Inside the Mind of a Ford Designer

By Ford Social Member

How did you feel when you first saw your car, truck or SUV? There's a reason some cars and trucks are totally cool to look at (you know, all Ford vehicles!), while others are completely forgettable. It has a lot to do with how the designer approaches the subject. In the case of Ford Motor Company Designer Anthony Prozzi, who was formerly a fashion designer for Donna Karen, it doesn’t matter whether it’s clothing or a vehicle, the principles remain the same.

Anthony says first and foremost, a designer should look to the silhouette, shape and proportion, and also the message that needs to be conveyed. “That's why a Mustang looks like a Mustang, or a truck has to say ‘tough,’” he explained. “Cars like the Fiesta or Fusion transmit other statements. Fiesta says, smart, urban, really cool and hip, while Fusion says the same, but in a more upscale sort of way.” The power of that design gives you your first impression, that emotional connection.

Yet it’s not just the designer who has a say in how a vehicle will look. You do, too! Anthony relies on his design team, but also on focus groups to learn about trends within the buying public. "How does this translate to the values that these people are adapting and how do you take all that information and then transform it into a three-dimensional object that they can drive, sense, touch, feel, smell?” he said. Take the Focus, for example. The surfaces, nuances and textures as well as the mix of materials are what make the design exciting. “We're taking it to a whole new level; we're really getting inside people's thoughts and even when they can't say what they want, we know what they want and we can give it to them,” he revealed.

What about the future of vehicle design? For that, simply look at what’s happening globally. “Things need to be made from materials that are sustainable, that are not just eco, but what I'm terming Eco Superior,” Anthony said. “That we can take all these ideas and produce a product that's even better because it's electric or because it's hybrid and because it's made out of recycled materials and materials that don't pollute."
Jack Donelan 02/21/2012
I'm all about excitement, let's move forward,retro means taking steps backwards and redundancy.I'm looking for newer smaller profiles surrounding significantly comfortable people in less confusing driving environments.I'm anticipating necessary horsepower for necessary weight.I'm looking forward to putting people first then encompasing them in a safe enclosure that allows stimulating them to want to go somewhere in the vehicle surrounding them.I'm looking forward to new and forgetting old as a pathway to tomorrow.I can't wait to see objectivity rule stagnated design rules.Forward is the direction I want to go,reverse gets us nowhere.
jj. zarchinsky 07/07/2011
SO..'WHERE' are the 'door-holders'-> for flashlight, mini-umbrella, & a
safe,recessed- senior HAT-hanger - on rear of passgr.-seat. . . ???
Loren Dunn 07/07/2011
For: Ford Motor Company Designer Anthony Prozzi
Hi Anthony, I was wondering if you guys could please make a new 2012 or 2013 Ford Ranger that is mixed with these designs of the 2011 Ford Ranger and the 2011 Ford F-150. For example, Have the new Ranger mid-size truck have the same Front design as the 2011 Ford have the new Ranger have the same back lights of that of the 2011 Ford F-150/ You guys may need to make the lights smaller because the new ranger is going to be a midsize truck instead of a full size truck. But, please leave the sides, the hood, and the door handles the same as the 2011 Ford Ranger. Also if you do make this..keep in mind for making a new stepside & for keeping the lite metallic gray color as usual. Also try not to make the new 2012 ranger into a futuristic hunk of junk like is shown on the photos on google...which looks alot like the ford ranger that Australia has today. Anyway if my idea sounds good, Please feel free to contact me, Your Friend Always, LJD...Also if this is possible make sure to make a crew cab to go with it...
By: Loren D.
Johnny Walker 07/06/2011
The Aerostars have nearly all RUSTED away and Ford tried replacing it with the Windstars. Windstars are now living with a bad reputation due to a recall about the rear axles possibly breaking due to cracks over time. These two examples don't give us the confidence of being built Ford tough, now do they? If Ford is looking to make some REAL money and gain more customers, maybe they can just give us exactly what they were back in the 60's, and build them just like that, period. Thick steel, door handles that last clear upto the almighty crusher, tailight bulbs we can change with a Phillips screwdriver in 3 minutes, and an engine with enough power to pass a bigrig or get out of it's way when needed. Save all the newfangled electronics and gadgetry for the future spaceships you'll try to build. We are all still driving on delapidating asphalt and we don't use our vehicles as our address. The more technology you apply to making a fancy or luxurious-looking cockpit or dashboard, the more the drivers eyes will be OFF the road and glued to some gadget inside the vehicle instead. Maybe you should do your own thing instead of trying to follow suite with GM (Government Motors). I know and realize it's impossible to please and satisfy everyone, but at least listen to and heed the majority. Simplicity CAN be grand in the long run, for both the consumer and the company.
Kyle Stegeman 07/06/2011
@ Bob Long, The Ranger is sooo overdue for a remake. They really need to finally bring over the Ranger they sell in Europe (maybe with some interior upgrading). It looks great and would also aid those who are screaming about no longer having the Explorer Sport Track available. It's a no brainer to me...
Bob Long 07/06/2011
How about you replace the Ranger instead of kill it???
edvard2 07/06/2011
If I had any advice for today's car designers it would be to try and go outside the box a bit. While the Mustang and F-150 look decent, a lot of the products Ford makes in my opinion are plain and uninspiring. The Focus, Edge, Fusion, and Fiesta are all in my opinion anonymous looking vehicles. While they're by no means ugly, they're not exactly ground-breaking.

