4 Tips for Beginner Industrial Designers

My first year in college was a mixed bag of success, failure, and realizations. It was one thing reading about Design, and another thing actually jumping in and studying it. Here are 4 things that I learned along the way that I wish I knew before enrolling.

1. It’s not just about drawing cool cars

The main reason why I decided to pursue a career in design was so I could draw cool cars all day. I wanted to do something that I loved. But I quickly learned that sketching and drawing accounted only for about 10% of the overall design process. Around 80% of the whole process was research and development. The entire basis of design is to try and solve a problem, and to solve a problem, you need to know the ins and outs of the product you are trying to improve.

2. MANAGE YOUR TIME WISELY

This might be a given for most if not all professions, but I think it is one to double down on as an Industrial Designer. We will often work with tight deadlines on very time-consuming projects. So the margin of error on timing is fragile to be able to achieve a successful turnaround. Be prepared to sacrifice time for leisure to focus on the project at hand, otherwise train your body to endure many countless sleepless nights.

3. YOU WILL NEVER SEE THINGS THE SAME

It will be drilled into you to notice the flaws in everything, but also come to appreciate truly great designs better. It is as if you are looking through a different lens, so to speak. Boring products like teacups will suddenly become interesting. You’ll notice the subtle choices the designer made in the product, and realize the manufacturing feat they had to overcome to achieve a finished product. Once exciting products such as cars become mundane and stale. Your mindset will shift towards continually thinking of ways to make things better.

4. THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL

I think there is a misconception that sketching is the most important skill a designer needs to develop to become successful. While it is a vital skill to have, there is another often overlooked, and that is one’s problem-solving skills. Developing a good foundation in problem-solving will set you up to become a much better designer than those who solely focus on their presentation skills. Problem solving will make you more adaptable to unpredictable situations, which will often come during your design career. Someone who can get past problems and solve them easier, in less time, provides a lot of value to possible employers.


You don’t have to be good at everything to be the best at something.

These are some of the things that I’ve learned in my time in school and career. I hope this helps any of you thinking about making the jump into Industrial Design. If you have any questions or would like to give me some feedback, I would love to hear from you.

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The 4 Gate Keepers of Industrial Design

When I got into design school, I had this ambition to be the best and design the perfect car. Sadly there are a lot of limiting factors that hold designers back from creating the “perfect” product. There have been many products since the inception of capitalism, and I can guarantee you that there isn’t one that has come close to being perfect. And why is that?


Many parts come into play when trying to design a product, but I think there are four significant factors that designers have to always take into account that prevent them from creating the perfect product:

The Market

I believe that the biggest thing that a designer has to study before designing a product is the market. The market dictates how a product is designed. Even if you had unlimited amounts of capital to fund the product, if there isn’t any demand for the product or if the design is too expensive to produce, then there won’t be any incentive in moving forward with the plan. Some companies will sacrifice some aspects of the design, like the materials in use to keep the end product cheaper to produce, thus giving the company a more significant margin for profit, while keeping the costs down. The primary goal of a business is to profit; you can’t profit if there is no market or demand for the product.

Technology

 Designers rely heavily on available technology for manufacturing solutions of their designs, but technological limitations sometimes stop designers from moving forward with a design. No matter how good the design is, if it is impossible to produce, then there is no reason for such design. We are limited to the manufacturing techniques that we have today, and as designers, we always have to keep these techniques in mind before we start our designs.

Physics

The physical limitations of materials used to create the product; the laws of physics are king; we cannot design a product that is impractical in terms of how it would function in the real world. Designers need to prioritize the things that are physically possible.

Patents

Patents are a good and a bad thing for design. It protects original ideas from being copied and unjustly profited from, but at the same time hinders progress in innovation and techniques. 


Designers bridge the gap between Consumers and Engineers. As designers, we always want to strive to innovate and create the best product, but we also need to incorporate some practically in the designs that we come up with and find a balance in it all. These are some of the challenges that designers have to take into account when designing a product. These constraints limit the possibilities of the final product, but I believe that as time moves forward and technological advances become more accessible, there will always be room for improvement for any product.

Investment Portfolio Update #1

I recently got a new job and I finally have some extra income to play around with at the end of the month, now as a 25-year-old it would be tempting to start using this money to buy my dream car, or another piece of tech to satisfy my hunger as a consumer. Ultimately I decided to invest it instead, this decision was inevitable, I’ve always had this unorthodox mentally of not following what others are doing, and while many at my age bracket are off partying and enjoying life, I wanted to do something more with my money than waste it on temporary pleasures. 

Work is something I dread (don’t we all?) and I wanted to find a way to get out of the rat race as quickly as I could. This leads me down a rabbit hole of research about ways to earn money and build wealth. After a few years of researching and going down various rabbit holes of topics, I finally have the confidence and the means to start investing and build wealth for retirement.

