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Go Logo! A Handbook to the Art of Global Branding26
Sephia automobile rendering
Layer One: Beauty is only skin deep, but it is deep.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Beauty is only skin deep. And yes, this is true. However, the skin
is composed of many layers, and it is much more complex than it appears on the surface.
The skin is more than just a part of our appearance; it protects the body from impact,
temperature, moisture, and dehydration. In a sense, skin is the most vital part of our body; it
keeps us alive.
When I was an automotive designer at Daewoo Motors (1978 to 1986) and Kia Motors
(1986 to 1995), my interest was not only in the style of the vehicle but also in enhancing
the purpose of the vehicle through its style. As a designer, I assumed my role was to search
for a style that served the purpose of the vehicle and to find aesthetics that people would
consider beautiful. One example is the Kia Sephia (designed and developed between 1988
and 1992 and launched in 1992), which set a new standard for a subcompact family car in
Korea. There were two challenges in determining the design direction: First, Koreans liked
things that appeared larger than their actual size; and second, the competitive models at
the time were excessively adorned with chrome-plated
trims and decorations. In essence, the first challenge was
to deal with the traditional perception of beauty, and the
second challenge was to deal with the contemporary
comprehension of beauty.
Skin, Skeleton, and Spirit: Layers of Design
SOOSHIN CHOI, Professor and Head of Industrial Design at the
College of Design, Art and Planning (DAAP), University of Cincinnati
Sooshin Choi became an automotive designer when he was twenty-two years
old and developed more than ten automobiles over eighteen years. He contin-
ued his career as a design director in the furniture field to develop a number
of system furniture designs. Most of his designs are remembered as bestsellers.
He founded the industrial design group at DEKA Research and Development
Corporation and contributed to the designs of innovative products such as
iBOT and Segue. Since 2003, he has been teaching future designers as a profes-
sor and head of the industrial design program at the University of Cincinnati.
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