College for Creative Studies: Transportation Design
Ford challenged Tyler Blake's team to design an environmentally-friendly sports car. When the manufacturer debuted their Reflex concept at Detroit's 2006 North American International Auto Show, they proved to the world that a car could be fuel-efficient and still turn heads.
"The concept is a result of exploring new surface theory and creating fresh aspirational form, integrating fuel efficient technology with beautiful proportions," said Blake, who specializes in exteriors.
As a design manager, Blake is involved with hands-on design but also manages other designers and works with engineers. He advanced to this position by experiencing many diverse design programs involving both production and concept vehicles. He also makes sure to keep up on the latest technologies.
With each new program (or project), Blake learns something new, whether it is approach, process or ways of integrating fresh technology. He was lead designer on the 2003 Expedition, lead designer and manager on the 2004 F-150, worked on the Tonka truck concept and was design manager on the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX vehicles.
"My favorite aspect of this job is the creativity it allows," said Blake. "I particularly enjoy working with proportion and surface design."
Blake developed an understanding of surfaces through clay modeling and computer aided design (CAD) courses he took at CCS. Although competition between students was fierce, he found the peer-to-peer education to be good preparation and took advantage of the college's internship program.
"The internship program was a huge introduction to real world design life. During that experience, I met many designers that I still work with today. It was also good to be surrounded with other art forms because the common principles show up in car design."