Professional car Transportation Design portfolio

Sketches by Samir Sadikhov

Professional portfolio

Hi friends, at the end of my summer vacation in Italy I met a young ex student from a british car design school who wanted to show me his portfolio for some tips before looking for a job. As usual I told him that I was happy to do it and so we did. He came with his portable PC and showed me a sort of Power Point presentation with all the selected projects, at the end he also had his CV. I asked him to show the presentation again, at the end of the second round I started to give him my constructive critic.

Car Design school

Usually a good design school has some courses about how to put together design portfolios, (Art Center in Pasadena US and IAAD in Italy IT do) this was not the case. The british school has a life of about 5 years which means that it is very young in the design education business and is no guarantee for a good training. The transportation design teacher was basically formatting all students on how he would do a portfolio and his taste did not have anything to do with an automotive design book. Students (this is from his story about the school) could not be creative and alternative because the (famous) teacher woul get upset.

Here the problems

Bad Design school choice: I was sorry to let him understand this, but it is true. The few teachers have not an automotive design background, but rather an Industrial Design one specialized on boat design too far from car design culture and automotive design industry. The power point presentation had a bad order about his projects and the selection was not cars oriented (a lot of boats and accessories). The editorial graphics of every page was 90's style too old fashion and competing against the sketches and renderings. The overall result was confused. At the end a book to re-do before applying for a job position.

By Giulio Partisani
By Giulio Partisani

The good thing

The good thing is tha talent of this italian guy, his determination and strong will to make it as a designer, ready to put himself in discussion to improve and progress. We talked for about 2 hours, I explained to him that a professional portfolio is mainly a personal presentation of ourselves and for this reason we must personalize it. Our teacher should only help us not to make evident mistakes that might penalize our effort. With his book he will sell himself, he will convince someone to hire him.

The key element not to forget

Content is the key

Good sketches history on each project and nice color work for final presentation

Check out the order of your book, it has to provoke emotions so what is the best order to do so?

We must dose the number of projects because we give a message, so car design? More car projects. Industrial design? More ID projects, at so on.

Do not forget that we (professional designers) remember portfolios thanks to the mistakes we find in them! So make sure that your book is perfect!

Sketch by Denis Cherdantsev

© 2009 Luciano Bove

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Comments 19 comments

Danny Chhang 7 years ago

Thanks for posting up the great advice. Is this post about Giulio Partisani? Giulio's work is amazing.

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luciano63 7 years ago from Paris Author

Ciao Danny,

no Giulio's work is a good example to better explane what I wrote.

Cov_Graduate 7 years ago

and that british school would be without doubt the very famous yet superficial COVENTRY UNIVERSITY which spends more money in putting up advertisments in the London subway rather than hiring a qualified automotive design tutor and at the same time takes about 160 students!

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luciano63 7 years ago from Paris Author

Sorry for you but it is not that one and anyway I'll never say the name. The point is how to make a choice and with which parameters.

Coventry lately is not that bad do not be too hard on them.

Thanks for your comment

Cov_Graduate 7 years ago

well to be honest, i do agree with you but the fact remains that someone right at the top of that institution is only interested in minting money off international students and sadly even the professors admit that the student to teacher ratio is crazy! (160:1)

also last year there had been a massive revolt by the ex-students who opened up a website and just laid the bare facts.

Call it unnecessary or unprofessional but its only to help out the prospective students who not only shell out a lot of money for 4 years but their career suffers as well with the wrong choice

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luciano63 7 years ago from Paris Author

OK I get the point and you are right, I know several schools for which the main thing is to make money and they are creators of future frustrates! The point is to get info about a school to understand how serious it is, one of the best way is to see 2 things: do they make entry portfolio interviews? Do they make a real entry selection? How many start and how many end the course? Are the classes made of 10/15 students or are them of 30/40?

I think also that an alumni that sees his school going bad has to protest! I participated to the late events about Art Center and the president controversy.

Keep in touch

Dominik 6 years ago

Have you ever wondered how a car is really developed and built? Maybe if even yes, for sure you don't know those amazing details!

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luciano63 6 years ago from Paris Author

Dear Dominik ,

having developped more than 12 car design projects with 4 production cars int/ext and some concepts I believe I do know a little bit about how cars are made and a bit about your "amazing details". The point here is another, I am addressing myself to young car design students and at this stage they do not have to know about your " amazing details" to let their creativity to be developped correctly. Got the point now?

Just in case you wonder if I really know about " amazing details" go visit my professional profile on OK?


Luciano Bove

Richesh 3 years ago


Actually I love to do Transportation Design, But I am not sure whether I am good at it !!

DO you think these schools would really help us to develop on every skill like sketching, creativity etc ??

I am not someone who sketches great I can do a work

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luciano63 3 years ago from Paris Author

Dear Richesh, design schools and colleges are institutions dedicated to car designer training. If you have some talent the school will help you to develop it and use it at your best thing to do is: send your drawings to professional schools for a feedback and understand if your level is good enough to start a design school. OK?

Laurentiu 3 years ago

Dear Luciano,

I really find your advice useful, I think that every teacher should talk like this! You are a great designer and I found Renault Twizy truly inspiring in my City Car project.

I am graduating from Coventry this year (3rd) with my head up. I will not give up until I will be a respected designer!

Anyways, I am also working on my portfolio and frankly I struggle a bit with the layout of the projects and I don't know how much content to put for each. I was wondering if it is possible to send you the PDF for a short feedback (I can imagine how busy you are and if it is not possible then I will understand)

my email:


Laurentiu Bradea

cryboy 3 years ago

Speaking about car design schools, SPD in Milan is one of the worst for sure. I did the master few years ago in collaboration with VW Group and Lamborghini who were the sponsors of the master. I won't spend a lot of words to talk about my experience because everyone is different in his way in terms of behaviour, skills, etc...... I can say for sure that in SPD they don't give a s**t about the "student" in general, the only thing the care about is to please the VW, to show them the we (SPD) are a good school so you can trust us and keep investing your money on us. They want to make money like everyone else, but they forgot one simple thing : SPD is school (at least it should be), a place where to learn and improve yourself, but unfortunately their approach doesn't work. They teach you very few things, you have to learn everything else by yourself, so if you are not so strong at the beginning you won't have to many chances to show youself to VW as you really can. Every year they give scholarships but the way they assign them is not so clear ;).. for example they told me that my portfolio was very good but because i had a background not related to car design, i was not eligible as a candidate for the scholarship (ahahaha, so funny and so sad......), for sure they priviledge russian guys through the "sketch fighter" contest. I can talk forever ,so i just want to tell you guys that if you want to pursue a career in car design industry, choose a good design school like RCA or Phorzheim for example.

luciano63 profile image

luciano63 3 years ago from Paris Author

Thanks for your comment.

Juan 2 years ago

Does anyone more can give some comms about the SPD, I´m interested in the Master of Transportation design, and the comm of cryboy makes me feel very sorprised. Thank you.

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luciano63 2 years ago from Paris Author

The SPD school is not a bad school. However if you want to be successful you will have to work very hard because not matter what you will have to conquist that master with your hard work and if you have talent and passion chances are you will make it!

Juan Vásquez 2 years ago

Grazie, Luciano.

Erick Leyva 17 months ago

Hello Luciano, I'm a student trying to get into the trans program at Art Center. Is it possible to send you a copy of my portfolio for help first?

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luciano63 16 months ago from Paris Author

yes you can contact me on FB via chat!

HW 15 months ago

Dear Luciano,

I love your work...especially the Renault Twizy!!

I want to pursue a career in Transportation Design and I'm preparing a portfolio to get into a design school...i have the following questions:

1. There are 2-3 personal projects in my folio which are not associated with any car manufacturer. Is it important to include projects FOR a particular car/motorbike/bicycle brand?

2. Where do you find inspiration for your next concept? Most designers seem to find it in outside objects and then they transfer those qualities into a sketch. But for me it works the opposite way....

first i sketch something and then it looks like an object from which i was supposed to get inspired from. Why is this happening to me?


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