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March 8, 2020

Meet the Woman Who's Responsible for Your Nissan's Colors and Trims (w/ Video)

‘Car designer’ is one of the world’s most googled jobs. But ever wondered how they actually design cars of the future? In celebration of International Women’s Day, Wasaporn Sritulyachot, Color and Trim Designer at Nissan Regional Design Center in Bangkok, Thailand talks about her inspirations and aspirations, dreams and dilemmas.

“A designer’s view isn’t the same as others. We don’t just see, we are constantly searching, searching for something more—it could be a reflection on a building or someone’s earrings—inspiration is everywhere, you have to be observant,” smiles Wasaporn or ‘Poy’.

On first impressions, when you see this Bangkok-native, with her fashionable bob hairstyle, love of bright clothes and thoughtful way of speaking—you know for sure that she’s an artist or fashion designer.

What is a ‘Color and Trim’ car designer?

I work on the design elements of the interior and exterior of range of Nissan cars for the Asia and Oceania region. I take care of color trends and car color planning.

You say that cars are a part of your destiny. What’s the story behind that?

The day I was born, instead of a regular gift on the birth of a baby, my grandparents gave my parents a classic car to celebrate! I know this isn’t unusual, but it means I have literally grown up with a classic car. My birth will always be linked to a car. It’s like my destiny. My parents still have the car.

The other funny thing is, when I was a child my parents decided to re-paint this car from beige to a bright copper color. It was my first experience of seeing a car change completely with just color, and it always stayed with me.

Is red, just red?

No, I don’t think you can say a color is just a color. For example, a red could have a highlight of orange, yellow or purple which affects people’s feelings when they see it. One red might be sporty, one is modern, darker red gives a luxury feeling. It’s all psychology.

As a color designer, we have to know that color also reacts differently inside a showroom versus daylight and a sunny or overcast day. The shape of a car also looks different depending on where the light is, so car color is much more than just picking a simple palette. And it isn’t about the colors I like – it needs to express the car’s concept and the owners’ desire.

What’s the part of your job that is most interesting?

To design a car, we need to constantly look at now and future. The designs we do now are usually in the market in three to five years and need to be trendy through the life cycle of a car. So in a way you need to see the future now. And it’s much more detailed than people expect.

The magic is in the details. For example, the seat—it needs to be comfortable, look good, but be durable and be an impressive design that can be implemented easily. The most important thing is when a customer gets in the car, they must feel like it’s their space.

Tell us the craziest thing or place you get inspiration from?

I believe that the weirdest places can give you the coolest inspirations. One of my favorites is an old second-hand toy store here in Bangkok, it has all kinds of old toys, colors and ideas. It stimulates me every time.

Recently I was in an almost empty carpark. The sunset light made a random car become a crazy blue/orange and pink blend. People must have thought I was crazy taking pictures in an abandoned carpark. But it’s these small things that make you see differently, my every day inspirations.

Do you think there will ever be cars with no color?
There are so many possibilities. I think there would be cars that could change body color automatically, with LED or textures or refection technology or digital color. There will be a lot of innovation in this area.

What is your ultimate car, and why?

My best ‘car-love’ moment happened when I was 19. My boyfriend liked car racing and I went with him to one of the races. A Skyline C110 drove past me—I remember it vividly. I thought it was an older car but it looked so cool. The shape, the lines, It was truly a classic. Today, it’s the exact car I keep in my mind when I’m at work.

What kind of hobbies does a car designer have?

I love travelling, but not the regular kind. Almost every weekend I get in my car and I google a destination and go—no plan. Just to be there and really just see. I have had the experience of not being able to find a hotel, and having to sleep in the car. But I feel alive.

Also photography is my beloved hobby. One of my early memories is my dad, who is a photographer, teaching me how to take pictures with a polaroid camera. And it’s special because today it’s my way to capture inspiration.

How do you really feel about your job?

I honestly feel I’m the luckiest person in the world because I really love what I do.

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