Take a look at some of the designs from the 30's-50's. There were some truly crazy looking designs back in those days. Some of them were tremendous flops. Others broke new ground on new design directions. At one time US carmakers made some of the most desirable luxury cars on the planet. Now that mantle has for the most part gone to German carmakers. That is why I think there's still a lot of room for improvement.

Ford has a tremendous opportunity to not only develop cutting-edge designs for their Ford lineup, but they've got an even bigger one with Lincoln. In my opinion Lincoln not only needs a total re-branding, but a totally dedicated platform. It would be fantastic to see at least one American luxury brand able to compete against the best from Europe. That means not re-using platforms or cars from other brands to build off of. It means making a unique product with a unique emphasis on its differentiation from the other families of brands. It means using it as a benchmark for original, groundbreaking designs.

Anyway, that's more or less my 2 cents.
Zac Russell 07/05/2011
I've got one for ya Ford. Put the Coyote 5.0 in the edge with a Manual 6 speed and RWD...
Dixie Dahl Kooiker 07/05/2011
What I want is an equivalent replacement for my Mercury Mountaineer Premier V8 2010. No, it is not the redesigned Explorer--at least not yet. In the caliber of an Enclave or Lincoln cross over.
James F. Lopez 07/05/2011
the flex was fords answer to the mini van... and the ford grand c max was to come but again for is going to mess up and not bring it to the USA. it is a seven passenger build of the new focus.... it looked great..
Frank Anthony Leonard 07/05/2011
I would love to see a new fuel efficient mini-van with a Ford oval on it that seats seven comfortably. As a Ford retiree, I hate the idea of buying a Honda or Toyota. My neighborhood is full of Honda and Toyota mini-vans. Why did Ford just give that market away instead of becoming competitive?
Steven Templer 07/05/2011
Stop using leaf springs in the utes.
Its uncomfortable and pointless.
Give us a coil rear end
Guy Norman 07/05/2011
Ive been screaming new bronco for ten yrs. And not that weird concept that "thank the lord" didnt make production. Build off the F-150/raptor platform. Has to have removable top! roll bars, eco boost, 2 speed transfer case, bulging fenders, vented hood, recovery gear. bronco is an icon, dont ruin it by making it a crossover or hybrid. Nuff said for now...
mabry Pouncy 07/05/2011
Well being a Ford man and presently own 6 a 2008 Edge for the wife in Black, a 2005 Maroon F150 reg cab XLT a 32 Ford Black Hiboy 3 window a Chopped 36 Ford 3 window , a 34 Ford Pickup and a 40 Ford Coupe. I'm 67 .I don't want a Mustang but I would like a 2 door sedan with looks and Colors other then dead leaves. I would like it to have guts. Ford Colors stink and the car selection is of 4 doors only. I don't want 4 doors. They are not what I want in a car or truck. I also hate Chrome Clad Wheels.
Jeffery Campbell 07/05/2011
Yes, we need a we bronco! Stop with the gadgets and the cheap plastic pieces! Make them simple and tough. Like from the 50's to the 70's! And unfortunately, they are not going to stop making parts we can't work on under the tree out back. That would be a money loss. Why do you think car company's make tool that only dealers can get. For me... Besides the radio, the most complicated gadget I want in my Ford is my delayed wipers!
Bob Long 07/05/2011
No auto designer listens to the customer. You do what you want and we have to accept it or go else where. The only time you guys LISTENED was when you stopped the plan to replace the Mustang with a front wheel drive Mazda.
Dennis Hogenmiller 07/05/2011
I want a midsize 2dr coupe Thunderbird. I don't think Anthony Prozzi read my mind.
Ricardo Batres 07/05/2011
I need awd and a v8 on my zx3
Tyler Slater 07/05/2011
