From a Sketchbook to the Street
She’s a 28-year-old businesswoman who’s made a name for herself as a designer – at one of the world’s top automobile companies. We had a chance to speak with Christine Park, senior designer at Cadillac, about her role in shaping the company’s image, how she approaches car design, and where she plans to go from here.
“It’s about creativity,” she says. “I want to touch people’s lives through the visual aesthetic of cars”. Christine Park grew up with a passion for drawing, and talent to match. After graduating from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, she started with GM, receiving her first big assignment when the interior design proposal she had drawn for the Cadillac XTS was selected for the car.
Talking about design priorities
Talking about what goes into creating a working interior design for a vehicle, Park is very clear about how she approaches her work. “I concentrate on what the customer’s experience is like right from the first moment. It’s important to make sure that technology is integrated harmoniously, and is not just there for the sake of being there.”
Keeping it fresh
Vehicle design is all about working within a set of definitions to create a synergetic machine that will resonate with owners, and “provoke an emotional response,” as Park says. Creating an eye-catching design that stands out comes with definite creative challenges. “Sometimes you just find yourself drawing the same thing over and over,” she says. “It’s like writer’s block. So I start looking for new sources of inspiration. I always carry a sketchbook with me.”
Where does she start when working on a completely new project? “Dimensions. We get a complete package of dimensions,” Park says. “The next generation of a particular model – with all the engineering requirements, and we go from there.”
Having watched her ideas go from first sketches to polished drawings and finally to a living and breathing machine in the form of the Cadillac XTS, Park is excited about her success and looking forward to getting even more involved in the design process. “I’ve started designing car exteriors,” she says. “Car designers are masters of form – even where you put the accent in a line can change the whole look of a car, and ultimately, you get to shape where the brand’s aesthetic is going to go.”