The profession of Automotive Design has evolved a lot since looks became as important as functionality. Automotive design deals in the development of the appearance of automobiles by developing the visual appearance, considering technical feasibility with creativity, to solve problems and create the product concept.
It also deals with the R&D of anything that is connected to mobility, like Aircraft, Marine vessels etc. A transportation designer is the one who makes the future designs of automobiles by proposing newer (and more efficient) ideas.
The task of the design team usually belongs to these three main segments: exteriors, interiors, colour and trim design. These are some of the most renounced colleges which offer automotive design courses
The Mobility and vehicle design course in IDC was founded in 2010. IDC was set up in 1969 by the Government of India under the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IITB). Even when the automotive sector is facing problems like environmental contamination, increasing population, congestion etc. the automotive companies are pushing the limits through design. And these studios need creative designers to function properly.
The course aims to create creative professionals from creative individuals through careful nurturing and guidance. The studies concentrate on finding creative solutions to existing or future problems in the area of mobility/transportation. The program consists of well thought over personal projects which vary from personal to mass transports.
The National Institute of Design is internationally known as one of the first multi-disciplinary institutions in the field of design education and research.
NID’s transportation design course started in 2000, which is the first in India. This program aims to find and nurture highly creative individuals to solve the existing and future challenges accompanied with ‘mobility’, by improving relevant skills and knowledge.
This program is process-centric in nature. The course has a strong emphasis on environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects of transportation. The program sets off with understanding automobile aesthetics (exterior/interior), human factors, vehicle packaging, display & controls etc. and that too in a product level.
This prestigious institute was established in 2006 and offers a range of design programs in both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. The Institute of Design at Maharashtra Academy of Engineering Education and Research offers Graduate and Post Graduate courses in Product Design and Automotive/Transportation Design.
The courses at MIT ID equip the students with the knowledge and skills to become a well equipped professional Transportation designer. the exposure to latest Technologies, Composite materials, Aerodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Automotive Modeling, Vehicle Packaging Design and Usage of Automotive Clay & FRP make the learners capable of creating newer transportation design and systems to improve mobility.
DYPDC Center for Automotive Research and Studies is an undergraduate and postgraduate school in automotive styling based in Pune, Maharashtra, India. The college is a collaboration between the D.Y. Patil group and Dilip Chhabria, an Indian automobile designer.
The Postgraduate Program in Automotive Styling is a 2-year course offered by the college. To get admission a student needs to have graduation in any discipline of Arts / Science / Commerce / Engineering. The programme fees go all the way up to 7 lakhs per year.
There will be project work too where the students will be able to build an actual car at the end of the course. The final year project is even more interesting where students will get a chance to work on building an actual prototype, right from the design stages to the full working model.
Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing (CPDM) is a design school in India, established in 1996 at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. It offers Master of Design (M.Des.) degree in Product Design and Engineering, M.Sc. (Engg.) by research and PhD programmes in Design.
Eligibility for admission to the M.Des. programme is a degree either in engineering or architecture. Selection for admission is based on performance in a Design Aptitude Test (DAT) and interview(s) conducted at the centre. Shortlisting for DAT is done on the basis of an applicant’s CEED or GATE score.
The DAT / interview will test the engineering knowledge; spatial, creative, and analytical thinking ability; aesthetic sensitivity and communicating ability; and the overall aptitude for the design and the suitability of the candidate for the programme.
M.Des. in Product Design and Engineering is spread over 4 semesters and 2 summer terms, covering courses dealing with engineering, aesthetics, ergonomics, materials, manufacturing, design methodology, CAD, CAE, marketing etc.
Strate School of Design (formerly known as Strate College) is a French private institution for technical education founded in 1993. Its main campus is in Sèvres south-west of Paris.
The school is dedicated to the teaching of industrial design,3D modelling and design thinking. The school is recognized by the French state and its design degree is certified by the French Ministry of Higher Education. Strate School of Design opened in 2018 a large campus in Bangalore, India, together with other institutions from the Studialis group
The M.Des in Transportation is a 2-year post-graduate master’s degree. It is recognized by the French State through its registration by the National Council of Professional Certification (RNCP) at Level 1.