Goals

My goals here are simple, to build enough wealth where I can retire modestly and as early as possible. I want to build a passive income stream that can provide me with enough money to cover all my monthly expenses, and hopefully the rest of my family’s expenses for the rest of my life. Now, this seems like a tough task, but I think if a task seems doable you’re probably not aiming high enough. 

Strategy

I have never been a person to jump into something without thoroughly researching the matter first. With a daunting task like this, there needs to be a solid plan plotted out to make it at least seem possible. 

I decided to go the route of investing for Dividend Income. I plan on funding as much money as I can into this portfolio and reinvest the dividends I earn from my stock holdings. From my research Dividends are one of the safest ways to build wealth in the stock market. There are still certainly some risk involved, but like all things in life nothing is certain. I decided to go down this route because, in my opinion, it is a lot easier to analyze companies with Dividends in mind rather than Growth Investing. To me, growth investing is still out of my scope of knowledge and a lot more active than a passive source of income. I plan on going more into detail about my investing strategy in future posts and the differences between the two. I also decided to go with M1 Finance as the broker. The reason being, the format in which you can buy stocks on their platform makes it possible to have a diversified portfolio from the very beginning.

Portfolio

I currently only have $384 invested and a total of 51 different holdings, diversified over 9 sectors and a slew of bonds. This is a lot of companies, and I plan on trimming it down to around 20 or 30 in the future depending on where the market goes. I will be doing a monthly update on this blog to keep you posted on how the portfolio is going. I am currently down 0.14% which is small but this isn’t really where my focus is at the moment. As a dividend investor I almost want the market to go down to buy more stocks at lower costs, I will be focusing on the monthly dividend payments that companies will be paying out, I plan to grow this into a size-able amount where eventually the payouts coming in will be enough to cover all my expenses.

I am sharing my journey to hopefully inspire others to do the same. I want to prove that anyone can do it and that you can start from nothing and don’t need huge amounts of money to start building wealth. I also want to help others learn and to share my knowledge. Although limited, I want to put to the test all that I have learned researching and tons of reading about investing and creating wealth. I hope you join me on this journey and I hope you get some value out of them.

If you wanted to look at all of my holdings and its performance here is the link: https://m1.finance/tq3oWiMFD

If you sign up and fund your account we can both get $10 to get started!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me, I’d love to here from you!

The Differences between Art and Design

One of my biggest pet peeves as a designer is I am often confused by others as being an artist. The more I am recognized as an artist as opposed to a designer, the more I started to question myself about what a designer is. I decided to do some digging and find out for myself how to design differentiates itself from art. This has been a widely debated subject amongst the design community, although there are a lot of overlapping aspects in both fields, at their core, I believe they are entirely different.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Design is Art. Art is Design.

From a fundamental standpoint, I can see that there are many similarities between the two fields. Both Art and Design are a means to communicate ideas. The concept of aesthetics is very much used by both fields to exaggerate their “voice.”

The Core Difference

To better understand the two, I went and looked at their basic definitions, From the Oxford Dictionary:

Photo by Mateo Abrahan on Unsplash

Art is defined as:

“the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”

Photo by Mateo Abrahan on Unsplash

Design is defined as:

“Purpose or planning that exists behind an action, fact, or object.”


The primary goal of art is to induce an emotion, whereas the primary purpose of design is to cause an action.

Design is Problem Solving

Design is the process of finding solutions to problems, taking into account all the factors involved in the challenge. I think that this is a major differentiating factor from art. From a workflow standpoint, art is relatively open-ended, meaning that it can start from nothing and turn into anything. In contrast, design begins and ends, with one thing in mind, and that is trying to solve a problem. Design focuses on the market in general and art has a more personal connection with the subject

“We have always thought about design as being so much more than just the way something looks. It’s the whole thing: the way something works on so many different levels. Ultimately, of course, design defines so much of our experience.”

Jony Ive

What do you think?

Now one can argue that artists can solve problems as well, but how does a painting solve a problem?

I am by no means an expert on defining what art is and what is not, and as an industrial designer, I have a bias on this topic for obvious reasons. Though, I would love to hear from those of you on the other side of the coin.

I’ll leave you with this quote from an article I came across during my research, by Miklos Philips:

“How do we decide what is art and what is design, and why is the relationship between the two so fractured? Is it the difference between what is functional (design) and what is non-functional (art) that creates the dissension? Is a Noguchi coffee table or a Rennie Mackintosh chair merely a functional object, or is it art that happens to have a function? – It is not art versus design, but the unity of the two that is at the core of any superior design. In other words, good design incorporates art.”