Griffith University student Aidan Donald is revving up the car design industry and he hasn’t even graduated yet.
The third-year Bachelor of Industrial Design student launched into designing modified cars after realising he could turn his love of drawing photorealistic artworks of performance and custom cars into a career.
“I transitioned into designing these cars as a freelancer, creating digital renderings of them based on a client’s brief so everyone working on the cars could see the end goal,” Aidan said.
“A couple of my customers were using CAD (computer-aided design) and 3D printing in the process of building these cars and I saw how it could be used in my process, as well as expanding my skills and abilities in the custom car industry.
“After seeing what they were up to with these tools, I was hooked and enrolled at Griffith a few weeks after.”
Aidan was always destined for a lifelong love of cars.
“My earliest memory of liking and being around cars was when my dad has his 1983 VH Commodore – I was probably three or four years old,” he said.
“He’d always be doing something to it and it was a pretty tough car.
“My dad built and owned a few early Commodores and other classic cars when I was young and is an automotive spray painter by trade, so I’ve been around cars since I can remember.”
Aidan is currently working with Customs 4 Cancer and Moits Motorcars, as well as several other leading companies in the aftermarket industry, to design a pro-touring 1968 Chevrolet Camaro.
“It’s been awesome fun taking everyone’s input to create such a great looking car,” he said.
“Once the build is complete, it’ll be raffled off to raise funds for the Cancer Council, which makes the project so much more worthwhile as it’s for a really great cause.”
Earlier this year, Aidan was awarded the Laurie Starling Student Scholarship for excellence in automotive fabrication.
He also has several other projects on the boil, such as working with Street Machine Magazine on their Expression Session section and various other high-level show car builds that include one-off parts like wheels, grilles and more.
The student has not let the demise of automotive manufacturing in Australia deter him, aiming further afield after graduation.
“After this, I’d like to expand into the US modified/custom car market, the market over there is much bigger, and there are a lot of really exciting projects popping up there all the time,” Aidan said.
“But if a decent automotive design studio in Australia were to pop up again, I’d really like to look into working at one.”
Aidan said his Griffith study has expanded his skillset from sketching and 2D photoshop rendering to creating physical models and prototypes, CAD models and using new, professional-level software.
“The combination of these skills has given me the ability to take projects from the concept phase all the way through to designing for manufacturing, which is really exciting and has allowed me to take on a wider variety of projects,” he said.
“My time at Griffith has helped me immensely to succeed in my industry.”
The third-year student said he’s enjoyed meeting like-minded people through his time at university and the relationships he built with his teachers.
“Industrial design is a bit more of a niche profession, so making friends that are just as interested in these things makes it so much more enjoyable and helps open doors career-wise too,” Aidan said.
“The lecturers and other staff at Griffith also often make a really good effort to help me advance my skills outside of my courses… which I think is really cool.”