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Ford, Industrial Designers Society of America Discuss How Design Trends Cross Industry Lines

ford c-max
Ford C-Max


Ford Motor Company and Industrial Designers Society of America, San Francisco Chapter host “Designing Innovation” panel discussion about parallels in design trends across industries Visionary industrial product and automotive designers and technologists will talk about how they work to create products that provide meaningful user experiences in an increasingly interconnected world Discussion will be live streamed today at 6.30 p.m. PT on

SAN FRANCISCO--May 07, 2014: Thoughtful details can evoke emotion or a particular state of mind. Increasingly advanced features leverage the latest technology. Today’s products are designed to be more than simply aesthetically pleasing. The goal is to create a unique and meaningful user experience.

“Consumers want something more from an object than just an attractive package”

Ford Motor Company and Industrial Designers Society of America, San Francisco Chapter today host “Designing Innovation,” a live stream discussion about parallels in design trends across industries.

A panel of well-known automotive and industrial designers and technologists will explore the similar challenges they face in trying to create something beautiful and functional that also builds an emotional connection with the customer.

“Designers tell a story through the products they create,” said Freeman Thomas, director of strategic design at Ford. “Why an object looks a certain way, or has a certain charisma and character about it is critical to creating a meaningful product or service.”

The panel will address how technology is being integrated into today’s design, and how personalized experience influences the automotive and industrial design process.

Today, a design concept must be able to interact with other high-tech products and devices to reduce – not add – complexity for the consumer.

As new technologies become available, designers must look at whether and how to incorporate new materials, and consider more energy efficient design options.

Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is a testament to this approach. The plug-in hybrid vehicle supplements electricity it draws while connected to the grid with energy from the sun. This extends its zero-emissions capability without any additional effort by the driver. Parking C-MAX Solar Energi Concept under a special concentrator – which works like a magnifying glass to focus the sun’s rays at an optimal angle to the roof panel – dramatically increases the charging rate, reducing the need for grid power.

Using renewable power to recharge the battery means driving a C-MAX Solar Energi Concept would reduce greenhouse gas emissions an estimated four metric tons annually for the average U.S. car owner – the equivalent of what an American home accounts for in four months.

The journey to a more sustainable future encompasses the entire Ford lineup. The all-new Ford F-150, for example, was designed to be the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 yet. The new truck has a high-strength steel frame, an aluminum alloy body and introduces a 2.7-liter EcoBoost® engine – the most advanced of Ford’s fuel-efficient EcoBoost line.

The 2015 F-150 remains strong, tough and durable – characteristics long associated with Ford trucks – but also reflects today’s technological advances with more efficient powertrain options.

“Consumers want something more from an object than just an attractive package,” said Thomas. “A successful outcome of design is when the consumer is able to develop a positive and lasting relationship with the product.”

The panel discussion will be live streamed today at 6:30 p.m. PT at designinginnovation.

Panel participants include:

Nathan Shedroff, program chair, MBA in Design Strategy, California College of the Arts, moderator Yves Béhar, CEO and founder, fuseproject Jordan Brandt, technology futurist, Autodesk Freeman Thomas, director of strategic design, Ford Motor Company