Brittany Moss no longer sees colors as simply one on the Roy G. Biv scale.
“The best way to describe it is there’s no longer red – there are about 60 different shades of red,” Moss said. “There’s yellow red, pink red, as well as just looking at leather. I can go into a car now and know what’s leather, what’s vinyl, what’s plastic. I see everything now.”
So did Moss develop a very specific ability that helps her immediately spot the difference between burgundy and oxblood? Sort of. It comes as a side effect of being a color and materials designer, which Moss has done at Ford Motor Company for the last two-and-a-half years.
As part of the color and materials group Moss – who grew up in Bloomfield Hills and now lives in West Bloomfield – is part of a team that, depending on the vehicle line they are working on, takes the interior and exterior architecture they are given and delivers a specific experience for their customer. Moss said there’s usually one designer and one manager on each vehicle, but they also work with a full studio – engineers, program management, marketing.
Her job can mean picking everything from the perfect hue of wood to working on a specific stitch pattern. Moss said they are given a customer from marketing, who they then do research on and what they need. From there it’s all about looking at trends in product design and fashion and determining what’s applicable to the customer.
“You create this interior and exterior world for which our customers live in on the daily,” she said.
One of the most important parts of Moss’s job is having a design intuition where you can forecast trends ahead of time. Right now, Moss said she’s seeing a lot of space-age and futuristic trends on the horizon, and technology in general.
“We’re like the fashion designers of the automotive world,” Moss said. “It’s really interesting. Once I heard about it I was definitely much more interested in it, so I wanted to pursue it.”
Moss originally thought about pursuing a career in interior design when she began at Center for Creative Studies (CCS), but when she found herself in her first class, which happened to be a color and materials class, she knew she wanted to become a color and materials designer.
Even though Moss thinks many people probably don’t know exactly what she does on the daily, she knows her role is still an important one in the auto industry.
“Your car interiors are something that you are in for a very long period of time on a daily basis,” she said. “It’s almost like your home-away-from-home when you’re driving back and forth.”
While she can only say that her most current project is working on a future vehicle – she couldn’t delve into any more detail – she did discuss her work on the Lincoln Nautilus, which was released at this year’s North American International Auto Show.
“It was a cool experience to work on something and then see it released and go to the auto show and see it in person,” Moss said. “To really be able to interact with something you’ve created and to know people will be experiencing their lives in something you were able to work on was really exciting.”
Photo: Laurie Tennent