Color & Materials Design

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Eunice (Yujin) Kim

Ford Motor Company

Color and Materials Designer

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in interior design from Pratt, Yujin (Eunice) Kim interned at several architecture firms in New York and Korea. Her experiences helped her realize the significance of colors and materials in design.

Eunice Kim
“I soon discovered that it was color and materials that create the connection between people and a design,” said Kim, who now works as a color and materials designer at Ford. “While I was focused on the shape and form of a space, my clients were more interested in seeing and touching the materials that would go into it. I felt like I needed more knowledge of this aspect of the field, so you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered CCS’s Color and Materials graduate program.”

In her role as a color and materials designer, Kim looks at current trends across various industries, such as architecture, fashion, product, cultures and experiences, then consider how they might impact automotive interiors and exteriors. Next, her team establishes the overarching color and material direction for particular models.

“Color and materials is an essential part of the design because it’s what gives life to the product—creating skin for the finished design,” said Kim. “The look and feel of a product or space is directly related to a person’s experience.  It might help them to feel comfortable and relaxed, or energized.

“When I first came to Ford, the most difficult thing to understand was ‘the car.’ The words and terms used here can feel like a different language! CCS helped me to get familiar with the automotive industry, so I was able to overcome these challenges easier than others.

“What I enjoy most about my job now is how the creativity broadens my perception of ideas. Many of the projects go through a wide range of research and analyzing that I learned in the MFA program at CCS. This involves understanding target customers, researching, storytelling, creating the color and materials board, refining my ideas and presenting to the larger company. All of these skills have helped me during my career.”

One of Kim’s current advanced research projects ties together several of her favorite research areas: new technology, materials and cultures.

“Each culture has different perspective of aesthetics, and I wanted to bring those into the project,” she explained. “The research I do on existing technologies and concepts will be what eventually transforms my ideas into reality. That excites me.”

During her time as a graduate student, Kim interned as a color designer for Nike. She got to work on the direction of the iconic Air Max 90, which involved researching target customers and creating new color palettes.

“I met with designers, marketing teams, material designers and suppliers to understand the shoes and how I could go further,” she explained. “What I loved about the internship at Nike was everyone was very helpful and open minded.”

When Kim first started her graduate studies, the color and materials program only had seven students who quickly became like family.

“We shared thoughts and ideas and gave critiques to each other,” she said. “This experience continues to help me in my career today because collaboration is essential in this field.

“I remember some important advice I heard while working on a project at CCS. One of my professors reminded us that you should create not for yourself but for others. That’s why it’s so important to listen to customers who will eventually use these products. After you understand and know who they are, then the color and design will become more meaningful. That’s what I strive for. I want to be a designer that cares about people. I want to give them the best experience that they can have through what I design.”