— Written by Manisha Mohan
A transportation company today does not only need an engineer to design their vehicle but skilled design professionals who can understand the aesthetics of automobiles, technical designers, and consultants for deeper analysis of the automotive and so on. Urban transport and mobility in the present age are more about comfort, technology, experience, swiftness, and all of this at an affordable price. There is also the concept of sustainable mobility and e-mobility that has got the interest of people which has in turn made manufacturers invest more in these new-age technologies.
Bachelor of design and master of design programs focus on design-driven research and nurture creative professionals. Contrary to popular belief that only an engineering student can design automobiles, a bachelor of design in transportation and mobility program enables students to design cars and any form of mobility which involves human and commodity transportation. Masters in transportation design inculcates critical, analytical, speculative and reflective problem-solving skills in an integrated manner. It intends to find creative solutions by understanding the fundamentals of technical designs.
Careers that a student can opt for after their design program:
Transportation designer is a professional who can design any form of transport and vehicle from cars to bikes, aircraft, and watercraft. This requires the professional to be thorough in research and analysis as a lot of critical thinking goes behind designing the product. The person needs to be open to studying different transport systems ranging from land to air to water transport to be able to come up with the best design models
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Heavy vehicle manufacturers: While there is a need for designers for cars and bikes, there is also a great demand for designers for commercial and industrial vehicles like semi-trailers, freight trucks, passenger buses, vehicle carriers etc. Electric trucks, e-vehicles are gaining popularity and have opened up career avenues for professionals.
Clay modelling and prototyping: With time automotive clay modeling has gained a lot of importance. Clay models help to visualise a particular concept and turn an idea into a tangible product. These prototypes are then further showcased to manufacturers for final decisions on production.
Digital sculptors: Digital sculptors are similar to clay modelers, the only difference here being in the name itself, the designing happens digitally. The process uses mathematical data to produce 3D models digitally which further helps in the vehicle design and development
Colour material and finish designer: Colour and finish play a very important role in transportation design. A colour and finish designer can make or break the image of a brand and the car model. The final look of a car is what appeals to a customer. The designer is required to research colour and material trends. The professional is responsible of carefully suggesting colours for the exterior as well as the interior of the cars that resonates with the brand image as well as appeases the audience at large.
Car accessory designers: If you are not into designing a transport prototype that is fine. You can always use your creative instincts in making a car look better aesthetically. Seat covers, shades, cushions, consoles, and the list goes on where you can use your skills in the final making of an automobile.
Entrepreneurship: The automotive business is vast and you can use your skills and vision to become an entrepreneur. There is car care, spare parts manufacturing, technical training and maintenance, accessory designing etc. Focus on what you enjoy the most of the automobile world and develop your connections to start your own business. Just keep in mind to always be innovative and stay relevant to the changing trends.
— The author is dean, School of Design, UPES
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