Degree or Disagree?
May 16, 2009 6:20 PM Subscribe
(How) Should I pursue a career in industrial design?
posted by anonymous to Education (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Over the past year, I've become increasingly interested in my own personal time (day job is completely unrelated) to designing original, improving exisiting and gernerally making products more beautiful and useful. I am smitten and stoked on industrial design. I have a couple products I am taking to market very soon, on a very small production run. The entire process is exciting, but i have no formal training in any of it.
My background: I have a completely unrelated, BS degree in a social sciences field and a medium ammount of student debt associated with that. I've got a day-job that is not relevant to product design, and is also rather dead-end-ish when it comes to pay (has some nice perks though). I have fair amount of experience working in graphic design (mostly print) and branding. I did quite a bit of freelance work in both areas over the last 3 years.
I've been looking at going back to school specifically for a degree in industrial design. There seem to be a severe lack of proper industrial or product design programs in Portland, OR (the only one that exists is with the Art Institute, and through the roof expensive, and is a brand new program with only 1 graduate...worrisome), and relocation isn't really possible right now.
I was exploring the idea of hodge-podging experience together by taking a combination of machinist and other practical fabrication classes, together with some drawing, sculpture other design/aesthetic oriented classes at my local state university, and community colleges. Is this a good idea, a bad idea, a travesty waiting to happen?
I'm mostly just exploring my options right now for furthering this interest into a career, because its something i may be quite happy at...
From anyone who works directly with, or as an industrial designer, how did you get your start? Was a degree in your field necessary? Did it make it markedly easier to get a job? Would there be any alternative degrees i should look at that would have enough crossover?
If you're an industrial designer, or work closely with them, i'd love to pick your brain over a couple emails or if you're local to PDX, a cup of coffee or a beer on me.
If you'd like to post anything off-list here, contact me at meta.meta.anon.anon AT gmail.com
(this is posted anonymously because i recently found out my current employer reads mefi, and they have no idea I'm looking to leave or return to school anytime soon)