When I grow up I want to be . . . an industrial designer

By Charlene
08 January 2014

We spoke to Marc Ruwiel (47), industrial designer, about his career

Where did you study?

University of Stellenbosch & Cape Peninsula of Technology

What did you study and for how long?

I first completed a degree in Industrial Engineering at Stellenbosch, and later did a NHD ( now called B.Tech) in Industrial Design at the Cape Technikon ( Now CPUT )

Where are you from?

I was born in Amstelveen, the Netherlands.  My parents emigrated to South Africa when I was 8 years old.  At the time I had little choice in the matter, but now I would not want to live anywhere else.

Why did you choose industrial design?

It combines creativity and practicality.  I started off with engineering, but soon realised that it was much too restrictive for me.

How long have you been working in this field?

15 years

What are the perks and downfalls of this career?

The perks are that the work is not repetitive.  One is always doing something different and always learning.  One of the downfalls is that clients quite often “play it safe” and do not want to push the creative envelope.

Which personality traits would suit this career?

Industrial design is a career that has space for a number of different personalities.  There really is no typical industrial designer.  Naturally, one needs to be creative and inquisitive.  Some designers are better at conceptual and “blue sky” thinking, while others are more practical and concentrate on making things work.  There is room for both in this career.

Generally speaking how good is remuneration?

There is no “generally speaking” in terms of remuneration in Industrial design.  The better you are, the more you will be paid.

What advice do you have for prospective industrial designer?

Draw, dream and take everything apart that you can get your hands on.

What subjects do you need to go study industrial design?

I would say Mathematics, Art and Technology.  It helps to have a good general knowledge as well.

How would you rate job satisfaction on a scale from 1 to 10?

On good days, 11.  It is great to see one’s designs go into production.  All jobs have bad days though.

Marc is the owner of Ideso, an industrial design firm in Cape Town. For more information, visit Ideso’s website by clicking here.

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