What makes a particular design great?

By Tori T.

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.”

What Ford cars have a design that really appeals to you, and why? Tell us in the comments section below! You can read more about how a Ford goes from idea to production here .
David B 10/13/2013
I used to be the proud owner of a 1990 white Mercedes 420 Sel. This was a grand touring car. You could tell the quality when you closed the doors. I am now the proud owner of a 2013 white Ford Fusion Energi Plug-In. Now when I close the doors on my Fusion Energi I again hear the sound of quality and when sitting in the passenger seat and open the glove box door it opens very slowly so as not to slam on a person’s lap. Now that is attention to the smallest details. Thank you Ford Engineers for designing a beautiful efficient vehicle that is a pleasure to drive.
Have a Phenomenal Day,
David Bernardin
Austin C 10/06/2013
The Ford Mustang is my absolute favorite Ford car. It's design over the years of excellence has been exquisite, ground breaking, and legendary. As yet once said by Steve Jobs, and as I believe also, "Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. A car cannot be an amazing automobile if it does not hold practicality.