Across the world and in every product sector, companies have been increasingly focused on being market oriented or consumer-centric. Everybody is chasing the trend, trying to find out the next big thing and scrambling for every potential point of differentiation. And, who could argue against designing products that are inspired from people's needs and are responsive to their capabilities? Even better, if the product is perceived as being cool, iconic and desirable in a completely emotional way that transcends more rational factors. That is the power of design.
Design is the process by which the needs of the customer or the marketplace are transformed into a product satisfying these needs. Design essentially is an exercise in problem solving.
The process starts with a design brief, which is typically a statement of intent. i.e. "We will design and make a Formula One racing car". Although it states the objective, it does not give enough information with which to start designing.
This leads to the Design Specification stage. This is possibly the most important stage of the design process. It is important that before you produce a 'solution' there is a true understanding of the actual problem. The Product Design Specification is a document listing out all the problems in detail. It is important to work with customers, other stakeholder and analyze the technology, completion and marketplace when creating the list of requirements necessary for a successful product.
To arrive at design specifications, specific research is done into global trends. Trend boards are created from this research in order to keep track of design influences as they relate to the automobile industry. The designer then uses this information to develop themes and concepts.
When designing one needs to consider, not only the product design specifications but also consider the activities downstream of the design stage. Downstream activities typically are manufacture, sales, transportation etc.
Typically, designers capture their ideas by sketching them on paper. There are a number of techniques available to the designer to aid the development of new concepts. The concept generation phase depends on conventional methods of sketching rather than digital ones.
Hereafter a number of different viable concept designs which satisfy the requirements of the product outlined in the Design Specifications are generated and then evaluated to decide on the most suitable one to develop further. Each concept is evaluated from a number of angles or perspectives. The chosen concept is then developed into a detail design.
During the detail design phase the chosen concept design is developed in detail with all the dimensions and specifications necessary. Prototypes are produced to test ideas at this stage. A real-size physical model of the design is made, the final appearance of a vehicle is fixed, and its CAD model is generated, all the operations are done in consideration of accurate dimensions.
Real-size operations are much important in automobile styling because there might be severe unwanted or unpleasant defects in actual size although they do not appear on desktop displays or in scale models.
The actual-dimension styling stage consists of two steps:
Making a physical model is a special artistic activity based on a real-size dimension sense, while creating a computer model from the physical model is a series of technological operations with high-precision measuring systems and engineering-based modeling software.
The task of the design team is usually split into three main aspects: Exterior Design, Interior Design, and Color and Trim Design. Graphic design is also an aspect of automobile design. Design focuses not only on the isolated outer shape of automobile parts, but concentrates on the combination of form and function, starting from the vehicle package. The aesthetic value will need to correspond to ergonomic functionality and utility features as well.
In particular, vehicular electronic components and parts will give more challenges to automobile designers who are required to stay updated on the latest information and knowledge associated with emerging vehicular gadgetry, particularly dash top mobile devices like GPS navigation, satellite radio, HD radio, mobile TV, MP3 players, video playback and smart phone interfaces.
While designing the exterior of a vehicle, the designer develops the proportions, shape, and surfaces of the vehicle. Exterior design is first done by a series of digital or manual drawings. Progressively more detailed drawings are executed and approved. Clay (industrial plasticine) and or digital models are developed from, and along with the drawings.
The data from these models are then used to create a full sized mock-up of the final design (body in white). With 3 and 5 axis CNC Milling Machines, the clay model is first designed in a computer program and then "carved" using the machine and large amounts of clay. Even in times of effective 3d software the clay model is still the most important tool to evaluate the design of a car and therefore used throughout the industry.
For Interiors of a vehicle, the designer develops the proportions, shape, placement and surfaces for the instrument panel, seats, door trim panels, headliner, pillar trims, etc. Here the emphasis is on ergonomics and the comfort of the passengers. The procedure here is the same as with exterior design (sketch, digital model and clay model).
The color and trim (or color and materials) designer is responsible for the research, design, and development of all interior and exterior colors and materials used on a vehicle. These include paints, plastics, fabric designs, leather grains, carpets, headliner, wood trim, and so on. Color, contrast, texture, and pattern must be carefully combined to give the vehicle a unique interior environment and experience.
The design team also develops graphics for items such as: badges, decals, dials, switches, kick or tread strips, liveries.
If you are interested in learning how to design automobiles or other modes of transportation, DYPDC is the place to pursue your goal. Our courses offer the opportunity to excel in the field of automobile design. Looking to the future and with industry support, DYPDC has created a unique automobile design program that allows you to blend your creative design talent with a comprehensive understanding of automobile technology and automobile business concepts.
The course combines in-depth conceptual investigation with extensive exposure to practicing designers. You will participate in real-world automobile design projects and will regularly present your designs to industry professionals.