College for Creative Studies: Product Design


Terence Duncan

Ford/CCS and University of Michigan

Design Manager/Instructor

Three major lessons have stuck with Terence Duncan since he was a student at CCS. 

“First, there is a direct relationship between passion and success. Second, no one cares how hard you worked if the outcome disappoints. And finally, there’s always going to be someone more talented than you. So, you better find a way to distinguish yourself.”

A thriving professional in a competitive field, Duncan has found ways to distinguish himself - years of diverse professional experience working in product and transportation industries and expertise attained through teaching at two of the world’s most prestigious educational institutions, CCS and the University of Michigan. 

As a design manager at Ford, Duncan leads a team of designers, modelers and EMMs to create the interiors of B segment (sub-compact) cars, from conceptualization and development through final modeling and surfacing. He oversaw the interior design activities on the up-and-coming Fusion/Milan and component development on the Edge, MKX and 2008 Focus.

The designer honed his skills designing small vehicle interiors by leading a multi-national team of designers, math modelers and clay modelers at Ford's Brazilian Design Studio. One of his responsibilities included negotiating component feasibility with suppliers in Mexico, Taiwan, Brazil and the U.S.

“Among the group of friends I had growing up, I am one of only two people who is actually doing what I wanted to do when I was a kid—my second choice was President of the United States,” he laughed. “What could be better than getting paid to be creative? To get paid for what you think?”

Looking back on his college days, Duncan remembers the challenges he faced in the rigorous industrial design program at CCS while managing to hold down a full-time job. The experience coupled with the expertise he has gained working in the industry inspired him to return to the College as an instructor. For the past 12 years, he has taught the junior product studio as well as human factors, science and technology, design theory and visual communication courses as needed.  

“I think it is my experience as a teacher that has given me the kick to stay current,” admitted Duncan. “It is too easy to rest on your tried and true ways of doing things. The students, however, expect me to be on top of the profession.”

Recently, Duncan accepted a position at the Ross School of Business on the University of Michigan campus. He teaches a graduate-level marketing course on using design to build a brand.  

“Tying all aspects of the product experience together to communicate a consistent brand message will be exceedingly important as the economy goes more global and products go more digital,” said Duncan. “I see this as the next big movement in design.

“Both as an educator and a professional, I want to leverage my skills to bring creativity to all areas of product development, from marketing to engineering to packaging to the human machine interface. I want to reach beyond industrial design to be more involved with all of product development. Coincidentally, I see that as the beginning of the next phase of my career.”