Alumnus Returns to CCS to Work with Current Students, Challenging Them as Storytellers

August 31, 2022
close up image of a futuristic concept car multi passenger vehicle

Alumnus Returns to CCS to Work with Current Students, Challenging Them as Storytellers

Transportation Design alumnus comes back to CCS with his colleagues to share industry knowledge, and work with students as they work with unique perspectives to tell stories through transportation design. 

Alumnus Andrew Rudd (‘17, Transportation Design) works as an Industrial Designer at Zoox. Zoox is a subsidiary of Amazon and the creator of a league of autonomous vehicles, following their motto: “The Future is for Riders.” Rudd has been with Zoox since 2019.

“I love to tell stories, and if I couldn’t do that—I was going to leave car design,” Rudd said. “Zoox was the only company that drew me in that wasn’t just a car design studio, but a future storytelling company.”

In a sponsored studio course, Zoox challenged Transportation Design and graduate Color & Materials Design students to think of car design as a story, and not just a sketch or a drawing. This led to students being inspired by a wide array of things, and while some students took inspiration from childhood memories, others were inspired by unlikely sources, like the anatomy of a pufferfish.

When asked why he chose to work with CCS, he said: “I feel a sense of responsibility to CCS for what it has given me,” he said. “I met people that were nicer to me than I deserved and gave me chances that I didn’t earn. Being able to come back with everything that I’ve learned through the kindness of strangers and show [students] without them having to go through what I did to get there.” 

In his early days as a designer, Rudd was found comparing himself to other designers and making their work his benchmark. He offers this advice: To be a good designer, you don’t have to be an amazing artist. Find your strengths and your passions, and use that as an extension of your work.

Rudd and his colleagues were impressed, inspired, and challenged by the final concepts students worked on all semester to produce.

“You expect to come back and see students that really struggled with their understanding of the brief, or didn’t have enough time to reach the result they wanted,” Rudd said. “But this was one of the first times, even in my time in school, where I saw a project and everyone had something stellar. I didn’t have to fake it and pretend that something was good. They impressed and inspired me, which is why we [Zoox] came here.”