3D modelling, animation, Unreal Engine, and world-building. Therefore, students should aim to acquire a broad range of skills including AI tools and avoid limiting themselves. These skills are crucial when applying for jobs, as many studios now expect designers to create sketch models of their concepts using various software tools and should be familiar with using and incorporating AI tools in the design process. Establishing a workflow and developing proficiency with a set of software skills is essential.

For design students, their graduation project and thesis represent their best work, and it's crucial to carefully craft these final projects. Considering the tips mentioned above can give students a head start in their thesis projects. A successful thesis project demonstrates the ability to develop a project of high quality and deliver a final design that goes beyond sketches. Often, thesis projects include scale models, animations, and 3D renderings, enhancing credibility by showcasing materials, realistic lighting, and a diverse skill set.

Featured Thesis Project with Mercedes Benz by Henry Zhang

Featured Thesis Project with Zeekr by Junru Huang

Therefore, we recommend that students carefully consider the skills required in today's industry landscape and strive to develop proficiency in those areas.

12. Remember to take a break

As demanding as a designer's job can be, it's important not to burn yourself out. Instead, it's advisable to take regular breaks and reward yourself by taking vacations, spending time with family and friends, and engaging in recreational activities and hobbies. We believe that design is more than just a job; it's a lifestyle. Therefore, we encourage design students to learn and grow in their craft while also enjoying the process of designing.

Furthermore, we recommend that design students pursue interests and hobbies that provide relaxation and enjoyment. These hobbies can also help them build a close-knit community of designers who share similar interests, such as music, sports, movies, and more.

Enjoy the Article and share it with your friends and colleagues.

Read the Part 1 here


From The Author

We hope you have been enjoying our articles dedicated to helping emerging students with some tips and insights to follow.  Be prepared for our next article by a seasoned digital strategist with a background in automotive, interaction & design agencies will be sharing a guide to give your work the spotlight it deserves on social media [with a free framework]. This guide aims to provide you with a comprehensive framework to maximize your work's exposure on social media, helping you stand out in a crowded online landscape.

It will be released on 27 April 2024. STAY TUNED