Toyota’s Design Chief, Tokuo Fukuichi, on Design

Toyota’s chief designer, Tokuo Fukuichi, has been steadfast in his ambition to create a strong sense of design at the company since he joined in 2011. Responsible for the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands’ design activities, Fukuichi was also appointed president for Lexus International earlier this month, the first time a designer has sat on the Japanese automaker’s board.

The videos below provide some insight into Fukuichi’s thinking behind elevating the design presence of these brands. He highlights how Toyota has shifted from its ‘designed by committee’ approach to connect with buyers on a more emotional level, reflecting people’s desire for individual products.

As such, he’s instilled in his team to create cars that have ‘star appeal’, like Hollywood actors. “They have that something special that makes you want to see them in a movie,” Fukuichi says. Moving forward, Fukuichi wants cars to have more character, like the FT-1 concept that debuted at the Detroit auto show earlier this year.

But designing cars isn’t just about creating a car with character to resonate with buyers on an emotional level, it has to be functional as well as aesthetically appealing. Depending on the vehicle, practicality, ergonomics and driving dynamics should be prioritized to provide a strong connection with users.

Blending beauty with functionality is the ultimate challenge for designers, but combining the two makes for a truly successful design.

A Smile Says It All

“Designers aim to see smiles that were created by their designs.”


On Being a Designer

“When it feels like our minds and the customers’ minds are in sync, we know we’ve created a great design”


Beauty, Art and Design

“There’s always a reason behind every silhouette and shape.”

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