GARY BRADDOCK: ENSURING EXCEPTIONAL INTERIORS ARE HALLMARKS OF EVERY FORD VEHICLE
Gary Braddock, interior chief designer
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- Gary Braddock, Ford interior chief designer, leads the design studio team in creating interiors that capture the emotions of Ford customers and helps ensure the designs become a reality in vehicles people want to buy
- Braddock has been essential in the look and feel of Ford’s new MyFord Touch driver connect technology and its practical integration
- Although Braddock recognizes cars as central to his life, he’d really rather his garage be a pub with a pool table than a place to store cars
In the process of taking a vehicle from sketch to showroom, designers, engineers and marketing experts each pull for their respective priorities. It’s Braddock’s job both to listen to this feedback and lead the creation of designs that meet the needs of customers.
“My job as a chief designer is to ensure the creative priority is part of everybody’s objective,” said Braddock. “From designers to studio engineers, program managers and marketing team members, I ensure that creative design is executed in a final product.”
In his role as interior chief designer, one of Braddock’s most recent design challenges has been the revolutionary MyFord Touch driver connect technology. Creating an interactive and exciting environment suited for cars people will use everyday, all within the realm of reconfigurable display technology, presented a unique opportunity.
“We had to think of MyFord as an experience, not just a technology,” said Braddock. “The challenge wasn’t just ‘How do you manage the information?’ We also wanted to help owners fall in love with their cars in the process, and we believe MyFord is really going to accomplish those goals and more.”
Braddock has been a fan of the automobile since his early days, and he claims his mother still has a finger painting of a car he produced while in kindergarten. Fast forward to college, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from the Cleveland Institute of Art, after which Braddock worked as an intern with a competitor. He turned down an offer with them to join Ford.
“My first job was an internship at a design consultancy called Nottingham Spirk Design,” said Braddock. “I followed up the next year at General Motors and received offers for full employment from both. But after one meeting at Ford, I could sense the value the company placed in my abilities. The choice was easy, and I started with Ford in August of 1990.”
The car as a symbol
Braddock still appreciates the automobile, not just for its design aspects but also for the freedom it inspires. That sense of the potential available on four wheels is recognizable in the vehicles he considers key to his worldview.
“Take the 1969 Mustang Mach I. The car represents the rebellious spirit of the ’60s and because some form of rebellion is attractive at any time in history, it’s easy to like.”
Not surprisingly, road trips are a part of Braddock’s family life, particularly to the beaches a few hours away on the western side of Michigan. Given the choices in the garage – a 1961 Vespa scooter, a 2010 Mustang GT and a 2005 Escape – the Mustang usually gets the nod for the journey to Lake Michigan.
Despite the challenges that accompany working with a large, multitalented team on something as complex as a modern vehicle, Braddock maintains a clear overriding goal that defines his journey at Ford. “I’m very passionate about making the ideal real. It’s really the reason I became a designer.”
Personal Insights and Fun Facts
- Gary Braddock has been married to wife Jehan for 11 years. They have two children, Evan, 7 and Morgan, 5
- Although a car guy, Braddock claims he’d rather have a pub with a pool table in his garage than any particular vehicle
- Braddock’s first car was a 1970 Chevrolet pickup truck that was constantly being modified until he entered art school
- Braddock has always liked modified vehicles, in particular, the Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycles used by Evel Knievel
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About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 200,000 employees and about 90 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford, Lincoln, Mercury and Volvo. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford’s products, please visit www.ford.com.
Jan. 7, 2010