A couple days ago I said we need more design competitions and cited a few examples of auto oriented competitions from the likes of the SAE and Ferrari. Some might wonder why I didn’t mention the Motorcycle Design Association, after all, we previously noted the design win by the Ducati Hypermotard as Design of the Year for 2005 awarded by the MDA along with a number of other class winners. Isn’t that the place to look for this type of thing? Well, yes and no.
The Motorcycle Design Association recently redesigned their web site so it’s much easier to get around and see what they offer. There are lots of designers referenced with some very nice samples of their work, they have a list of associated colleges and schools plus there are company sponsors from the motorcycle industry. Overall, the MDA seems to be where all of the motorcycle designers hang out, but, when you look at the many and various awards, it’s all after the fact. Companies design motorcycles, the motorcycles appear at international shows and the MDA sorts through what they see and names the winners.
Missing from the above is the open design competition, soliciting designs from anywhere and everywhere, not just the companies able to exhibit at the shows, setting the rules and guidelines and then seeing what happens. There is a wealth of talent outside the industry and many of these budding designers would willingly submit their work for a chance at recognition. Make it tough, set the target market or segment, require as many views as necessary to show the designer has really thought the idea through, then see what comes in.
Today, the technical barriers to being able to turn out first rate designs are pretty low, the factor that makes one design better than another is the designer. You don’t have to work in the design department of a major company to have access to the tools, you just need good ideas and the knowledge of how to put it together on a computer using one or more of the various CAD packages. A good knowledge of materials and the production process helps, too.
This is one more area where barriers to entry are low and a little competition might stimulate some great ideas. Are there any designers out there who want to get in on this? We had a suggestion the other day that The Kneeslider should have an online competition, is there enough interest among our readers? I’m not sure, but if there is, we might try this. Thoughts?
The Kneeslider: Motorcycle Design Competitions