In school and at work the problem seems to be the same about the creativity level we should propose, in oher words should we sketch free and open or should we always remember that we are sketching a car?
I would say that we have probably two designers cathegories: designers that need to have strong references with the automotive world and designers that need simply to draw influenced by everything they see and like around.
We have those that sketch thinking how it coul be made their side fender and others that do not really care because are more focused on the overall result and the impact they can generate, Car Design is possible because both cathegories exist! Yes, both skills at the end of a normal process generate the real car.
To be creative is yhe most important thing for a talented designer, specially at the beginning of a career our creativity is very demanded. It all starts in design schools where in a given project faisability is less important then creative expression. This is correct because in school we learn how to know our creative limits, it is thanks to this discovery process that we understand how far we could go and what kind of talent we have.
When we become car designers and start working in a real automotive design studio we start again the same process: we work showing our creativity, at the same time we start learning how really a car design is conceived from sketches to final presentation model and this aspect starts giving us the cultural “experience” of designing a car.
Moving on with our career we become more mature and learn how to use better our creative skills, our technique background helps us to be real designers because we start understanding how a car is put together and how we should use our creativity to make a preatty and sexy car without problems. For example we can design a preatty and sexy car without encreasing its cost and reducing its quality.
During a designer professional life we will see pure and free creativity as well as more realistic and credible creativity , the process is made of very creative periods confronted to very realistic periods during which there are many problems to solve about cost/quality/timing. Often in a designers’ team we have diferrent roles: thise that are “pure and free” and those that apply credible recipes to the project, it is both activities that make a car project a good one.
This aspect is valid also for your portfolios in which you should have higher rate of pure creative works and a smaller rate of more credible creative work.
In conclusion, it is extremely important to be pure and very creative as long as we are able to turn it into credible creativity.