What to Expect
Industrial design students combine skills in math and art to design products
Derrick Glodova pursued industrial design at the Metropolitan State College
of Denver to mesh his talents in engineering and art. "I like the fact that I
can be creative in more than one way," he says.
"Not only can I make models, but I can do computer graphics, draw and work
with wood, metal and plastic. The student is usually only limited by his or
Barbara Kulig's studies in industrial design allowed her to study the work
she loves. "I find that most projects I do are the ones that I am sincerely
interested in," she says. "The work is very engaging, and I myself
am often anxious to see what I will come up with."
Glodova says students should be prepared to draw, use computers and
think outside the lines.
"The hardest thing for me to get used to was thinking more creatively,"
he says. "I transferred from an engineering program at another school where
we were taught to think in a linear manner. To be a successful industrial
designer, one must be able to think with more flexibility."
An early design student will experience "studio days," during which
they will spend a full day with a professor. In the first and second years,
students undertake in-class exercises, such as sketching and modeling.
Some days are spent creating models in a wood or metal lab. Students build
prototypes and models of their projects, which are used for testing concepts
and materials and displaying the intended appearance.
Every few weeks, design students have project reviews. The reviews
take an entire day, with each student presenting his or work. Professors and
students review the projects. These review days are equivalent to a test or
How to Prepare
Kulig says high school students should take art courses. Some of
that work could be used in a portfolio, she says.
Glodova says drawing classes and industrial courses, such as drafting,
shop classes and basic math and science courses, would be helpful to students.
"It also helps to learn to think three-dimensionally," he says.
Design-related activities, such as working on the high school yearbook
or newspaper, also help to develop an early sense of layout and graphic design,
Kulig says. Computer knowledge also is helpful, particularly graphics and
3D modeling packages.