With temperatures soaring across North America, there's no better time to hunker down in an air-conditioned room with your pen, vellum, and markers (or, more realistically, your computer and tablet) and get working on your entries into the GM Interactive Design Competition 2012.
It's only been a month since the official launch of the 2012 GM Interactive Design Competition and we're already seeing strong participation and a very high level of quality for the entries. Open to all full-time college or university students from across the US and Canada, this competition is a great way to gain exposure, but also to keep up and improve your skills over the summer.
With five paid internships (housing included) at GM's studios in Warren, MI up for grabs, there's no better launchpad for your career in the automotive industry, and getting your entries online early also gives you a head-start on the competition by allowing the public and mentors to critique and review your work. Seeing what the other competitors are doing is also the best way to learn, grow, and advance your designs and techniques too.
Don't forget to work methodically though! The judges will be looking for more than just pretty pictures. Be sure to start with your mood and inspiration boards and a solid customer profile before launching yourself into ideation and sketches. Nothing will help you find a clear direction for your design than a good base of inspiration, and once you do start some ideation sketches, nothing will help you refine them better than posting them for discussion on the site. In addition to the public, there are 12 mentors from inside and outside GM that will be regularly visiting the site to help you work out problems, give you honest criticism, and to push you to find the limits of your creativity – all with the final judging and those internships in mind!
I also want to remind any students who are coming from a discipline other than transportation design (which is highly encouraged!) that a great concept, innovative thinking, and a great presentation are as important as the final artwork. Don't be discouraged if your style doesn't match someone else's. Learn from them and they'll probably learn something from you as well. Work to your strengths, and if you have questions, let the online community and the contest mentors help you find answers.
Although one month has already passed us by, you still have until September 2 2012 to get those first-round entries submitted (interior and exterior are required to participate!). There are four brands/briefs to choose from, and although there is already some nice work being posted, everything is still wide open regarding the concepts and winners.
By starting early and posting your ideas to the competition website, you'll have an entire "lazy" summer to work on, refine, and with a little luck, become a finalist in a competition that can truly change your life. With the finalists being brought to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in January 2013, there's a great chance to get your name out there and be seen by industry professionals even if you don't win.
So while you're sitting by the pool trying to keep cool, don't forget to pick up a sketchbook and start working on the innovations and designs that could bring you an opportunity to improve your skills, a fun online forum to see and discuss your fellow students' work, and maybe, if you work really hard, an internship from GM.
Now that's a summer well spent. Good luck and I'll see you online!