The school is well known in the car design industry since its transportation design course exists since its schools opening in 1993. The website Car Design News, by adding up all the successive results for the years 2011-2015 of student participation in the Car Design Awards competition ranked the school as one of the top transportation design school in the world.
So the big question is, “How do you get in?”
It’s not that hard, to be frank, but it does need dedication and a lot of practice. Getting into a prestigious design college needs not much but a genuinely creative mind. And that you can achieve by following a few steps that are more beneficial if you turn them into a habit.
1. Learn to sketch
Sketch a ball, sketch a block, sketch an apple sketch whatever you see in front of you. Learn to replicate and recreate little by little, inch by inch. Until the sketch can barely be distinguished from the physical object.
2. Appreciate and Observe nature
Nature is a masterpiece. It has beauty and functionality in its optimal balance. Yet its evolving day by day. Such is the life of a designer. A designer creates and builds upon his creation, constantly evolving to something better. And the best way to be a better designer is to observe nature.
3. Practice! Practice! Practic!
There is no substitute for practice. The more you practice the better you get at it. Dedicate 1 hour of your daily routine to sketch and research on automobile or product designs. Learn and understand how designs evolve, say, from a Ford Model T to a Ferrari ITALIA 458. Be creative and have the courage to explore places where others won’t even try to go. Be the Tesla cyber truck in a world full of Ford 150s.
4. Build a kickass portfolio
Once in awhile take up personal projects. Sketch something mimicking the professionals. and keep them safe in a file, treasure them and only put the best of best of your works in them. This will be your portfolio, that will tell them what you can do if given the chance.
Most of the time, it’s not about how great your sketch is but more about how well-thought-of it is, and how creative you have gone to replicate something in your mind, on paper.
5. Have common sense
It’s the most basic need in any stream of study or in life. In design, common sense is mostly about proportions. Have a good grasp over perspective views and proportions of various objects.
6. Be a graduate
You have to be a graduate in engineering, architecture or a B.des in any field of design to get admission.
GATE and CEED are 2 of the most popular examinations to get into possibly any college that offers M.des in automobile design.
Course fees can go anywhere from Rs. 50,000 to Rs.7 lakhs per annum, depending on the college. Though, if you are able to get a scholarship then it’s a different story.
Transportation design trends are getting revived after it plunged recently in India. With the introduction of electric vehicles, more and more companies are using their designers to crack newer dimensions of designs in the electric vehicle segment.
More and more cars are being designed in India by Indians, that are more than just transportation devices to their owners.
Love Cars? Interested in Car Design? We have a course just right to fuel your interests! Learn more about our Diploma in Car Design online course!
If you have not been living under a rock, you might have learnt about the owner of the Tesla motors unveiling a rather ‘different’ looking vehicle. Designed to be an all-electric pickup truck, the vehicle is very peculiar in its form factor. A polarising wedge shape, as they say, left the audience in severe splits and shock.
Some considered it to be the ugliest thing ever built, while others embraced the change. The monotony in vehicle designs has been in the news for quite some time now. Cybertruck just hits upon the very idea of being a non-conventional looking and outlandish design.
Being somewhat not what one is used to perceiving as the design of a vehicle, the Cyber truck does not fall short on features.
Three models have been announced, with range estimates of 250–500 miles (400–800 km) and an estimated 0–60 mph time of 6.5–2.9 seconds, depending on the model.
The base price of the rear-wheel-drive model of the cybertruck will be $39,900, with all-wheel drive models starting at $49,900.
The interior of the prototype unveiled on 21 November 2019 includes a 17-inch centre display, seating for 6 using two bench seats with the front middle seat being a fold-down centre armrest, a digital rear-view camera-based mirror, a race car style steering yoke, and a dashboard with a surface resembling marble.
