Meet The Designers Behind Lincoln’s Black Label Collection0
As Lincoln introduces the possibly-headed-for-production Black Label collection that aims to raise the brand’s three core pillars of design, quality, and personal service to a higher level, we thought it pertinent to highlight the specially-selected design team responsible for the effort. Leading the creation of Black Label are four designers from the dedicated Lincoln Design team who are part of the Color and Material Design group. They consist of Susan Lampinen, Janet Seymour, Barb Whalen, and Jenny Kubinec.
Susan is the group chief designer, Color and Material Design. She studied transportation design and is responsible for overall design direction for Lincoln interior environments.
“We all relished the opportunity to create something truly special for Lincoln,” she said.
Susan oversees teams of designers who create bold color and material design strategies and lush, touchable
interiors for vehicles that allow customers to express themselves.
Having grown up around Detroit, eagerly embracing the car culture that infuses the city, Lampinen graduated from the College for Creative Studies with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts in 1990 and began her career working for Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design. She worked for a stint at DaimlerChrysler and joined Ford in 1999 as a senior color and trim designer.
Each work day is different, she says, and each day offers a new challenge, balancing creativity with the business realities of the automotive industry.
She’s a passionate advocate of art, and that’s obvious in her work. Color, Lampinen says, is an incredibly important aspect of people’s lives. It can uplift them, calm them, make them feel better.
Lampinen has little trouble keeping the creative spark burning, at work or at home. Her interests are diverse – reading, painting, travel, self-evolvement, writing, and even animal welfare, a passion since childhood.
Janet is the Color and Material Design manager. She studied Product Design and oversees color plus materials design and strategy for Lincoln and Lincoln Black Label, creating innovative interior and exterior designs that capture the eye and spirit to appeal to a new premium customer for Lincoln.
Born in Seoul, South Korea, and raised in New York City, Seymour developed an appreciation for art,
culture and beauty. Her diverse interests in art, architecture and sculpture combined with the influence
of her parents – her father is an architect and her mother owned a designer fashion boutique – motivated
Seymour to pursue a career in design.
Seymour earned a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Carnegie Mellon University in 1989. Upon
graduation, she was recruited by Ford as a designer in the Advanced Interior Concepts studio.
She has worked on numerous programs as an exterior, interior, components and color and materials designer, including Taurus, Lincoln LS, Escape, Edge, Flex, Explorer, Navigator, MKX and Fiesta. Prior to her current position in Lincoln she served as the color and materials strategy manager, overseeing all advanced commodities development and vehicle application strategy.
Seymour has continued to apply her passion and vision as Lincoln’s Color and Materials design manager. She is responsible for cross Lincoln vehicles and Black Label design strategy and development. Seymour leads a team of designers to research and identify cross-industry trends and lifestyles, develop premium materials
and create beautiful, aspirational Lincoln environments.
As an integral part of the birth of the Black Label concept since its inception two years ago, Seymour has been driven to create and define the details and essence of the Black Label product and experience.
The MKC Concept, shown at this year’s North American International Auto Show, is a preview of the elegant, innovative and impactful designs to expect from Seymour and her team of Lincoln designers in the years to come.
Seymour resides in Grosse Pointe, Mich., with her husband and three children. She enjoys travel, reading, fitness and playing classical piano.
Barb is the Color and Material Design manager. She adds international experience in her role, which includes strategic development of exterior color choices.
Whalen serves as the Strategic Exterior Paint Development Manager for North America and Color and
Materials manager for the MKZ, MKS and Navigator.
Her responsibilities include managing a team that develops new exterior colors, interior environments,
fabrics, leathers, finishes, graining and paints for every component in a vehicle.
Once the canvas – interior and exterior designs – is created, Whalen augments them with plush premium
materials and sophisticated colors.
Whalen grew up in the U.S., Canada, and England, and continued her global experiences with three years at Ford of Europe developing global programs. Her accomplishments, over a 22-year tenure at Ford Motor company include several high-profile successes, including Ford GT, Mustang, Taurus, Fusion/Mondeo, Expedition, Lincoln MKS, Navigator, and the 2013 MKZ.
Lincoln is courting a new group of consumers who enjoy personalized and distinctive designs. Colors and Materials execution is critical to appeal to their individuality and to provide continuity through craftsmanship and artistic design.
The MKZ was designed with this select group of luxury consumers in mind.
Similar to a fingerprint, no two MKZ interiors have the same wood grain appearance. Each veneer is hand-selected from around the world to ensure unique quality. The tighter range of wood gives it more swirls and burls in the grain.
Whalen earned a Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design from Michigan State.
When she isn’t applying beautiful palettes to Lincoln’s vehicles, she enjoys painting a palette of beautiful colors to canvas and spending time with her family and black lab at home in Beverly Hills, Mich.
Jenny is the Color and Material designer. She studied both transportation and graphic design and has a keen interest in sustainable materials and design.
Already established in the graphic design industry, it was during her return to study for Transportation Design at College for Creative Studies where Kubinec discovered her true passion for colors and materials.
With her personal interests in art, fashion, furnishings, responsible design and, of course, love of cars, her greatest venture was to combine the best of these elements to elevate the experience of automotive interiors and exteriors.
Since then, Kubinec’s focus has developed into creating a new deeper, richer sensory for luxury, devising methods and new realms for preserving nature’s beauty, and bringing artistry to craftsmanship that coincides with today’s lifestyles and desires.
In the short three years since Kubinec joined the Lincoln Design Studio, her Color and Material Design assignments have been showcased in the 2012 MKZ Concept, the 2013 MKZ, the 2013 MKC Concept and the preview of Lincoln Black Label. She co-created the color and material framework and defined the essence of the Black Label experience, a collection that encompasses art, design and soul.
With more than 15 years of experience in graphic, product and automotive development, Kubinec has become a multifaceted designer, bringing many skill sets and knowledge to the Lincoln Design team.
Inherently, Kubinec designs beyond surface beauty to create a meaningful luxury experience, which can be found in the expressive compositions of hues and textures, status-brand patterns, unique trim styles and tailoring, handcrafted finishes and creating personalization and harmony that can be felt and appreciated.
The Motrolix Take
“Something truly special” sounds about right. Even though we continue to maintain that Lincoln needs to head in a different direction than it is headed today — a move that starts with adopting its own vehicle architectures separate from those used by Ford — Black Label seems like an interesting and creative idea that does not exist in the marketplace today. The question is, will it come to market?