In the latest episode of the CNH Industrial web series, we speak to David Wilkie, Director of the CNH Industrial Design Center, for an exclusive look at how his team brings a touch of automotive flair to the world of industrial machinery.

London, May 31, 2016

When you think of innovative design, your initial train of thought would most likely sway towards the likes of architecture and high tech gadgets rather than construction equipment and delivery vans. The work of David Wilkie and the CNH Industrial Design Center is looking to raise the profile of industrial product design by making it more appealing to the eye, while retaining all of its functionality.

“To me, good design is two things, really: it is something which makes the product very functional and a pleasure to use; and something which gives personality, charm, and creates a very memorable experience,” describes Wilkie at the beginning of the latest episode of CNH Industrial’s Behind the Wheel web series.

Watch the episode on the CNH Industrial YouTube Channel:

Through an interview with Wilkie, the Design Center episode depicts how products from CNH Industrial’s brands evolve from the sketch pad to the real world where they are used to build infrastructure, deliver goods, transport people, cultivate fields, put out fires and much more. A tour of the Design Center demonstrates the importance of innovation and collaboration between the Design and Engineering teams to balance design and functionality so that one does not compromise the other.

Wilkie also gives viewers insight on the next big step for design at CNH Industrial, which he believes to be autonomous vehicles: “It’s no longer science fiction and the far future; it’s something that’s really coming and is going to change the layout of all of our vehicles. It’s amazing that we work in an industrial world which could be more advanced than the parallel automotive world that people know so well.”

With regards to the automotive world, the episode also touches on the Design Center’s link to that sector. Many of the designers in the Design team, Wilkie included, come from an automotive design background and are furthermore able to leverage upon the car design know-how of CNH Industrial’s sister Company, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). “What’s interesting is that the rules a designer would use to draw a tractor are pretty much the same we would use to draw a car. The lights on tractors have a specific function related to how a tractor is used, nevertheless, as with cars, they give the personality, the charm and the brand look to the vehicle. There’s every opportunity to make a tractor, as good-looking as a car,” explains Wilkie.

David Wilkie graduated with Honors from the Charles Rennie Mackintosh School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland with a specialization in industrial design. He holds a Postgraduate Master’s Degree in Automotive Design from the Royal College of Art in London, United Kingdom. He has held design roles of increasing responsibility throughout his career, joining CNH Industrial in 2014 to lead the Design Teams for the Company’s different segments: Agricultural Machinery, Construction Equipment and Commercial Vehicles.