Between the growing number of automakers needing more distinct designs to stand out from the herd and EVs demanding wholly new methods of design, there’s probably been more public focus on car design in the past decade than since the 1960s. The attention will only get more pronounced as even more automakers enter the game and EV makers work to keep their wares from turning into partially autonomous appliances. Enter the Petersen Automotive Museum and online education developer Yellowbrick, who have teamed up to provide a free Auto Design & Sketching course.
The Petersen needs no introduction. Yellowbrick’s business is creating online programs around leaders in a given field who provide real-world knowledge for course takers. The roster of guest professors for this auto design course includes Hispano Suiza design director Francesc Arenas, Stellantis design boss Ralph Gilles, Tesla head designer Franz von Holzhausen, Nio senior designer Colin Phipps, Chrysler brand CEO Christine Feuell, and Art Center College of Design faculty member Roman Yneges among others.
Auto Design & Sketching is broken into three modules, each of those broken into a number of lessons that run from about 90 seconds to six minutes. The first two modules focus on understanding what’s gone into vehicles of the past, but all modules make sure to connect to today’s world of getting vehicles from sketch to production. Yellowbrick’s Justin Wolske said, “We designed this course to simplify and illuminate a path to a career in automotive design.”
Module one is “Design Principles & History,” its 17 videos starting with “From the Wheel to the Car,” making sure to ask “What Makes a Great Designer?” and ending with “Final Engineering and Manufacturing.” This one leans on the Petersen’s extensive in-house knowledge, and as museum representatives explain the evolution of the automobile, many of the themes guiding the industry 100 years ago could be swapped into a discussion about today’s auto industry word-for-word. The next module, “Famous Case Studies,” today’s design directors diving into four icons: The DeLorean DMC-12, the Lamborghini Gallardo, the retro incarnation of the Ford Shelby Mustang starting in 2005, and the Tesla Model S. The last installment is “Let’s Draw,” which gets hands on with exercises like perspective-based sketching guided by professor Yneges.
It takes nothing more than being more than 13 years old and having an e-mail address to sign up for the free instruction. The first two modules are up now, the third goes live in January, and the course will stay live until December 17, 2023.