What's It Like To Teach And Learn In One Of The Best Auto Design Schools In The World?

Illustration for article titled What's It Like To Teach And Learn In One Of The Best Auto Design Schools In The World?

I think almost every car-focused primate reading this has, at least once, wondered about what it's like to go to auto design school, both with awe (you just saw a vintage Alfa slink past) or disgust (there's an Aztek doing 25 in front of you).


Over the past few days, I've been showing you some of what I saw at one of the best-regarded design schools in the world, ArtCenter in Pasadena, CA, and today I'd like to let you hear from a transportation design instructor and several students.

While you're watching these informal interviews, there's a couple of things to keep in mind, both told to me by Jason Hill, the instructor, and a car designer in his own right, having worked on projects as diverse as the original Smart car and the Carrera GT. When I asked him about the workload and intensity of being in the Transportation Design program, he told me "It's like med school without the blood" and it certainly seemed that way when I was there. The level of quality and the volume of quality work demanded of these students is phenomenal.

More alarmingly, he went on to say that the chances of getting a really good position in a major car company is close to being picked to play in the NBA. This is a brutal, extremely competitive field.

But in the end, you get to design cars. And that still seems pretty damn amazing.

(Thanks to all the students who let me invade their time and work, and to Jason Hill and Teri Bond for helping me set this up.)


Jason Hill, Instructor

Young Jin Hough, Student

Jennifer Darhy Choy, Student

Alexandar Bojidarov Alexiev, Student

Gurminder Bhandal, Student


Victorious Secret

Yea but in med school I get to create my own patients through drive by shootings using inconspicuous cars.

But on a more serious note...

How do some designs ever make it past the "Oh god this was a dream" phase?

Things like the Aztek?

It is one thing to be a concept and maybe even a design study but how on Earth does such ugly ever get approved? How does it go THAT far? Bean counters? Management?

The sinking ship mentality? That the captain (lead designer or manager or boss or what have you) is right and can only be right and you have no choice but to follow through?