The rear middle seat also folds down to allow loading long cargo extending through a door to the vault (enclosed bed). The “marble look” dashboard of the unveil prototype vehicle was a paper composite material made from “paper, wood-based fibres, natural wood pigments and non-petroleum based resins
The exterior features a nearly indestructible body with the colour scheme of raw steel. Tesla boasted a lot about its durability. The company’s website states, “Starting with a nearly impenetrable exoskeleton, every component is designed for superior strength and endurance, from Ultra-Hard 30X Cold-Rolled stainless-steel structural skin to Tesla armour glass”.
It did not stop there. At the Tesla Cybertruck launch, Elon Musk accidentally breaks the armored glass on two Cybertruck windows. The Tesla event was live-streamed, so nothing could be done about the smashed windows. Franz, Elon Musk’s assistance, throws a steel ball at the truck window and the truck window doesn’t break.
During the Tesla Livestream event of the Tesla truck launch / Tesla truck unveiling, Musk said Tesla threw wrenches and even the kitchen sink at the truck windows in preparation, but the windows smashed during the live stream. The Tesla Cybertruck is very futuristic looking, but the live stream fail was unfortunate. The truck windows are supposed to be bulletproof. Musk joked that the issue will be fixed before the trucks go into production.
This was a fine dining opportunity for the memers of “Net-isthan”. Memes started raining as soon as the stream ended. Check out some of the meme gems over the internet.
This is not much far away from the truth, is it?
Probably Lara Croft will be happy–
And in the end, as always! There was one, more thing–
Yes, Tesla unveiled a stream of other cyber-motive products, like this electric quad bike. Which, by the way, fits right into the loading bay of the cybertruck.
Tesla went a step ahead by basically mocking Ford F150 with a tug of war match. The video shows a tesla cybertruck pulling the f150 uphill with no sweat dropped. Although Tesla fans were head over heels with the show of strength, not all were as easily persuaded.
A twitter war broke out, with Elon being Elon all the way through the arguments. And is still on a hot track with millions of twitter users following them avidly. Follow the Hot-link right here.
You have probably ridden in one of his many creations over the year. Even the renowned footballer ‘Lionel Andrés Messi’ advertised one of the most interesting cars to come out of the TATA motor’s garage in 2018.
Mr Bose is well heard of personality when it comes to automotive designing. Born in Mumbai, Mr Pratap is an alumnus of the National Institute of Design, India which he graduated in 1998. Bose also received a scholarship from the INLAKE FOUNDATION to join Royal College of Art, the UK between 2001 and 2003.
For the first five years of his career, he had lent his services to the global automakers such as Piaggio & C.SpA, Pontedera, Italian Motorcycle Co. as a designer between 1999 and 2001. After graduating RCA, he was hired by Daimler Chrysler, Japan till 2007. The real challenge as a designer and manager for Mr Bose was given by Tata Motor in 2007. He has been promoted to the current position of Head of Design since 2011.
Bose is responsible for the design of several passenger cars and commercial vehicles including the likes of TATA Bolt, Tiago, Zest and Nexon. He has led the design of many multiple award-winning cars and commercial vehicles. It won’t be wrong to say that Mr.Pratap has brought a company that was known to manufacture taxi cars to the status of a company that manufactures cars that people love to own.
He has worked across TATA’s three in-house design centres – Pune in India, Turin in Italy, and TMETC (Tata Motor European Technical Center) in Coventry, the UK. His design team headcount is around 200 staff in combined three locations, 120 in India, 50 in TMETC, and 35 staff in Italy. The number of staff increased from 40 to 200 in the last 4 years. UK team started from 4 to 50 in the last 7 years or so.
He has been instrumental for the implementation of Tata Motor’s new design language IMPACT Design 2.0. Tata Motors now rank among top five carmakers in the country and new design language played the crucial role. After being appointed as the head of design of TATA motors in 2011, he has aggressively advertised the role of Design in their cars.
