Automotive Design

What Is an Automotive Design Degree?

Automotive design deals with both the appearance and ergonomics of road vehicles. The automotive designer works primarily with automobiles, motorcycles, buses, coaches, vans and trucks. Automotive designers work with three different elements of design: exterior, interior, colour and trim, using graphic design primarily to create the works.

Many consumers consider their car a part of their image; this makes the automotive designer a crucial player in the automotive industry. Automobile manufacturers are reliant upon the automotive designer to create the transportation vehicle the consumer cannot live without. Nearly everyone wants the latest, coolest automobile, and the automotive designer is tasked with determining that want and then designing the product to meet the want.

Automotive designers must also consider ergonomics when creating their designs. An automobile is of no use to the consumer if it looks good but doesn’t provide a pleasant ride. From interior size, seating, component placement and road noise, all things that enhance the comfort of the driver and their passengers must be taken into consideration by the automotive designer.

Students who love all types of automobiles, and prefer working in the aesthetics rather than the mechanics, might consider an automotive design degree. This facet of automobile manufacturing deals with analysing and presenting the best possible look and feel of the vehicle, giving the consumer an enjoyable ride, whether the driver or passenger.

Automotive Design Job Opportunities

Students graduating with an automotive design degree will most likely enter into the field as an automotive engineer. The automotive engineer title is inclusive of the three facets of making the vehicles: design, research and development, and production. Students with the automotive design degree are well-suited to work as an automotive engineer in the design portion of the science. Job duties include designing the inside, outside, and colour and trim of the vehicle; creating an electronic visual presentation of the design for the manufacturer to see, as well as marketing purposes; determining the best materials to use for the exterior and interior of the vehicle.

Job paths for automotive engineers follow the same route most engineering positions do. Automotive design graduates start at the bottom of the salary scale and usually earn anywhere from £23,000 to £30,000, with the higher end of the scale reserved for graduates who work with larger automobile manufacturers or who have higher degrees.

Experienced automotive engineers work within the higher salary range of £35,000 to £45,000, depending on how many years they have worked in the industry and their role within the organisation.

Eventually the automotive engineer has the opportunity to obtain a senior engineering position within the automotive manufacturer, and senior engineers oftentimes earn £65,000 or more.

Automotive Design Degree Curriculum

As the name suggests, automotive design curriculum is heavy in design. Students will learn the concepts of automotive design, as well as the associated problems and problem-solving techniques to solve them. Students must also learn how to bring their designs to the presentation stages with modelling and prototype techniques. This includes computer modelling as well as physical modelling, such as building clay models of the proposed automobile. Curriculum is also heavy in graphic design, as many design concepts are hammered out with industry-accepted computer design software.

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