College for Creative Studies: Transportation Design
Good designers follow the rules. Exceptional designers know when to trust their instincts. David Byron took this advice to heart as a student and continues to rely on intuitive thinking while tackling complex design challenges across several diverse industries.
“I remember hearing one of my professors say, ‘Someone has entrusted you to be their designer; don’t worry about everything else and just design!’” said Byron. “This makes sense. As the designer you need to confidently be the one making the design decisions. If you can survive CCS’ rigorous transportation design program, you are more than qualified. Criticism should never stand in the way of your vision.”
Byron is a senior designer at consulting firm Sundberg-Ferar in Walled Lake, Michigan. Over the past two years, he has worked on everything from New York City subway train cars and off-road ATVs to kitchen appliances and cross-fit equipment.
“I get to make use of my full range of design skills I learned at CCS because we do transportation design, product design and design strategy/research.”
“For example, I recently spent two weeks in China doing research on factory workers and their equipment to improve products for American industrial manufacturers.” Byron said.
Before joining Sundberg-Ferar, Byron spent seven years doing automotive design for General Motors, ASC (American Specialty Cars) and Saleen where he conceptualized the 2008 S5S Raptor superior and 2010 Saleen S281. He transitioned from cars to sports equipment when he accepted a position as lead helmet designer at New Balance’s hockey and lacrosse brand Warrior Sports (Warren).
“It was a lot of fun!” recalled Byron. “I got to work with pro players and Red Wings Captain Henrik Zetterberg currently wears the helmet I worked on.”
Byron considers CCS the start of his career and a significant part of his professional life today. Student projects, such as the GM Autonomy and Lexus LX SUV, provided him with real world experience, and encouragement from professors provided him with inspiration.
“I remember one of my instructors, Ralph Gilles, saying that it’s not following the rules that sells an idea; it’s getting consumers to feel the emotions—the cool factor,” said Byron.
The designer returned to CCS in 2008 to teach product design studios and digital visual communication, which covers color, rendering, drawing and using industry software (PhotoShop and Illustrator). He also teaches workshops as part of the National Fine Arts Festival, organized through the Assemblies of God.
“Each year about 32,000 students take part in the festival,” said Byron. “I enjoy having the opportunity to share a little about my career with upcoming artists. Hopefully I can inspire them as much as they inspire me. ”