Under his visionary guidance and leadership, TATA motors design studios were able to roll out cars like Racemo, Pixel and MegaPixel Concepts. These concepts earned praises in the Indian as well as international markets. This success has given way to fresher and more contemporary designs of the TATA cars nowadays
Talking about his personal life, Pratap loves cooking, aeroplanes, painting, learning languages and is a terrible amateur drummer. Pratap is also the Visiting Professor at the Vehicle Design department in Royal College of Art.
Advice to aspiring designers:
Every now and then certain personalaties emerge,who knows how to hit the right strings and create music, Mr Bose is exactly that to TATA motors. His success story only gets us more and more excited to anticiate what we might have in store for the future TATA vehicles.
Every now and then certain car designs and concepts are introduced into the market, that are way ahead into the future, to be accepted or rejected by the consumers. These designs hold significant importance in taking our perception of normal towards a more accepting and non-conservative direction.
New car designs either get rejected by the consumers or they pivot our design perception. Car designers and design engineers get sharp feedbacks on which way they need to go design-wise. The engineering and body designers can combine, thereafter, in a manner, that they are allowed to introduce new features and technologies without disappointing the consumers.
Here are few car designs that “were” and few that “are” in that borderline category:
Ford Model -T (1908)
The first car design ever to make it to the “assembly line”, that was devised by Henry Ford, was the Model T. A car that actually became an everyday thing due to its production volume. A car that was the reason we can buy the car of our choice today.
Though the Model T is not the first car to be produced, it’s hailed as one. Cars before the Model T were considered luxurious, made to order, and cost around $2000. Since 1904 ford had made half a dozen cars but none of them sold as much as the Model T. The Earlier models were not as reliable, durable and easily maintainable as the Model T.
Over the years the Model T has got awards for being “the most influential car of 20th century” and “the car of the century”, and rightly so. This is the car that changed history and gave rise to the Brass age.
Oldsmobile Rocket 88 (1949)
Although the title is highly disputed, the Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is widely considered the first muscle car. With its buffed body and huge size, the car demanded a strong presence.
Produced in 1949, the American muscle car designs started taking shape. The designs cared less about the aerodynamics and more about raw power. The car designs put on these set of muscle engines is still considered a timeless classic.
Volkswagen Beetle (1938)
Officially known as the Volkswagen Type 1, the car is one of the iconic cars of the 20th century. It was built for the common people, with a 5 person capacity (later reduced to 4). Believe it or not, but the foundation of this car and its functional properties were laid down by the leader of Nazi Germany, Adolf Hitler.
Drawn by Ferdinand “Butzi” Porsche in 1959 the 911 was among the top 5 “car of the century” cars. The engine was rear-mounted and the boot was made the front. The designs were made by Ferdinand Porsche, the founder of Porsche automobile.
AHH!! The car that is probably known by anyone who is even a bit interested in cars. The Porsche 911 is a car that is loved by everyone. The iconic design was not the first in its segment but the first to make it popular. The 911 has gone through many iterations through the decades, yet has not changed its distinctive shape.
The iconic shape of the car can be seen even in the newer models of Porsche. Ferdinand Butzi Porsche
Lamborghini Miura (1966)
Hailed as the first supercar, the design of the Miura came from the stable of Lamborgini. Stirring up the super sports car category for road-legal cars, the Miura shook the car enthusiasts. Designed as a coupe, the car could turn heads of the poshest people on the road, due to its aggressive low stance styling.
The sleek look and a massively powerful engine made the car a favourite among the enthusiasts. The Miura was designed by Lamborghini’s engineering team, who developed the car in their spare time, against the wishes of company founder Ferruccio Lamborghini.
Marcello Gandini was the designer from the Bertone automobile company, who designed the car for production. The Miura became the flagship of Lamborghini, that is, till the Countach arrived, which is a story for another day.
Tesla Model S (2012)
The Model S is that car that is considered the pivot of modern times and the car that has changed the perception of millions towards electric mobility. The Model S, that is purely electric, has range figures that competitive to the petrol counterpart. Technologically ahead and a “Feel -Good” car that has premium and classy written all over it.
