Sunday, January 30, 2011

Car Design is an Opportunity Many Students Don't Know About

As a child Frank Saucedo (right) loved to draw cars. Now he is head of design for one of General Motor's concept car design centers. For the past 10 years he has been the director of General Motors Co.'s Advanced Design Studio in North Hollywood, one of 10 the automaker has worldwide. The studio is in charge of developing new technologies for GM, designing concept cars (left) and production vehicles. He has 52 designers, sculptors and engineers reporting to him at the studio. There are similar GM design centers in Detroit, Melbourne, Fujisawa, Japan, Ruesselsheim, Germany and Trollhattan, Sweden.

Saucito didn't realize auto design was a career option until he visited Art Center College of Design in Pasadena at the urging of his teacher at San Gabriel High School. He says he walked into the big presentation room in Art Center where students were doing full-size drawings of cars and said, 'I want to do that.' He graduated from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in industrial and transportation design.

There are many design careers for people who like to draw that students don't even realize exist. Students need to be exposed to the many opportunities available for people who are visual thinkers. Imagine if a group of students did a life-size drawing of a concept car of their own design on large roll paper for other students, teachers and parents to see. Or perhaps they could do a quarter scale clay model of a concept car using plasticine clay. For some students, like Frank Saucedo, design isn't just a job - it is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.

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