Job type

Automotive designer

£18k - £60k

Typical salary

37 – 45

Hours per week

Automotive designers design the visual appearance of cars and other vehicles, taking into consideration technical and market needs.

More info

  • Design cars and other vehicles for a living, in the UK or overseas
  • Exciting work on what may be high profile or mass production vehicles
  • Highly competitive - you'll need to be talented and dedicated to succeed


  • Produce concept sketches based on a brief, and develop these using a combination of hand drawing and specialist graphics packages.
  • You may also need to build prototypes and models - in the automotive industry these are often made from clay as this produces the best finish for understanding what the final vehicle will look like and how it will perform.
  • Work on the aesthetic elements of the design of vehicles rather than the engineering elements - design the exterior or interior elements of a vehicle based on market needs.


You'll usually work on a vehicle as part of a team that might include marketing specialists, engineers, and prototyping and testing specialists.

You'll need

Most automotive designers study for a specialist degree and sometimes a master's before getting their first role. You can study automotive design at a small number of universities in the UK, and it's a good idea to look for programmes that have lots of interaction with the industry or whose graduates have a good track record of going on to find jobs in the sector.

Studying art or design subjects at school or college will help you gain a place on one fo these programmes.

You'll need a passion for cars/motorbikes/other vehicles, dedication and commitment to improving your skills, excellent artistic and creative ability, good digital literacy (to use specialist software packages), and excellent communication skills for presenting your ideas.


Automotive design is a highly competitive field with a very small number of openings each year worldwide, and as it is a global industry you may need to be prepared to move overseas to fulfil your ambitions. With experience you could specialise in a particular area like interiors.