Minimalist, clean, safe, aerodynamically superior and of course pure electric, this car has pushed the whole car industry to convert to electric mobility. The designer to thank for this elegant car is Franz von Holzhausen, Ex- Mazda designer.
The car has no front grill, which reduces drag and in turn introduces a new outlook for future car designs. The wheels are lighter and aerodynamically designed, even the mirrors are designed to reduce drag. The whole Designs speaks about a streamlined body design.
BMW Vision Next 100 (2019)
Taking a peek into the near future, BMW showed off their vision for the next 100 years of car designs with their Vision Next 100 concept. Unveiled in June of 2016 the car flaunts some pretty practical features.
The clean look, the minimalist design and autonomy of the car makes it a real contender for the title of the car of the future. The striking feature of the car is its wheel fenders that are merged with the bonnet. the fender expands into geometric triangles with a blood-red backlight, when the car turns.
They call it a car with a split personality. With two modes of driving, one being the “Boost” mode and the other “Ease” mode, it’s rightly called so. The Boost mode provides the driver with conventional interiors while the ease mode retracts the steering wheel and pushes the seats back for a more comfortable and autonomous driving experience. The whole windscreen is a Heads up display(HUD) which provides live feedbacks about the structures and landscapes around, kind of like a tour guide.
Merc-Benz Biome (2025)
Something that seems right out of a sci-fi movie, the Merc-Benz Biome not only obliterates our perception of car designs but also our grasp over the technology involved. The design is quite clean and natural yet at the borderline acceptance category.
What might hit you hard is the way it can be GROWN. Shocked? YES! you heard right! This car can be grown out of genetically altered biodegradable seeds put in a specially designed fluid. It is grown in a nursery with 4 seeds making different parts of the car.
Biome runs on a special fuel called the BioNectar4534. The car is supposed to take in carbon dioxide and burn the fuel, releasing water and oxygen. Cool as it sounds, we have to wait and see how much of the concept is actually practical enough to be on the road.
Being in the first quarter of the century and experiencing groundbreaking innovations in car designs gets our hopes really high for the future. There is no denying that cars have changed not only how we travel, but also how our society evolves. For some cars are a mode of transport, for some they are pieces of technology and yet for some they are a part of their culture.
There are many more who have created an impact in our society. What did we miss in this article? Comment below and let us know.
It’s on the screen you’re reading this on. The touchscreen or trackpad (or a keyboard/mouse) you’re using to navigate this page.
It’s in the pen on your desk and the book beside it. The mug you sip your coffee from.
Most of the world’s top companies put design before anything else, and for a good reason. Apple, Nike, Coca-Cola and Tesla are all successful because of their design-led approach to tackle challenges.
That’s one of the major reasons why everyone wants to think like designers, even when the objective is not purely related to design. Design Thinking is at the core of building a sustainable and successful organization.
So, what exactly is Design Thinking?
Design Thinking places the user at the centre. It’s a human-centred design process.
The focus is not only on how the product looks or makes one feel but how it’s used practically in everyday life.
It was popularized by IDEO’s Tim Brown and David M. Kelley, and Roger Martin of the Rotman School.
Design Thinking focuses on finding a solution to complex problems by using direct observation, logic, intuition, imagination and reasoning. The desired outcome should ultimately benefit the end-user.
The same approach can be applied to systems, protocols, user experiences and even building an entire company.
The Design Thinking Process
Empathy is vital to know your users and care about them. It’s the foundation upon which you build everything else. If you don’t care about the end-user and how they’ll interact with your product or service, you might as well give it up now.
Empathising with your end-user will give you a fresh set of eyes which will help you learn more about them. It’ll also give you an idea about the context in which they’ll use your product or service.
How do you empathise with your end-user? You interview them and dig deeper into their lives. Observe, engage, watch and listen their every word and action. Pay attention particularly to the little details and try to look at everything they do from their point of view.
Once you’ve got this down, you have all the information you need to define the problem you’re solving.
Only when you frame the right problem in the right manner can you arrive at the right solution.
