“In an entrepreneurial business you have to get to the point and then solve the problem quickly,” says Klatt. “The master’s program focuses not just on the aesthetic qualities of the craft of designing, by sketching and virtually building models and clay models, but also a lot more on the academic, theoretical approach of the business, which has a lot to do with understanding a problem and researching facts.”
Clearly Klatt’s experience and background has prepared him well for his new challenge. He aims to instill that designers need to form a “collaborative approach with engineers” to develop something together and “not just expect the engineers to execute what the designer comes up with.”
Having spent years of his career working on both sides of the fence, Klatt’s unique perspective will not only help the students develop the quality of their work but also enable a greater understanding of the different areas involved in the creation of a vehicle.
As such, the MFA program’s curriculum will be expanded to cater to the changes taking place in the industry while answering a few questions: “How do you develop a product for a specific brand? Or tailor your design approach to suit the brand’s aesthetic? It’s also strategic thinking – what is a strategy? And why is a strategy important?”
“I believe that designers should invent. Their ideas are often incredible because they think broader, more outside of the box of the engineering rule set.”
Klatt also aims to give students on the MFA course a broader understanding of the automotive business, covering price points, cost structures, and what volume is necessary to divide those costs down to achieve a successful profit margin. He sees his remit as “teaching the designer the automotive design business and the product, stitching everything together.”
Over the course of his career Klatt’s also filed numerous patents, notably for a rollover protection system at Mercedes-Benz and most recently the drive-by-wire gear selector for the Fisker Karma. He is keen to help the students at CCS develop their inventions as well.
“I believe that designers should invent,” Klatt said. “They come with a different context, and sometimes dream about how physics work. Their ideas are often incredible because they think broader, more outside of the box of the engineering rule set. From my perspective, going through this entrepreneurial business, if you write patents this intellectual property is ultimately worth the most in the value of a company.”
Klatt will now work collaboratively with the academic and administrative departments across the College and, in conjunction with the Deans of Undergraduate and Graduate Studies and the BFA Chair of Transportation Design, build a cohesive framework for the MFA Transportation Design program.
“My approach is to share [my experience] and to explore opportunities with the students. That’s why I’m so excited. I carry it around with me. My aesthetic background and my engineering, business, and entrepreneurial background is just so broad, I am happy to give it to someone.”
To find out more about the College for Creative Studies’ MFA Transportation Design Program and apply follow this link to the website