MA Transportation Design Program at the Umeå Institute of Design
by David Meyers    12 Mar 2009
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The Umeå Institute of Design. Click for larger images
At the UID, students find a working environment similar to professional design studios, with individual work places
A student's proposal for a flexible aircraft passenger seat (left); Digital model from final year student done in Alias (right)
A student adds the finishing touches to his presentation model
Students Son Wan-Ryeol (left) and Mauricio Bedolla Gasca's (right) sketches for two seperate sponsored projects done in collaboration with Swedish truckbuilder Scania
Student Doojin Choi and Program Director Demian Horst evaluate a recently milled model. Facilities are equipped with several milling and rapid prototyping machines
Chris Benham's proposal for the interior design of a Volvo C30. Project sponsored by Polestar Racing company.
Inspirational image developed by student Hyoungsoo Kim during a form exploration process

The Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University Sweden attracts young design students from all over the world to its two-year Master of Arts degree program in Transportation Design, the first of its kind in the Nordic countries. This year's MA program, for which the Institute is anticipating another talented pool of applicants, is open for registration until the 15th of April.

The interior of the Umeå Institute of Design
Ideas for a Volvo Waste Truck interior by student Doojin Choi
Student Pasi Paananen assembles finished parts of his motorcycle design.
Student Chris Benham's proposal for a Wally-branded vehicle
One of the school's workshop model assembly facilities
Automotive industry tutor demonstrating sketching techniques
Michael Nicola's 'Senses' sketch proposal for a vehicle guided by the sense of smell
Final presentation of student Lisa Lindberg's work on the Strategic Design project

The body of students currently enrolled in the MA Transportation Design program is truly international, with representatives from Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, Ireland, Spain, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Sweden.

The program is unique for its scope of interest, encompassing the complete transportation design field in collaboration with industry. Most of the tutors that help the students during courses and projects are actively working in the automotive industry.

"We have a goal to make the transportation design program more visible to companies outside of Sweden. Representatives from Toyota and other companies visit our facilities every year in February to recruit students," says Demian Horst, director of the program, who has previously worked for GM in Germany and is also a Umea graduate.

Several students have travelled to Tokyo, Japan for internship program at Toyota Design, while other collaborative partners have included Peugeot, Fiat, Volkswagen, Scania, Volvo Cars, Volvo Trucks and Saab.

The education program harnesses Scandinavian design traditions, in which the needs of the person are always emphasized and the focus is on creativity and realistic solutions.

Students will utilize industry-standard tools such as Alias, RTT, Maya and Photoshop. Graduating students achieve an understanding about three-dimensional forms, having used the university's exceptional facilities for clay modeling, milling, rapid prototyping and digital measurements (3D scanning for reverse engineering) on their own models.

Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University has been recognized as a 'Center of Excellence' in 2008 by the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education, and was also named as one of the best design schools in the world by Business Week magazine in 2006 and 2007. The Institute has a total of 135 students from 26 different countries in four study programs; approximately 95 percent of graduating students obtain employment as industrial designers within six months.

The University has recently approved the expansion of the area by the banks of the scenic Umeå River where the Umeå Institute of Design is located into a new and modern Campus of Art and Design. The vision is to construct a creative environment to attract students, teachers and researchers from around the globe. The campus will include schools of fine arts and architecture and an art museum. As the area develops, there will be a gallery, restaurant, café and an incubator for creative companies.

During their education, students will have the opportunity to develop various types of vehicles for consumer and professional use. Projects range from private cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and caravans, to aircraft, public transport systems and more.

This year's diploma projects for the MA Transportation Design Program - which will be presented at the annual design exhibition held on June 3rd - are the culmination of a 20-week process encompassing a time plan, budget, and evidence that the final product can be faceted. Furthermore, they are always conducted in close collaboration with the design industry.

The students are developing very relevant concepts dealing with sustainability, new manufacturing and logistics methods, visual safety and extreme vehicle functionality. Other visionary projects include outer-space exploration, an art-inspired small car and even a racing vehicle that will adapt to its environment in ways never seen or proposed before.

For more information visit the Umeå Institute of Design website: