19 Dec. 2011
Car Design Career
Qualifying for and getting a car designer job is a long process, but ultimately it can be a very rewarding career, especially if you see one of your designs out on the road. Design is a very important part of Citroën's heritage and its future.
To support great design, uphold the high value placed on visual innovation at Citroën and discover new talent, the Citroën Creative Awards are being held again after their success in 2010. Because of the large number of entries, the competition's closing date has been extended to January 15, 2012. Some early entries have already been posted online and visitors to the website can already score and comment on the entries (http://www.citroencreativeawards.com/idea/shortlist).
This year's competition was launched in October and goes beyond simple car design, with future fashion designers entering the Style Contest, film makers entering the Video Contest and Conceptual Thinkers entering the Idea Contest. The Style Contest encompasses clothing and vehicle combinations, the Video Contest requires entrants to use Citroën DS5 as inspiration and the Idea Contest seeks out ideas that'll make cars more user-friendly.
Last year's contest was won by Italian designer Flavio Melchiorre whose winning roof design was displayed at Citroën's international showcase on the Champs-Elysee and has gone into full production.
Citroën's Heritage in Design
Citroën has long taken pride in creating vehicles that are a harmonious marriage of stunning aesthetics, leading edge mechanical technology and impressive performance on both passenger cars and sporting cars.
André Citroën's commitment to creating affordable, attractive cars has lasted the lifetime of the company so far. The Citroën Conservatoire in Paris is home to more than 400 examples of the brand from 1919 onwards, including the elegant Type A. André Citroën commissioned Jules Salomon, who had been working for the now-defunct Le Zebre company, to create this pioneering small car design.
The 1955 launch of the DS at the Paris Motor Show is perhaps Citroën's most renowned example of cutting edge design. The work of engineer André Lefevre and sculptor Flaminio Bertoni, the DS managed to make other cars at the motor show look instantly dated.
Since 2000, the Style Citroën team, under the leadership of professional car designer Jean-Pierre Ploué, have continued Citroën's fine design tradition with such cars as the Citroën Picasso C4; a stunning take on the pragmatic MPV.
How do I start a Car Designer Career?
To become a car designer, it takes more than having an eye for an attractive vehicle. The aesthetic design has to work in harmony with the mechanics of the car and take scientific factors such as aerodynamics, safety principles and new technologies such as electric and hybrid powerplants, into account.
Studying to be a car designer – and being able to get a car designer job on graduation – is a serious business these days. A three-to-four year university degree in Transportation Design is required; solid 2D drawing skills are usually a prerequisite for such courses, as is the mathematical ability to work with calculations and shapes. Good school results in maths and physics, as well as art and technical design, and skills in 3D modelling will also help. You'll also need to develop a strong portfolio of work while studying, and be prepared to take unpaid or low-paid internships with design forms or manufacturers while you're gaining experience. You'll need to be dedicated and determined to reach your dream car designer job.
How can Citroën support me?
Citroën recently sponsored a contest at the Royal College of Art to design a compact electric car. Designs by the students went on show in February 2011. The winner, Heikki Juvonen, received a six-month employment contract to work as a car designer at the PSA Design Centre in Paris, a fantastic route into the industry. Heikki's winning design was the E-3POD Antistatic, a three-wheeled electric car; to be a successful professional car designer, you'll need to keep an eye to the future.
Entering this year's Citroën Creative Awards is another way for aspiring designers to make their mark with design concepts surrounding the whole lifestyle concept associated with Citroën's cars, be it fashion, film, or the little touches that make a car unique. http://www.citroencreativeawards.com