Back To Top

Distinctive design key to success in auto industry: Henrik Fisker  
[Herald Design Forum 2016]
Distinctive design key to success in auto industry: Henrik Fisker

Speaking about his philosophy on innovative design for automobiles at the Herald Design Forum 2016 on Tuesday, Henrik Fisker, the legendary Danish-born automotive designer known for his sophisticated electric vehicle designs, said, “Emotional connection is what attracts more consumers looking for something new and innovative.” Companies that always choose the safe way “are bound to disappear in the next 10 years,” he said.
From his vantage point, the automotive industry, especially the electric vehicle industry, has more room to grow. 


Henrik Fisker speaks at the Herald Design Forum 2016 held at the Grand Hyatt Seoul on Tuesday. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)


“When it comes to the traditional buying pattern in the car industry, consumers used to pick a brand and then they decide what to drive. But for electric cars, they expect to see new players in the market with cooler design associated with optimized technology,” Fisker said.


 Launched in California in 2007 by Fisker, Fisker Automotive introduced one of the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, the Fisker Karma, the following year. Now, the company is testing graphene in an effort to bring about revolutionary innovation to batteries.


“People have started talking about all new vehicles and designs and what does that really mean? With new technologies and innovations, cars are no longer run by gasoline but simply by flat batteries beneath them. That means a lot more space available and more excitement for innovation. Here, design is not just about how they look, but has become a game-changer in the car industry.”


Fisker also predicted more interesting changes in the car interior as well, as autonomous technology becomes a key to future vehicles.


“Autonomous cars are, of course, one of the hot topics when we talk about the future of the industry. Nobody is certain when that time will finally arrive and when to accept cars that are driven without drivers. But there is no doubt, with the right environment and right innovation in science, we can expect all sorts of interesting possibilities and changes in the interior of future cars. Innovation in design will not go separate in the process here. Good design integrated with technology is an answer”


Herald Design Forum 2016 (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)


How does good design bring about emotional connection?


Addressing the question, Fisker emphasizes the importance of putting a “human story behind the creation of new product.”


“Too many giant companies in the world put technology above design. They think of design as something to add on or used to boast their technology. But the design should always stick together with technology by telling the consumers what is behind the product and how it was created in the first place,” he said. “It’s always interesting to listen to human stories. And that’s the role of powerful design.”


By Bak Se-hwan (