Just Keep Drifting – The Secret to Design Success


Do you ever get designer’s block? Like writer’s block, you can’t seem to draw anything of value. Sketch after sketch after sketch, nothing feels right. Industrial Designers are a rare breed; a cross between logical thinking and engineering with creativity and artistic talent. So it’s all too common that either the left or the right side of the brain conflicts with the other. So which one is right? Which instinct do you follow?

Industrial DesignerSometimes we just need to take a break, go for a walk, view new objects and images that may draw some inspiration. I think that design block is a sign that we need to take it a step further. Develop that idea that goes beyond the edge. Maybe the project we are working on is so similar to the last we are challenged to make any improvement on it.

Radicalism takes guts. Presenting an idea that goes beyond the scope of our assignment requires a great deal of confidence and moxie. But that’s where we’re unique. That’s where our value is realized. We have to be willing to take risks. Status quo just won’t do. For those of us who are independent and do work for automakers on a consultative basis, we can afford to take risks.  Income is diversified, we have multiple clients who we work for, and our contract protects us to a certain degree. For those of us who are employed directly by an automaker it’s more difficult. Not only is our income at stake, but our insurance benefits, 401K and opportunity for advancement are manifested in each bargaining chip on the table.

Common sense still needs to be present. However, we mustn’t sacrifice our vision for the sake of checking all the boxes. Ingenuity is an integral part to automotive design. We are specialists in our field.

So how do we throttle innovation to establish a work that is both edgy and practical?

It’s in the drift.

Drift is what gives us maximum speed and momentum. It’s a controlled chaos. A creative development based on science and skill. As designers, we need to be in drift mode. We need to be willing to let loose, give it all we’ve got, while staying on the apex and maintaining our composure.

The trick? To keep the consumer in mind at all times. The marketability and branding of our designs is what will keep us employed. However, staying too close to home base will not bear fruit as other more innovative designs reach conceptualization. It is a fine balance between designing for the future and designing for the now.

If you have a vision, it’s there for a reason. So go create, let loose, and keep your vision in the forefront of your mind. You’ve been given a great gift, let the world benefit from it. Next time you get designer’s block, just keep drifting.

Profile photo of Ananda Arasu
Ananda Arasu is a Product Marketing Manager at Autodesk with focus on Automotive products and solutions. Ananda has a background in applications engineering, product management and product marketing. He has been with Autodesk for over 4 years in a product marketing capacity, with a focus on automotive solutions.His aim is to understand automotive customer needs and communicate the ways in which Autodesk’s products can best meet those needs.


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