Design Roles in the Automotive Industry

Explore various design roles in the automotive industry, helping you find the right job that suits your skills.

Nov 1, 2023 - 14:21
Nov 2, 2023 - 05:56
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Design Roles in the Automotive Industry
Design Roles in the Automotive Industry

Automotive design jobs are more varied and fascinating than most people realize. In the fast-paced world of the automotive industry, the focus isn't only on mechanics and manufacturing. The aesthetics, functionality, and even emotion of a vehicle are all carefully crafted by individuals in various design roles. This article delves into the different automotive design positions, shedding light on what each role entails and why they are indispensable in shaping the cars that become an extension of our identity.

A Roadmap to Automotive Design Jobs

This guide takes an in-depth look at the various automotive design roles. Whether you are considering a career change or want to deepen your understanding of how the vehicles you love are shaped, this handy map will guide you through the diverse landscape of automotive design careers.

Table of Contents

Vehicle Concept Designer

A Vehicle Concept Designer, often simply termed as Concept Designer, is the individual who brings the first blush of life into the automotive design process. This role requires a blend of creativity, technicality, and foresight. These designers brainstorm ideas for new vehicles, pulling together inspirations from various sources to come up with original concepts.

  • Skills Required: Strong creativity, advanced sketching abilities, proficiency in design software, understanding of automotive trends
  • Key Tasks: Brainstorming new vehicle designs, present concept proposals to teams and clients, cooperate with other design departments

Pioneering Concept: BMW Vision Next 100

BMW Vision Next 100 concept revealed on 100th anniversary - Motoring ...

One noteworthy example of exceptional concept design is the BMW Vision Next 100. This concept vehicle, revealed in 2016 as part of BMW’s centenary celebrations, showcases a startling vision for the brand's future. The BMW Vision Next 100 was designed as a green vehicle with autonomous driving capabilities, representing the direction that the automotive industry continues to trend.

Interior Designer

Automotive Interior Design by Matt Styles at

Interior designers in the automotive industry are tasked with creating comfortable, functional, and aesthetic interiors for vehicles. This involves working on elements ranging from the seats and dashboard, to controls and in-vehicle technology. These professionals ensure that every journey in the car is a pleasant and engaging experience.

"Designers need to have artistic abilities and technical knowledge to successfully blend looks with functionality."

  • Skills Required: Knowledge of ergonomics, familiarity with material properties, design aesthetic, attention to detail
  • Key Tasks: Designing seating and interior layout, selecting materials, working with engineers to ensure functionality

Exterior Designer

Automotive Design by GEORGE SHOPOV at

The Exterior Designer is responsible for the vehicle's outer look - its shape, size, and overall appearance. They must balance aesthetics with factors such as aerodynamics and safety. Well-designed exteriors are vital as they significantly impact a vehicle’s appeal.

  • Skills Required: Strong understanding of aerodynamics, knowledge of manufacturing processes, design software skills.
  • Key Tasks: Shaping the exterior of the vehicle, cooperating with other teams to ensure practicality, presenting designs to decision-makers.

Trailblazing Exteriors: The 1961 Jaguar E-Type

The 1961 Jaguar E-Type, with its timeless design, is a perfect showcase of how impactful exterior design can be. Its sleek lines and stunning profile make it stand out even today, demonstrating the lasting impact of a well-executed exterior design.

Color and Trim Designer

Colors and materials play an essential role in expressing the character of a vehicle. In contrast to the more mechanical side of automotive design, Color and Trim Designers utilize their unique perspective to create an alluring ambience that complements the car's interior and exterior areas. This job involves not just choosing the colors, but also determining the materials used in various parts of the vehicle.

"Color me Impressed": The Tesla Model 3

Take the Tesla Model 3 for example. Its palette, while concise, contains beautifully harmonized tones that mirror the brand's elegance and modern outlook. In tandem with the premium materials used inside, it crafts an overall luxurious feel in a forward-facing, eco-friendly package.

3D Modelling Specialist

Group of Automobile Design Engineers Working on Augmented Reality 3D ...

The automotive industry has been quick to adopt 3D modelling. This technology allows teams to visualize the design on a computer before any physical model is made. 3D modelling specialists play a crucial role by creating digital versions of the car designs.

"Creating a visual representation that exists in a three-dimensional space brings the design from concept to quasi-reality."

Clay Modeller

Despite technological advances, one "old-school" design role that still maintains its relevance is that of the Clay Modeller. These professionals take 2D sketches and convert them into 3D models using industrial plasticine. It's a physical and tactile approach that can give a better "feel" than digital methods. The ability to work and rework the clay means the design is flexible and can be altered based on feedback.

Automotive Graphic Designer

Embedded Software | Embedded Controls | LHP Engineering Solutions

An Automotive Graphic Designer combines creative skills with knowledge about marketing and branding. They design the visual materials used in advertising campaigns, helping to establish the vehicle’s identity and attract customers. In essence, they play a crucial role in how vehicles are perceived and marketed to the public.

  • Skills Required: Strong creativity, knowledge of branding and marketing trends, proficiency in graphic design software.
  • Key Tasks: Creating visual materials for advertising, working with marketing team to develop brand image, generating concept art for new campaigns.

Design Leadership Roles

Several positions in the automotive design industry involve more supervisory and directive functions. These include roles like Design Manager, Creative Director, or even Chief Design Officer. These positions require more experience and allow the individual to steer the overall design strategy for a vehicle or the entire brand.

Future of Automotive Design Jobs

The automotive design industry is rapidly evolving, and so are the jobs it offers. With technologies like electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous driving on the rise, we can expect significant shifts in design necessities and, consequently, emerging roles that focus on these aspects.

So, what are these changes bringing about? One prime example is the role of a User Experience (UX) Designer. This role, which originates from web and software design, is becoming increasingly important in the automotive industry. UX Designers focus on the interface between the vehicle and its occupant, paying special attention to the digital user interfaces in modern cars. The advent of autonomous driving opens up a whole new dimension and potential for in-car UX, making this a hot job role of the future.

In conclusion, the world of automotive design is full of diverse roles that require different skills and cater to various aspects of the vehicle design. Whether you are into the artistic, technical, or leadership side, there's a role out there in the automotive design world just waiting for you. Stay tuned to AutoInsiderHub to keep pace with the latest trends and industry insights!

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Erik Ido Hello, I'm Erik, your knowledgeable source for all things related to the automotive industry. Over the past decade, I've submerged myself in the automotive world, staying up-to-date with the latest trends, technological advancements, and market shifts. As a Floridian, I've had the unique opportunity to experience the diversity of the auto industry, whether it's exploring the rise of electric vehicles in urban settings or understanding the importance of durable off-road vehicles in our swampy terrains. My passion extends to various vehicle types—sedans, SUVs, trucks, and even electric and hybrid models. However, I don't just stop at surface-level information. I have invested countless hours into understanding the mechanics of different vehicle systems, the economics behind car sales and distribution, as well as policy changes that affect consumers and manufacturers alike. From AI-assisted driving technologies to the global supply chain, nothing is too intricate to escape my analysis. And let's not forget about safety, a critical issue for all motorists but particularly essential in a state like Florida, known for its unique road challenges and weather conditions. I strive to provide you with the latest in safety standards and technologies to ensure you're not only updated but also secure on the road. So, whether you're interested in the next big thing in automotive design, want to understand the latest government regulations affecting your future vehicle purchase, or are looking to stay ahead with insightful market analysis, I'm your guy. Stay tuned to AutoInsiderHub as we steer through the ever-evolving landscape of the automotive world.