Thursday, September 25, 2008

Design Engineer vs. Designer

I was asked today what the difference between a Design Engineer and a Designer is.

I suppose the quick answer to the fundamental difference between these two can be stated in another "one vs. the other" phrase: Engineering vs. Art. I think this is especially true when you're talking Design Engineering vs. Transportation Design.

Now, that isn't to say that there's some shared knowledge between the two and each person doesn't possess some of the skills that the person on the other side of the label has, but each person has a particular focus on either engineering or design, sometimes supplemented by the other. This is in fact the classic definition of both the terms Mechanical Engineer and Design Engineer (Mechanical Engineer being the more broad, umbrella title which may encompass more than just design). Speaking in terms of the difference between a Design Engineer and a Designer (someone other than a Transportation Designer which would be more toward the Art side of things. Think CAD Operator, drafter etc.) the Design Engineer typically leads the design effort using engineering to decide WHAT is to be designed and the designer will carry out the actual process of designing the part given the engineering guidelines. Once again, it is possible that each person possesses some knowledge of what the other person needs to complete the task, but each has a particular focus in the overall goal.

It is this ability to cross boundaries within oneself and to create cross pollination amongst a group of Designers (of many types), Design Engineers and non technical people that makes for the most informed and as a result successful units, and that is exactly the type of team and community working relationship we hope to harbor. One such example is one that you may already be aware of if you've been reading the blogs of either Jay or Ari, in which they've spoken about our newest website utility - the Glossary. Check it out for terms not only about car design, or engineering, but anything LM!

Maybe I should add these terms to the Glossary? Hmm....

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