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Series: Car Design Schools Have Changed So Should You! Part -3

Going By the times we are in right now, it's safe to say future scenarios in many areas including Design Education are not going to be the same as we were accustomed to.

Read Part 2 Here


Savio Joseph

Hochschule Pforzheim, Germany

My name is Savio Joseph Thomas and I come from Kerala, India. I am a 5th Semester BA Transportation Design Student at the Hochschule Pforzheim in Germany, and I am currently doing an Internship at Mercedes-Benz Exterior Design in Sindelfingen.

How I decided to be an Automotive

A designer is a long story. I loved cars and tried to draw them as long as I can remember, but living in a small village, I was not aware of this field of

studies, so the classic story, I studied Automobile Engineering in Kerala. But during the studies, without knowing much about the design I used to draw cars and around the beginning of 2010 a friend told me about an article in the Overdrive magazine on Renault Design India and that changed everything for me. That gave me the Infos, helped me define my dream, and gave me perspective. Huge shout out to the guys who wrote it. There I saw sketches, clay models, etc. and info about the best schools, websites, etc. and I instantly knew, this is it. That’s the dream. From that point, I became a super self-motivated person and spend practically all my free time sketching and gathering Info about schools, designers and I read almost anything I could find on the Internet about Car Design at that time.

I completed my Engineering studies in 2013 and decided to study Car Design. I first wanted to go to the US and even got a place there with a bit of scholarship, but it was not enough. It seemed too costly for my Father who is Farmer to help me with that. But he told me not to give up on my dreams. So, I looked for other options and understood that Hochschule Pforzheim is far cheaper in comparison. But for the Bachelors's, I had to learn German. So, I spend almost a Year learning German at Goethe Zentrum in Kerala and cleared the TestDaF language test. Then, I put together a Portfolio and applied at Pforzheim, but got rejected. Applied a second time and finally got in, did a pre-internship, and started my dream studies in Winter 2017 at the age of 27.

Q1: Tell about us your design college, its legacy, values, and motto?

A: Hochschule Pforzheim is, without doubt, one of the best schools in the world and that’s also a huge reason, why I chose to study here. As far I know, almost every major car brand in Europe and elsewhere has got a hand full of guys, very often even as Head of Designs or team leaders, who studied in Pforzheim. Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW, Lambo, Audi, VW, Volvo, etc, just to name a few.

From what I see here, what that separates Pforzheim from the rest is the way of teaching here. You are never forced to learn any technique.

There is no spoon-feeding here and as a result, all students develop their styles and ways of thinking.

It could be debated, whether it’s good or bad, but as far I can see. It works very well. The teachers here are mostly from the Industry, coming to teach after work like from Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, etc. And in almost every semester you might have a cooperation Project with some major brands and designers visit us regularly to mentor the student projects.

And as I said, since you are not getting spoon-fed, you should push yourself and you definitely will, because you are surrounded by few of the best students in the world. We push each other and learn from each other. That’s one of the coolest things here.

Q2: What are the requirements for getting into your design college? Please explain to us in short about the process of application, scholarships, selection criteria, student visa, and any particular difficulty you faced during the entire process?

A: First of all I must say that getting in at Pforzheim especially if you are looking for a Bachelor is not easy at all, but it is possible if you are ready to put in the work.

The process of the application here is in 2 steps. First, you need to apply with a portfolio of work and in the case of foreign students a German language certificate is a requirement, which you could even submit after getting a place, but for the 2nd-second step, namely the Aptitude Test and the Interview, you would need German Language knowledge to most effectively tackle them. So, I would suggest getting fluent in German before applying.

To give a small idea about numbers here. After the first step, they invite around 50 Candidates for the Aptitude Test and the Interview. After this, they take around 10 Students in a semester. As I started we were 9 Students in our semester. They never try to fill the seats, so the number of students varies from semester to semester, from 6 to a maximum of 12 or 15.

In case of difficulty, I would say the aptitude test and the interview are the most difficult steps.

Q3: What makes your college an ideal place for studying design? (Please elaborate in short about your campus experience, design exposure, and design process)

A: As I mentioned earlier, two of the most important things that make Hochschule Pforzheim an ideal place for studying are the visiting teachers from the Industry and the super talented, motivated fellow students, who push you to get better.

The campus of the University is not in a single place. Design Faculty is in a separate part of the city than the Engineering and Business faculties and above all Transportation, Design has a special building even far from all of them. The school is not rich, because it is not a private school and doesn’t charge any fees. So, you can’t expect to have a 5 Star set up here, but all the necessary stuff to complete your studies are available.

The design exposure we get here is very nice. You can get in touch with a lot of Professional Designers from major brands during the degree shows and other events.

The design process varies based on the semester you are in.

Q4: How do you think the design philosophy of your college is preparing you to tackle the world of automotive design?

A: As I mentioned earlier,

you are not forced to learn here, so you should be self-motivated and work for yourself.

And that, in my opinion, is a very good thing, which helps you get disciplined, work hard and grow as a person. And of course, the teaching, feedback, etc. also help you a lot. One other important aspect which prepares you to tackle the world of Automotive Design is the mandatory internship during the 5th Term. There you learn a lot since you get to work with professionals or real projects.

Q5: Which design course taught in the college had an impact on your thought process?

A: I can’t specifically say any particular course here that had some special impact on my thought process, because I learned something valuable from almost every course taught here.

Q6: If given the chance to design your college curriculum, what would you like to change or add?

A: I would give more importance to CAD modeling than in the current curriculum, where we only have an Alias course in the 3rd semester. I would suggest starting 3D basics even earlier and also have more in-depth Alias courses. Of course, one must not forget the importance of sketching, but I feel 3D knowledge is also very important.

Q7: What qualities do you think are required to become a good design student?

A: For the bachelors in Pforzheim they don’t look how good you can already sketch cars, rather they look for your artistic aptitude, and hence the name of the admission tests “Artistic Aptitude Test”.I think these things would help anyone become a great student at any school.

At the end of the day, it all comes down to your hunger for success, the school you study in is just one of the many ways to get to your goal.

Q8: Any word of advice or personal story you would like to share for young aspiring designers?

A: My greatest suggestion to all aspiring designers, including me here, is to enjoy the process and never to give up on your dreams. If you are passionate, curious, and persistent, you can achieve anything. So just believe in yourself, keep pushing, and enjoy the process of getting better. All the very best!

-Design Odyssey


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Aug 23, 2020

What are the struggles you faced going from an engineering bg to a design school scenario?


Sarch Designs
Sarch Designs
Aug 22, 2020

Your story looks more or less like mine The difference is that I am only 14 All things that you said would definitely help 😊 Thank you sir 👍

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