We’re a design strategy consultancy that works closely with the creative groups of many automotive OEMs and other organisations.
Our core team is based in the UK, but our associates network – and the projects we deliver – are literally all over the world.
We know first hand the pressures and constraints that go with designing a car. But while several of us have OEM-side automotive design backgrounds, we also have high-level experience in consumer research, HMI design and architecture. We’re richer for this breadth of backgrounds. Ultimately we think it makes us a stronger partner for you.
Sam’s first word was ‘car’ and he was passionate about design through his childhood. These interests took him through product design and design management degrees where the strategic use of design, and particularly car design, became his focus. Professional experiences in marketing and management consultancy followed, before becoming a Design Strategist on the OEM side for Daewoo Motor Company in its pre-GM days.
Having establishing Car Design Research in 2000, Sam has led automotive design strategy projects for many Asian, European and US automotive brands, working closely with many of the world’s design directors.
For the past ten years he has also been a tutor at London’s Royal College of Art on the Vehicle Design and sits on the judging panel of several important design awards: ‘World Car of the Year’; ‘Louis Vuitton Concept Classic’, ‘iF Design’ and ‘Scuderia Zagreb’. He is also an award winning critical writer on car design.
Joe has been working with Car Design Research since 2008, around the time he finished a project for Ford of North America on their green communications and marketing strategy.
He has six years experience working as consultant, and leads CDR’s trend analysis and consumer research capabilities.
He has a research degree in Vehicle Design from the Royal College of Art where he focused on exploring the future of the car in the city, which led him to become an expert in green technology and integrated transport policy. It ties back to his experience before moving to the car world; he trained as an Architect and worked on projects such as the London 2012 Olympic Park masterplan in its early phases.
For the past two years, he has headed the research strand of the Vehicle Design department at London's Royal College of Art. He also writes about car design and technology – being regularly published in magazines such as Wired, Stuff and leading online technology site Pocket-Lint.
Drew personifies the rich, diverse experience background of the CDR team. His teenage dream of working for an Italian coachbuilder led him to spend a year at a high school of fine art in Italy at age 16—and a very early interview with Pininfarina.
He then trained as a car designer at Art Center (Europe) in Switzerland and Creapôle-ESDI in Paris. Upon graduation Drew headed back to Italy—first spending time at I.De.A Insitute, and then at Centro Stile Lancia. Although born and raised in America, it was his time in Europe that helped him become multi-lingual, which comes in handy when CDR is conducting consumer research in France or Italy.
Having returned to the US for more than a decade—where Drew among other things became renowned for his automotive artwork, infographics, and technical illustrations—he is now back in Europe and working as a member of the CDR team.
An excellent designer and researcher in his own right, Drew spearheads CDR's work in HMI, user-interface design, and new technology implementation.
Our consultants add expertise on a project-by-project basis. This helps give us depth as well as breadth, makes projects richer and draws on deep expertise. Our consultants have expertise in wide ranging fields – from fine art to research ethnography to communications and PR.
Sarah is a fine artist, continuing to paint in her own studio and lecturing in the subject as well as working with CDR. She brings to the team a different perspective – as our resident ‘non-car’ person, she acts as an internal voice of the customer on many programmes.
Her expertise lies in running co-creation workshops with clients – programming and facilitating mixed discipline creative team sessions that deliver powerfully in short periods of time. She also curates experiential programmes where our clients gain insight, inspiration and information from leading practice across a spectrum of fields.
North American Lead
With a focus on car design from the outset, John's career as an automotive journalist and industry consultant started in earnest when he joined the prestigious UK magazine, CAR, as deputy editor. Later John moved to Detroit to work at AutoWeek and Wards before becoming an independent automotive writer, contributing to publications in every major market around the world.
As an experienced car industry observer, John has studied automotive design through years of interviewing the world's top designers and reporting on numerous new vehicle introductions. John has written many design-focused articles in his career, with a particular interest in interior as well as exterior design. His design expertise has been recognized through consultancy work with several major automakers, including General Motors and Hyundai.
John is a long-standing member of the Automotive Press Association and is a juror on the World Car of the Year panel, for which he has presented the World Car Design of the Year award.
John's own love of cars was fostered by his father, who owned a number of 1960s Jaguars, and has led to a series of interesting cars in his garage; some of John's favorites being a Fiat 124 Spyder, Jaguar E-Type and currently an Audi S7.
Simeon has a background in documentary making and TV production. He is primarily a researcher, specialising in semiotics and ethnography at London-based research consultancy, Year Zero, which he co-founded and directs. He has worked with numerous consumer brands including Cadbury, Unilver and Nike conducting brand audits and conducting deep dive research focusing on better understanding of the consumer and painting a picture of their lives.
Simeon is CDR’s resident motorcyclist and has a passion for 60s British sports cars. He is frequently found behind the camera, having been instrumental in one of CDR’s key research approaches – bringing the consumer into the design studio via the medium of video.
Brand & Comms Consultant
Mark has over 20 years experience in-house and in consultancy running the Longshore Consultancy and as an associate of international agencies. He brings insight and expert understanding of market and product trends to CDR – from changing consumer dynamics, through the latest technologies, to the electric/low carbon agenda – and how these impact on brands.
Having worked to board level in both OEMs and the supplier sector, he has also provided services to product planning, design and R&D departments in addition to extensive product and corporate PR experience and wider brand and marketing communications activities. He has been centrally involved in the launch of two major new car brands ranging from premium/luxury (Lexus) to value (Daewoo, achieving record market share for a new entrant).
Car Design Research is a registered, “Ltd” company in the UK, but we’ve worked globally for all of our business life. In fact we’ve run projects in most European countries, the US, South Korea, China, Brazil and Japan.
Our core team runs every project. But we think local information and expertise makes things stronger. Over the past thirteen years hundreds of smart, uniquely qualified (and fun to be with!) people have helped us with our projects and we’ve consciously grown this extended family.
They provide a uniquely robust platform of knowledge and perspectives to many CDR projects. They also help us keep our finger on the pulse with what’s happening and run projects locally, be it in Delhi, Shanghai, Sau Paulo or Moscow.
Below is a selection of just some of our Associates. We expect you’ll recognise some of them, but there are many more that we call upon regularly.
Designer Mclaren F1,
Previously MG Rover, Lotus
Founder and Director, PanchaL
Previously Nissan Design America, designer Nissan 350Z
President and Art Director, SW Design co. ltd
Previously Audi, Nissan Senior designer.
Director, Monk Design,
Previously Jaguar, Lincoln, Wally
Founder, OnGoing Transportation, Director of Advanced Mobility Research, Art Center College of Design.
Director, Transport Design,
Guangzhuo Academy of Fine Arts
Founder + Director, LeapSTONE
Previously Design Director, British Airways
Executive Director, School of Industrial Design, Academy of Art University, Previously Mazda Design Director (MX5, RX7).
Dean, School of Design, Royal College of Art
Head of Vehicle Design Programme
Previously Land Rover Design Director
Previously Porsche, Samsung, Mercedes Benz, Aptera
Writer, Curator + Broadcaster in Sound Art
ex-Senior Design Manager, GM
Speaker + Writer on Auto Design; Adjunct Teacher at CCS
China Auto Industry PR Consultant
Founder, China Car Times
We’d love to come and meet you – in your studio, at an auto show or wherever you happen to be in the world. Drop us a line, give us a call, or let’s meet up and we can explain more about what we do and how we could be useful to you
Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call us: +44 (0)1223 709299