We're only a few days away from "Decoding Design," Ford Motor Company's second panel discussion in a series called "Designing Innovation." Last month, we listened along as fuseproject's Yves B&aeacute;har, Autodesk's Jordan Brandt, Ford's Freeman Thomas and California College of the Arts's Nathan Shedroff shared their thoughts on the role of technology in design and how products stand out from and fit in with the world around them—among many other hot topics. Taking the stage this week is Robert Tercek Panel Moderator and Creative Strategist; Jane MacGonigal, Game Designer; Moray Callum, Vice President of Design at Ford Motor Company; and Gadi Amit, Founder of NewDealDesign. Make sure to tune in on Wednesday, June 25 at 1:15 ET for the live-stream right here on the Core77 Designing Innovation channel. If you've got a question you'd like answered at the discussion, submit it on Twitter using the hashtag #designinginnovation for a chance to hear it on stage.
We caught some time with Moray to tell us a bit more about his history with automotive design and his work with Ford:
Core77: Let's start from the beginning—how did you end up becoming a car designer?
Moray Callum: I was always surrounded by cars, but I actually wanted to be a vet at one point. A day spent on a farm made me change my mind pretty quickly. I started off studying architecture but quickly gravitated towards an industrial design course. I knew a lot about cars and had a true passion for them—the step from industrial design to automotive design was an easy one.
You started at Ford in 1995, went to Mazda in 2001 and then returned to Ford in 2006—how do you feel the brand's design changed during the time you were at Mazda?
In terms of changes at Ford, those are the years Ford developed its kinetic design language—you can see its influence in some of our current products to some extent.
How do you think you helped freshen the brand's look when you returned to Ford?
I learned a lot at Mazda. I found myself working on more exuberant, emotive cars than I was used to. It taught me the importance of understanding different brand values and using them as a guide through the design of a car. The first product I worked on when I returned to Ford was the latest generation Ford Taurus. Every car since that one shows more of that emotional design language.
The 2015 Ford Mustang
Filling J Mays's shoes must have been a tough role to take on. I know it's only been about six months, but what are you most proud of or looking forward to so far in your work as Vice President of Design at Ford?
J left Ford design in great health—well-aligned globally. We now need to keep accelerating our design language and ensure a consistency of concentration on all products—and I look forward to that. Looking back, probably I'd probably say I'm most proud of the new Ford Mustang. I'm very proud of the entire team that worked on it.
What is it like getting together with your brother [Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar] now, what with of you being leaders in the transportation design world?
We often meet at shows and we keep in touch quite closely. We don't discuss our work as much as one would think. We both love design but work on very different products so we are not competitive—actually, I think we are really proud of each other.
Do you have a favorite car design? If so, what is it and why did it catch your eye?
I have several favorites, and I would probably answer this differently if you asked me again. One of my favorites is the Jaguar E-Type—it's just a beautiful car. I would also call out the Citroen DS and the original Mini. Both are great mixes of design and engineering.
The Jaguar E-Type
What do you consider the most innovative car design to date?
I don't think there is one car in particular that can be called out. There is a lot of innovation going on in the industry and a number of different interesting examples, such as the use of carbon fiber on the BMW i or clever details like the door mirror and hinge on the new Beetle. Lighting technology is another space to look at for innovation.
Aesthetics seems like its lost on the average consumer: It seems like the focus for most buyers is more on price, mileage, size, warming seats...the list goes on. What, in your opinion, is the most overlooked design aspect when it comes to cars today?
The auto industry is moving forward at an ever-accelerating pace, pushed by increased competition and rapidly evolving technology. I wouldn't say aesthetics is overlooked, though. The challenge is delivering all the functionality customers are seeking in an appealing package—a design that not only meets functional requirements but also builds an emotional connection with the customers.
Is this something you will be addressing more during the Decoding Design Session at Further with Ford?
To an extent, yes it is. There is often a perception that designers are only tasked with making things look good. Designing a vehicle is more than that—it's really thinking through the different ways a customer will be looking at and interacting with the vehicle at different times, and ensuring the overall experience at each and every one of those phases is a positive one.
What advice do you have for students looking to take on a career in transportation design?
First of all, remember you are designing a car for someone else, not yourself. Second, be aware of global trends and of what defines a brand. Last but not least, have a global outlook and be open to working anywhere.