My Articles

Car Design: The Package Design

Dear friends,
how many times did we start a new project just by sketching a lot and then choosing a nice one and decide that that sketch will become our concept choice? I guess many times, we all did and do. It is part of our brainstorming stage after we receive our new project briefing.

 However today I would like to tell you a bit about how important is the Package Technical Layout we usually receive with our briefing.
 Often we talk about nice “proportions” or the research for new proportions to try a break through, the objective is to realize a real new concept that does not have anything to do with classical car proportions (specially in design school).

Images from H-Point Book

How is it at work? How do we start in a real design studio?
We do receive our Package Design and we must do our best to respect it because it envolves 2 main factors: Human Factors (Ergonomy) & Production Costs!

 So now you might think that there is no hope to change proportions unless we force the company to revise the budget with the high risk to have our proposal rejected.

It could be, but it all depends on how you manage your strategy…in other words what type of design strategy do you apply to make something new respecting technical and cost/budget demands?

There are basically two ways to do it:

I do what I like!
I do my sketch development I choose my concept I do it and after someone will try to apply my concept to all technical/cost requests to make sure to respect game rules.
This strategy very often is a loosing one because even if you made an excellent design execution the all company system will be against because of the high conflicts it will generate within all teams (engineers-ergonomy experts-technical experts-suppliers involved….).
You will become probably soon tired to argue and a lot frustrated, for your boss the project management will become politically complicated and when politics at some levels is complicated it means that your attitude becomes a problem, too!

My strong advice is: do not do it! People will call you “the artist” and believe me it is not a compliment ;), do not forget that you have to manage your project but also your possible career which means how you are what type of respect you build  from others to you and viceversa.

I live with the Hard Points because thanks to them I can do real Design!
This is the design strategy I love and I explain the reasons.
Rule N° 1: I Design around people for people and their confort
Rule N° 2: I believe that with my Design I’ll improve those people’s life
Rule N° 3: I know which are the technical layout weak points (often proportions) and I’ll help the technical team to share several alternative options to improve their work without provoking a higher project cost!

To do so I must be interested and curious about how they (technical departement) think and what technologies we can use to make the car. I understand a technical drawing and I can discuss technical aspects using my “creativity” pushing them to be more creative and alternative to the standard layout they usually use. Let’s work on their sections and share with them our body sections or cutlines, what is the problem? Let’s find several solutions. This is Problem Solving management.

In other words it is a team work, I’ll act giving value to their work and giving value to mine pushing them to “redesign technically” some aspects of the original layout.

I will make Alias models to show them I respect their Hard Points, I show how my sections are better if they change few millimeters here and there, or if they accept to change their front structure with a similar solution that does not cost higher but that gives me a better arounded top section…..I do benchmarking showing how other competitors had a better solution and what we could do…

I know that at the beginning of our car designer career we do not know all this and we are not exposed to those type of professional meetings and responsabilities, however I believe it is very important for all of you to know soon enough that Design strategy and Design project management can be the most important thing to do well in order to make great designs and defend them untill production.

Hope it was useful to you!

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