The Define mode helps you bring clarity and focus to your design problem.
You’ve collected all the information you need and have empathised with your user. It’s now time to capture your findings and define a meaningful and actionable problem statement.
The problem statement should be formulated such that it focuses on insights and needs of a particular user. In simple terms, the Define mode is about making sense of all the information that’s in front of you.
Once you’ve defined the specific challenge you’re taking on, you need to generate meaningful solutions to address that challenge.
If you’re stuck getting started, ask yourself “How-Might-We-….?” and then take it forward.
Brainstorming is one of the best ways to kick start idea generation. The group dynamics helps you build on others’ ideas to arrive at even better solutions.
In the Ideate mode, you try to come up with the broadest range of possibilities to tackle your challenge. Here, the goal is not to arrive at the final, best solution, but the only list down a wide variety of ideas. The more the number of ideas, the better.
This is where your imagination and creativity comes into play. Encourage everyone in your team to come up with new ideas. While ideating, make sure to defer judgements and keep your critic inside you, suppressed. You can examine the merits of the ideas generated later.
Ideation supplies the source material needed to build prototypes and innovate later on.
Some of the most popular ways to ideate are noting down your rational thoughts, simple prototyping, bodystorming, mind-mapping and sketching.
Bring multiple ideas from your ideation process into the Prototype mode. This is where you evaluate your ideas and filter down the best ones.
But how will you decide which ideas to choose and which ones to ignore? Select too many ideas and you’re left with a clutter. Leave out too many and you’re losing out on your innovation potential.
Choose a bunch of critical criteria to rate your ideas on and let your team decide which one’s are the best. Carry two or three ideas that get the most votes forward into the Prototyping stage.
You can also club a few ideas together if it’s possible. However, never forget about your insights gained during the Empathy mode and lose track of your end-user. It’s easy to get lost in your own ideas and grow an attachment towards them.
Once you and your team have agreed on the best ideas, it’s time to build a prototype. Your first prototype should be cheap and easy to make. Something which can elicit useful feedback. As your design challenge evolves with incoming inputs, the prototype can be refined too.
So, what exactly is a prototype? It can be anything that you can interact with. Post-it notes, a storyboard, a simple gadget or even an activity. Anything that brings out emotions and responses from the user is a good bet.
You should make sure that every prototype you consider can be tested against a particular criterion.
Prototyping helps you to fail quickly and cheaply while testing a wide range of ideas and possibilities. It helps you break down a large problem into manageable chunks, simplifying the design challenge considerably.
Building a prototype needs some materials to get started. Post-its, tape, paper, cardboard, and any other unused material lying around is enough.
It’s wise not to spend a lot of time and money on building a single prototype. Let go of it once you’ve accomplished what you want and move on to the next prototype idea.
Make sure to identify what you’re testing with each prototype. Every prototype you build should answer a question when tested. However, don’t ignore other understandings you gain from each prototype. Tangential learnings help you refine your prototypes later.
That being said, always build the prototype with the end-user in mind. This will help you stay focused while creating the prototype.
Every prototype should be scrutinised and tested against the desired outcome. What those tests are and how to perform them with minimal errors is something that you should decide in advance, upon before building your prototype.
Test mode allows you to solicit feedback from your users and understand them better. It also lets you have another go at gaining empathy for the people you’re designing for.
Ask specific questions to your test users. If they like the prototype, ask them why they like it. If they don’t like it, ask them the same. This will help you gain insights about the person as well as develop potential solutions.
Here’s a quick tip: build your prototype assuming that it’s completely right, but test the prototype assuming that it’s totally wrong.
Once you’ve done testing, share your solutions and get feedback.
You haven’t completed the process yet. In fact, this is just the beginning. You have to iterate the whole process multiple times until you’ve narrowed down the best possible solution to the design challenge you defined earlier.
As you practice thinking like a designer, it’ll start to reflect in all your work, regardless of what you’re doing. Design Thinking will help you solve any challenge innovatively, efficiently and quickly.