Design & Technology / Product

For a distinctive design… October 29th, 2008

By Seon Ho Youn, Executive Vice President, Kia Design Center
By Seon Ho Youn
Executive Vice President
Kia Design Center
Work begins on creating the first design concept. Sketches reveal a somewhat familiar design.
Something new… new…
“No, it’s not new at all,” I keep repeating over and over in my head. I want to capture the sexiness and confidence of the model wearing a mini-skirt in the advertisement.
The sun went down as I pondered over how to achieve a new look, then, suddenly, I felt hungry.
At a restaurant, I ordered the usual.
But today, the taste was different from that of yesterday.
“Yes, the taste is definitely different.”

Can we create a different taste?
There are also different ‘tastes’ in design.
Taste is a form of synesthesia, where all the sensory elements of smell, color and touch come together.
So the question really is, how can one create a different taste? You need a different cooking method and different ingredients.
For those of us working in design in the same era, our individual tastes are valuable tools to inject singularity into a design.

Let’s change our design recipe.
Bold changes in an existing recipe can produce a completely different result.
Let’s cook up a completely different design by changing the order and thought process of design.
Let’s create a fresh flavor that will appeal to the young and young-at-heart.

Can we express sound through color?
I always listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons while driving to the studio.
It’s always the same music as before. Today, however, it sounds different.
“But it’s the same music…”
At that moment, the colors of fall filled my sight. Rich reds and warm yellows.
Color seasons music and the music brings fall into the soul.
“How can I express this sound in design?”

Learning comes from constant ‘?’
Newly discovered lines and planes fill a white canvas with new colors.
Something inside me sets off a chain reaction of emotions.
Rhythms are transformed into light, and light is brought to life with color.
A break from everyday life reveals a new discovery.


Revealing the color of my soul
By awakening the young spirit that lies deep within and reflecting it in patterns and light,
a new, distinctive car is born.
Soul, with its inimitable and unique colors, challenges me to look deep within myself with a mixture of fear and excitement.
I hang around studios in search of inspiration.
This search takes me just a step away sometimes, and at other times, halfway around the world.
It’s all part of the quest to find a new recipe for color and taste that is unique to Kia and apply them to our next project.

  • What a great car! It has a unique styling, lots of features to customize the exterior and inside, it looks elegant. I think it will be a great competitor to the Scion and Nissan Cube.

  • Greg

    Too bad the USA isn’t getting the glowing speakers, leather seats, seat heaters, or navigation system. I thought the Soul was supposed to be fun and exciting! Oh yeah that’s right, there is nothing more fun and exciting than being lost in -10 degree weather sitting on cold cloth seats with no speaker entertainment. Talk about exciting! I had high hopes for this vehicle, but now that I see the options list, I am driven away, and I hope Kia has a hard time unloading them. I’ll just keep driving my Optima with HEATED LEATHER SEATS.

  • Gems

    Hi Mr. Seon Ho Youn,
    Is there any way to send my son’s car design? At the age of six he is so facinated in designing cars. Don’t you have any site where we could send his exotic designs.

    Appreciate your KIA-SOUL design!
    More power…

  • nuhu bappa

    hello mr seon good job u doin out there.speaking of designs,can i also share my designs with kia