Ford Vehicles In Grandville, Michigan

Ford Food for Thought: What Makes A Vehicle Design “Great?”

October 8th, 2013

social.ford.comOn the heels of ArtPrize, we found this article from Ford Social on what makes for great design in vehicles timely and interesting. Just like Grand Rapids’ public art festival, Artprize, some designs seem to capture the imagination of the public above all others. Over the years at Borgman Ford, we’ve we’ve watched the strategic design team roll out many iconic hits. Check out this article to learn about the “One Ford” philosophy of design, then stop by to drive one 😉

By Tori Tellem

What makes a particular design great? OK, that’s sort of a trick question, because design is very subjective. Take art: Two people can look at a painting and have a very different reaction to it.  Two people can look at architecture, and one may have an emotional connection while the other feels nothing. Styles of clothing either appeal or don’t.

Now think about the challenges with car design. It’s got all of that — it has to look “right” to the eyes, cause an emotional connection and be appealing. Then it’s about making that “look” speak to the masses, and often on a global scale. Your vehicle needs to not only stand out in the crowd, but also make that crowd think about buying the same vehicle for themselves. It’s also about creating an iconic design, recognizable worldwide, easily identified even by those who don’t own one.

“Great design is defined by purpose, simplicity, emotion and, above all, honesty,” explained Freeman Thomas, Ford Director of Strategic Design. “Great design must have a soul and a philosophy. Ford is about great design.”

The One Ford philosophy about design has to do with vehicles sharing characteristics that will appeal to consumers on all continents. “I consider the Stahl House, the 1965 Ford GT40 and the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi to be three significant representations of these values,” explained Freeman. Stahl House, which is considered an iconic example of modern architecture, has much in common with Ford. “Its design transcends social class. It was a case study about creating affordable housing with aspiration. Its simplicity is humbling,” Freeman said. Ford vehicles have simplicity in design,  yet also push boundaries.

The concept of Ford design is to create that appeal, no matter how the vehicle will be used. Whether consumer-oriented or for motorsports, mpg or mph — the vehicle needs to have a design that strikes a chord and gets attention. Freeman also said, “It’s about looking at something and feeling as though it’s so much more. The Fusion Energi is a car that visually looks so premium and so expensive. It is a plug-in hybrid so it is explicit in its conscience and purpose, yet it has that irrational desire – it’s a gorgeous car.”


 

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