Best Car Designers In The World

April 9, 2023

Behind every car on the road, there is a story, and behind that, a designer. Everything from a well functioning engine, to the shape and comfort of interior and seats. Designers are the heart and soul of a company's brand and image, and with that comes lots of responsibility, but also a lot of potential. The following are the most iconic car designers to work in the industry and their stories.

Ralph Gilles

Chrysler has long been at the third place spot in American car companies. With brands Jeep and Dodge under its wing and parent company Fiat, this underdog has lots of ups and downs in past designs. However, one of the largest Chrysler successes is thanks to Ralph Gilles, the designer of the Chrysler 300 - North American Car of the Year. Responsible for countless projects, Gilles leadership and design expertise have landed his current position as Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, a promotion he received the spring of 2015. Gilles has had a few low rated vehicles in his past especially within the Jeep brand. However, no designer can have a win every time, and his work has generally been well done.

The following is a designer who has had a significant influence in the auto industry as well as the shoe industry.

Walter de Silva

Walter de Silva is next up on the docket, known for his exceptional work with Alfa Romeo, Fiat, SEAT, and Volkswagen. Widely regarded as one of the greatest car designers of all time, de Silva has influenced great products such as the Audi A5 coupe, Audi R8, Audi TT, and more. After leaving his career as a car designer with Audi, Walter migrated to shoe fashion, allowing him to pursue new opportunities as a designer. In 2009, as a high point for the auto-designer, Walter de Silva’s designs accumulated 6,300,000 dollars in sales. Although currently working on other projects, de Silva may eventually decide to make a return to the car-design profession in the future.

Next up, a Japanese designer who was convinced to join Nissan and became an all-time great.

Shiro Nakamura

Hailing from Tokyo, Japan, Shiro Nakamura had become one of all time greats in car design. When Carlos Ghosn became the lead at Nissan, he convinced Nakamura to join the Nissan team, and as a result, the crossover (one of Shiro’s pioneering designs) became a common product in America. Identifiable units Nakamura created are the Juke, Rogue, and Murano; all strong sellers for the Japanese motor company. Taking a risk on the crossover was what gave Shiro a name in the industry, but he has contributed much in value over his time with Nissan, and his role as the chief creative officer (currently twelve years). Coming up is a Scotish designer who made his mark on the Jaguar brand and has established himself as an edgy personality.

Ian Callum

Ian Callum, born in Dumfries, Scotland in 1954, is a well-known authority in the auto industry. Having worked for Ford, TWR and, Jaguar, Callum has had a successful career designing key models primarily for Jaguar such as the XK, XF, XJ, and C-X75. Ian has a distinct style in his cars identifiable in his curved hoods and edgy yet stylish grills. Currently employed as the director of design at Jaguar, Callum’s work is still widely perceived as innovative and trendsetting amongst popular car brands. Callum is a strong influence in the industry and has embedded his style in the Jaguar image for years to come.

Next on the docket is a designer who follows the artistic impressions of Leonardo da Vinci in every piece of work.

Horacio Pagani

Horacio, Founder and CEO of Pagani, is currently sixty-two years old and has had a fascination with cars and their beauty his whole life. Known for designing specialty cars, this Argentinian executive has brought the world some of the most beautifully designed vehicles, ever. Most recently, Pagani has released the Huayra Roadster a perfectly crafted car that comes together, almost as if carved from marble. Famous for designing cars based on the principles of Leonardo da Vinci, Pagani never settles on a first design; Horacio has also created a more aggressive model from the previous coupé, a huge commitment to the automotive industry to advance not only car design standards, but also materials. Upcoming is a look at a notable top designer candidate who has worked with brands such as BMW, McLaren, and Ford.

Frank Stephenson

Beginning his design career back in 1986, Frank Stephenson has become an incredibly successful and renowned British-American car designer. Ford was Stephenson’s first company where he contributed to the Ford Escort RS Cosworth. Since then, Frank has worked with BMW, Ferrari, and McLaren; notable designs are the award-winning MINI for BMW, Maserati GranSport, and developing the design language and concepts for McLaren up until 2017. Currently in between projects, Frank has launched the Frank Stephenson Design Studio. Stephenson will hopefully return to the auto design industry under a different brand soon.

The following is a member of a famous artistic family, who found his stride designing automobiles for a living.

Lowie Vermeersch

Ranked amongst the top twenty-five most influential car designers, Lowie Vermeersch has an incredible family design history, which Lowie has helped contribute to himself within the auto industry. Directly following graduation, Vermeersch was employed at Pininfarina where he made bold contributions to brands such as Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and, Maserati. Lowie’s products have won multiple awards including Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta - Best Concept Car of the Year 2010 and Chery TX - Best Concept Car of the Year 2012.

Next up is a German designer who had a dramatic falling out with Audi, but has bounced back to the stage.

Wolfgang Egger

Wolfgang Egger is a German car designer born in 1963 who has had a strong career in the automotive industry and is most recognized for his time at Audi Group as head of design from 2007 to 2013. Honorable mentions for work include the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and SEAT Ibiza. Although making big news when he was removed from his position at Audi in 2013, Egger has found work elsewhere, becoming the design director at BYD, a Chinese auto manufacturer in 2017. Regardless of his past with Audi, the future looks bright for Egger moving forward.

Next up is one of the best to ever play the game, a true savant.

Giorgetto Giugiaro

Legend is the only word to describe Giorgetto Giugiaro, a car designer since 1968. Giorgetto has played a role in designing the modern car structure with heavy influence in Volkswagen specifically. The first major car Giugiaro ever produced was the Alfa Romeo 2000 back in 1959, which was later adapted to the 2600. Since then, industry heavy-hitters such as the Fiat Uno and Lamborghini Gallardo have come to market and remained strong competitors, especially the Uno in a foreign market - Brazil. Giorgetto has retired now, with over two hundred car models produced and an iconic impression on the world, a true visionary.

Upcoming is a name any car enthusiast will recognize immediately.

Henrik Fisker

The Fisker name is well known across the automotive industry, and not just with cars. Henrik Fisker, born in 1963, is a Danish-American designer aptly known for many of the luxury cars he has designed and been a part of. Henrik has founded many companies throughout his years, including Fisker Inc., Fisker Automotive, Fisker Coachbuild, and VLF Automotive. With many businesses under his belt, iconic products such as the Fisker Karma, Galpin-Fisker Mustang Rocket, and VLF Destino V8. With such a large portfolio and a household automotive name, Henrik Fisker is one of the all-time car designer greats.