Designer Interview: Ken Parkinson, GM China


Ken Parkinson, vice president of General Motors China design and GM international design, tells Car Design News about how he got into design, his current role with GM cars, what he wants to see in a young automotive designer

It took me a while to figure out that there was such a thing as a car designer. I grew up in Utah, which is a long way from Detroit or the car culture of California, though I was fortunate to attend school at Brigham Young University, which had an automotive design programme at the time. Alongside my career at General Motors, my personal design philosophy has developed. It is strongly rooted in beauty and emotion. As I look around at everything that man makes, beauty is so powerful and so compelling, whether it is architecture or a mobile phone or an automobile. But what is also essential is execution: the outcome or product must be designed and put together so very well. You have to have a strong fundamental understanding of what you are trying to accomplish, and then to execute it extremely well. Details and exacting craftsmanship are essential to bring a vision to life.

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