Car Designer

Dream up and create the look of a car inside and out.

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$33,000 – $94,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Car Designers do?

Car Designers design the aesthetics of a car and ensure that its look will interface with its function. This doesn’t mean that a Car Designer will be designing the engine per say, but he or she will design the hood to such specifications as will house the engine (and look snazzy while doing so).

Under the title of Car Designer you can focus on three main areas: Exterior design, interior design, and color and trim design. In the first area you develop the shape, proportions, and surface of the automobile—i.e. you decide what a car looks like. In the second you deal with the ergonomics of the interior, which includes everything from researching seat shape and spacing to ensuring that the dashboard can interface with various gadgets and technologies. In both positions you sketch your designs, translate the sketches into digital models, then create 3D clay models of the best designs.

Color and trim design is a bit different. Here you decide all exterior and interior materials to be used. You research color combinations and wood grains, leather types and carpets to put together an appealing collection of shapes, look and feel. So this position is more about research than model building.

On the whole, a Car Designer draws on skills from interior design, architectural drafting, fashion research and product design. You study form and function, and your work go towards creating the newest vehicles on the market.

Should I be a Car Designer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Persistent: You keep pushing through, even when faced with tough obstacles.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.

  • Also known as: Automobile Designer, Car Body Designer

    How to become a Car Designer

    Most Car Designers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:abwd9d&chl=|no+college+%281%25%29|certificate+%2819%25%29|associate%27s+%2825%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2852%25%29|master%27s+%283%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,52
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