My issues are the cost, and rust prevention, I don't need touchscreen navigation, and how much would be saved it weight/heat retention/cost/ by not having an engine cover, just make the lines,hoses, and wiring harness more uniform/pleasing to the eyes. And I would be happy to pop the hood at a car show, things don't need to be over engineered. I've been working on cars since I was in diapers, 20 years now, so I know what all the new stuff is like, hire me and I'll get things right where the need to be. Been a ford fan my whole life started with my dads 79 bronco on 38's and then a 97 f150 on 33's and now the 06 mustang. Next is a new explorer. So ford, ball is in your court, get back with me when you want a fresh mind with experience in the field.
Jacob A. Chase 07/05/2011
Well, Im NOT digging the 2011 Ford look! Looks to much like a 2010 Camaro... And looks CRAMPED inside!
Jennifer Meyers Prothero 07/05/2011
I'm still waiting for a diesel engine in the Expedition....
Dave Tongue 07/05/2011
Well I'm a customer and I want a new Capri and I want it rear wheel drive. Are you listening????
Johnny Walker 07/05/2011
Need to slow way down on the use of plastic, and keep SNOW and potholes in mind when designing. Otherwise you can do away with the slogan "Built Ford Tough". I realize the younger generations are really into their newfangled technology and gadgets, but we don't live in our vehicles (yet), so alot of the gadgetry is unessesary and only adds to the overall prices of the vehicles. The more components included, the more things will go wrong or breakdown,,,especially if they have plastic involved. I'm a big fan of the 50's and 60's vehicles because you could still pull them up under a shadetree and work on them yourself. Today, that is almost impossible to do. Please, don't make them too complicated, because not all of us can afford to put them in a shop to be worked on. Just saying. Ford products have been my personal choice for years and I've taken alot of slack for it from my GM-loving counterparts and family members, so please stay true to the 'toughness' and 'affordability' you've been giving us thru the years. Thank you Ford.
Stephen Michael Palmer 07/05/2011
I've been a ford fan since I found out how to drive n that is 40yrs why change a good thing?
Malik SlipAvenged Evanescencism 07/05/2011
They're like Apple Genius's, the new Ford Edge and Lincoln Mkx are beautiful! they're the smartest people on the planet !
Zac Russell 07/05/2011
Did he have to take a pay cut two years ago just like those of us in the UAW?
Creed Crutchfield 07/05/2011
Clearly not- The footwell in the new Ford Explorer has to be the single most uncomfortable thing in the world. Foot room? What foot room? Ford says : This is the proper driving position, you get no choices. These are the little thing automotive designers overlook and find unimportant. Long distance drivers, on the other hand- move on to other vehicles. Taurus has nearly the same issue. Stop ignoring tall drivers. Americans are getting taller, not shorter.
Bryan Janak 07/05/2011
I never understood why we don't have a two door expedition named bronco. Ford doesn't listen...and please stop with the unpainted plastic!!! It's cheap and tacky and don't give me the lie it saves your car from paint scratches you are just cheap ford. Oh and lovely cheap plastic which is my sunglass holder that rattles with the bass of my Sony system in my 2012 focus. I'm about done with ford.
Dave Evans 07/05/2011
If the designers are so wildly awesome at interpreting what we want, why are they always redesigning everything every four years?
Robin Marohn 07/05/2011
Ad far as the Explorer is concerned ... this explains a lot.
Jimmy Junior 07/05/2011
And we still want independentant rear suspension on the Mustang!!
Adam Barrera 07/05/2011
Love Anthony. He's the best!
Jimmy Junior 07/05/2011
I have to disagree.. Ford customers have been screaming for a new Bronco for a decade and nothing.. Instead Ford gave us the Flex and said it was inspired from the Bronco prototype. It's a sick joke.