Introducing Ken Lee: design driven by passion
Ken Lee, Nissan’s senior design director for light commercial vehicles (LCVs), has been fascinated with cars and car design since childhood. Ken took the helm of Nissan’s LCV design team six months ago, but has been making innovative designs for Nissan for nearly 17 years, working on many key models.
From kei-cars to Patrol
As a little kid, I was naturally attracted to cars, so I grew up drawing cars, building Lego cars, and dreamed of designing my own cars. Living in Asia, I had learned a lot about Nissan and Japanese cars.
The different cities all had an influence over me in terms of car design. The cars are different from those I saw in Hong Kong – trucks and bigger cars, which ignited my passion even more.
Three DNAs in LCV design
Our LCV portfolio is also very diverse, but there is a common approach we take in Nissan design between passenger vehicles and LCVs. We always keep in mind the spirit of the Nissan brand: to challenge and innovate.
Last but not least, there’s our LCV DNA. To design LCV products, we keep in mind these elements – Nissan, Japan, and LCV DNA, and mix them like ingredients in a dish. The recipe has to honor the Nissan brand and heritage. We mix and match these ingredients to be appropriate for the brand segment for each vehicle in the LCV lineup.
Passion and inspiration
I’ve been with this team for six months now, so I’m still learning something new every day. Most inspiring from the team is the sense of passion, and that team members are very proactive in searching for new designs and ways of designing.
I’m very inspired by these team members, because they constantly try to learn new skills and proactively use their own time to learn new programs, software and technologies, benefiting our design team. Among our digital modelers responsible for building models in data, one member is taking the initiative to learn animation in his own spare time and has created a short movie of a future truck blasting through the sand dunes.
Designing cars is not work – it's a hobby
For global-oriented products, our global studios – in the U.S., Europe, China, Latin America, Thailand and Japan – often have friendly competitions. When we start a program for a new product, the studios compete for the winning design proposal. It’s not a hostile competition; it’s a friendly one, so the studios make unique proposals.
Mar 05, 2020 at 19:12