What is the thought process in designing products for mass consumption?
How do great designers continually come up with great designs?
Guy Burgoyne, Head of Geely Design in Shanghai, tells us how he sees the role of the designer in the conception and creation of products that touch the consumer and how he judges a successful design from the rest.
Q：What do you see as the role of design in the creation of a product?
G：Design is just one of many very important aspects that has to come together to make a product for people to buy and I like to think it’s the one that tries to touch the heart of the customer and make them feel an emotion towards the vehicle, whatever is appropriate depending on what the vehicle is (our great friends in engineering are perhaps more in line with the brain).
A great design really talks to someone. It resonates with the person looking at it, even if you don’t own it and you just walk past it. If it gives the right message of the brand to the consumer or even the viewer, makes them feel the right emotion – I think that’s a successful design.
There are so many vehicles on the road today that don’t give you much emotion, they just ‘exist’; they clog up the visual community. What we always hope with any design is that it’s seen as an addition – it beautifies the world rather than bringing the average down. We want it to make the world a more beautiful place.
A great design really talks to someone. It resonates with the person looking at it, even if you don’t own it and you just walk past it.
Q：What emotions do you hope to evoke with your designs?
G：That depends on the type of design. With an MPV for example, the person buying it usually holds an importance on family, so when they see that car they need to feel “this is going to protect my family”, it’s going to take all of their things very easily, going to be very convenient. So, you want them to have that feeling of trust. Maybe for someone who wants something more sporty and dynamic, it’s more about them (the driver) than the other people that are in it. You want them to feel this is a reflection of their personality, that it adds to their personality, just like someone wearing a cool pair of glasses – it’s a reflection of themselves.
For Geely Auto we always try to “bring refined cars to everyone”. We have quite a varied range of cars but we still try to give this convincing authenticity every time. We try to make them feel inspired and show the technology that we put behind it which is relatively seamless and aids their life. These things are consistent, but people are different – both the best thing about the world and one of the challenges – you need to hit every single person in a good way with that emotional feel.
Q：What inspires your designs?
G：The thing that always inspires me is seeing new parts of the world. For any design I think you’re not just making products for one country, they are for many countries. To have some understanding of how different perspectives work I think every designer needs to be a good empath; they need to try and see things through other peoples’ eyes. The more different sets of eyes you can see things through, the better chance you have of getting something that works for a big audience.
Q：What do you think would happen if designers from different industries came together?
G：I think one of the biggest skills of any designer is to be able to listen to inputs; designers generally have to take in many inputs and output something that is the ultimate balance of those inputs. Another designer’s point of view should always be welcomed.
I think if any other type of designer, for example a shoe designer, comes along and tries to design a car I think that’ll be a really interesting moment. It is very likely we will get something new and that we’ve never seen before. It will be fascinating.
See what happened when Guy met the team at FeiYue, one of Chinese oldest footwear brands, at the Geely Design Centre in Shanghai.
Also available on YouTube here.