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Designers play a critical role in every company that produces composite materials and applications. But how exactly does one become a designer, what are their roles, and what is the job market like? We interviewed APSAC’s (Avant Pays Savoie Composites) designer Laetitia Le Maner to find out.
(Published on October-November 2006 – JEC Magazine #28)
AN INTERVIEW WITH LAETITIA LE MANER, DESIGNER, APSAC
JEC Composites Magazine: How long have you been working as a composite designer and how did you come to work in this field (studies, training, etc.)?
Laetitia Le Maner: I have been working as a designer for the composite part manufacturer APSAC for a year now. After having completed a higher technical diploma in industrial design, I was accepted at the International School of Industrial Design in Toulon where I did two years of combined study and practical training as a developer/designer with APSAC.
JCM: What kind of responsibilities do you have?
L. L. M.: Being the only industrial designer at APSAC, a small company with a staff of 19, I am also in charge of certain sales and marketing aspects. I am in direct contact with customers from the very beginning, which helps me analyse the project in a different light, better identify requirements, help define specifications and provide additional services through design.
JCM: Can you describe a typical working day? Or is every day very different?
L. L. M.: Every day is very different, which makes my job so interesting. Composite materials provide incredible diversity not only in terms of the possible fields of application (from cars and street furniture to aeronautics) but also in terms of technical possibilities and appearance.
JCM: What are the biggest obstacles or challenges to overcome in your job?
L. L. M.: This job position has just been created, and such jobs are only just beginning to appear in the field of subcontracting, which means that every day involves adapting and explaining what my work consists in. Today’s challenge is to succeed in finalising studies that will lead to production, either for one of our customers or for our own range of products. Exchanging ideas with customers, the engineering department or workshop is what I like the most in my profession. I’m also taking part in a R&D process for the creation of samples showing the different aspects of composites: a source of inspiration for any industrial designer!
JCM: What is the current employment market like for your type of job? What do you think the market will be like over the next five years?
L. L. M.: The industrial design approach is still a foreign concept in many companies. Industrial design should increasingly influence small and mediumsized businesses and industries, especially if they want to stand out from the crowd or penetrate new markets. Jobs in industrial design are constantly changing and require a capacity to adapt.