The main challenge of Automotive Design is to combine aerodynamics, aesthetics and ergonomics principles on one hand, while still meeting Type Approval regulations on the other hand, which are safety regulations. To ensure a vehicle is aerodynamic, its exterior design has to include several essential shapes: curves, the shoulder, a wedge, etc.
The automotive interior designer tackles the challenge of fitting together all the components of the car while maintaining its aesthetics and comfort. Designers are also in charge of selecting the materials the different parts of the vehicle will be made of: fabric, plastic, metal, as well as the trim package. A trim package is a set of adornments fitted on the car such as: paint patterns, bumpers, wood trims, etc.
Automotive designers first translate their ideas into hand-drawn sketches first, then into computer-rendered graphics with the use of CAD (computer-aided design), an advanced 3d software. But these are only the early steps of the entire creative process and are not sufficient to fully appraise the design of a car or a truck.
The next steps consist in fleshing out their original ideas by displaying them into the real world. To do so, designers carve scale models, usually using a type of clay called industrial plasticine. Eventually, a full-size model is carved to translate the look and feel of what will become the final design. Aside from aesthetics considerations, scale models are used for aerodynamics testing.
More information about other types of design:
Design definition and key concepts