Design School Alumni Ken Clark – CCS

June 12, 2011  •  Leave a Comment

As a special bonus, we will be running some special  interviews with design professionals and alumni’s from some of the top schools in the U.S. and EU.   First up is College for Creative Studies alumni, Ken Clark.  A talented individual who currently works in the automotive industry as a principal designer.  Ken’s experience spans from product design, to boating interiors, and now automotive interiors and seating.  Below is a paragraph of Ken’s experiences at CCS.  A BIG welcome to Ken and thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with future designers!

KEN CLARK

The road to becoming an industrial designer was not easy. There was not much exposure to industrial design as a kid growing up. I never even heard of Industrial Design until college. I started out in the ID program at Kent State University lead by Mike Maczuzac who now is president of Smart Shape Design in Cleveland. After a couple years I realized that to be the best, I needed to look at one of the ‘Big Three’ schools (CCS, Art Center, or CIA). Having a passion for exotic sports cars and motorsports, I thought that the ‘Motor City’ was the place for me. I underestimated the amount of work and competitive nature of a top notch design school. At the public college students ideated together, helped each other out with models, supplies etc. Not so at the private schools. It was cut-throat, everyman for himself. There were even instances of students sabotaging other classmates work. The competitiveness was more apparent in transportation design program than the product design program. Regardless, the work was intense. As a design professional I have to say it was definitely worth the hard work.

The main difference between my days at school at what students are doing today is the medium they use. When I was in school everything was done manually. Pen and paper, canson paper and chalk, markers and vellum used separately or in any combination. Today, other than thumbnails, most work is done digitally. Kids have extensive graphic  posters printed out in full color. No cutting, masking, and spray gluing images. A mistake in my day meant starting over in the middle of the night. No ‘undo’ button was available back then. The other amazing thing with todays students is the ability to get into 3D without touching a clay tool or carving blue foam. CAD development has become the norm. It’s a great way to quickly bring the sketch to reality and critique the proportions and form. The tools students have at their disposal today will prepare them for the workforce at much higher level. I think the exposure to design from internet and social media outlets is also helping raise the level of design and overall influence of design for students. Getting more aware of global design trends and ideas helps student expand the creativity through different global influences.  Hopefully through digital media and industry professionals working through elementary school programs young kids will have more exposure to Industrial Design and help fuel their passion to be the next great Industrial Designer.

Take the time to check out Ken’s gallery below.  Be sure to also click the FS Button on in the lower right hand side of the gallery to enable a full screen mode experience. His gallery is also accessible in the gallery section.

Ken Clark

Ken Clark, a College for Creative Studies Alumni and currently a principle designer at an automotive company, displays his mastery of analog sketching and rendering techniques. Though most of his work now is executed digitally, Ken stresses the importance of mastering traditional techniques before making the jump to digital.

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