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Sam Livingstone


  • As Visiting Professor on the Intelligent Mobility programme, Sam delivers seminars on automotive and mobility design contexts, and works one-to-one with students on their project’s concept definition, design research and how to best communicate their design intent. He is also responsible for arranging lectures, group critiques and tutorials that are pivotal in developing different critical perspectives and professional practice within vehicle design.  

  • Biography

  • Sam Livingstone has a first degree in Product Design and a second degree with distinction in Design Strategy and Innovation.

    His professional background is in product design, marketing and automotive design research. In 1997 a position was created for him as Design Strategist at Daewoo Motor Company, answering directly to the Design Director. Since 2000 he has been a consultant, first for a Frankfurt-based consultancy, AG (now part of the Peter Schmidt Group), and then for the UK-based company Car Design Research Ltd.  

    His consulting work is predominantly for design groups of major automotive OEMs, but also includes other mobility companies, suppliers and creative agencies. Typical projects include developing new macro design strategies for automotive brands, establishing concept definitions for new vehicle design programmes, authoring automotive and non-automotive design trend reports, coaching designers on design strategy, and other work in and around the interface between design, brand and customers. 

    Sam was one of the original team behind at Car Design News, and has also written for other publications including Form Magazine and Form Trends. His critical commentary on mobility design published at and on Linkedin reaches over a thousand international automotive and design influencers every month, and he is frequently cited in the media on car design.

    Sam has been a visiting tutor at the RCA since 2001, a personal tutor since 2003 and has had responsibility for professional practice within the programme since 2004. He instigated the annual Design Night and has managed it from 2005 until 2017. In 2009, Sam was made Senior Tutor and had responsibility for arranging a series of lectures, visits, group critiques and tutorials that helped develop different critical perspectives and professional practice within vehicle design. In 2013, Sam elected to step down from his permanent position at the College due to external work commitments, but continues his role on the programme as Visiting Professor.

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  • Practice

  • Sam’s core professional expertise is in understanding the nature of cars and mobility design from a future end-user perspective, within a context of fast evolving brand, socio-cultural, and technical developments. how the world’s most sophisticated and development intense product emotively connects with customers; how it is changing along with the wider mobility landscape and the sharing economy; and the leading ways design adds commercial value to brands.

    Sam has been the Director of the consultancy Car Design Research since 2000, where he has managed projects for clients including Audi, Volvo, Polestar, Volkswagen Group, Toyota, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Renault, Pininfarina, Ford, Honda, and McLaren, as well as an increasingly number of start-up and mobility brands. As part of this he has worked closely with most of the world’s automotive design directors and many other senior managers on their future brand, product and design strategies.

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      • External collaborations

      • Sam is a juror on the World Car of The Year Design Award, a Transport Design Judge for the iF Design Awards, and has spoken at (and chaired) numerous industry and academic conferences and symposiums, and increasingly at and in public facing events and films.

      Selected work


      Research interests

      Sam has presented papers or chaired industry and academic automotive design events in Amsterdam, Rome, Oxford, Nanjing, Berlin, Coventry, Berlin, London, Vienna and Copenhagen.

      His extensive critical writing on automotive design has been published predominantly in the leading (peer reviewed) international automotive design media,Car Design News.  

      He was a contributing author to Moving Forward: New Directions in Transport Design for the V&A and his writing has also been published in Form magazine.

      As part of his work practicing as an automotive design research consultant, Sam has conducted numerous confidential design research projects for company clients.

      2010–11: Project leader for a sponsored studio project for second year MA students: Double Challenge, a project that harness exclusively electric powered attributes to make a compelling new type of ultra compact Citroen and shows a direction that could establish a unique Citroen E-vehicle aesthetic.

      2010: Vehicle Design Lecture Sessions; created and organised five 'sessions' each running for 90 minutes and comprising four short lectures and a Q&A as a delivery platform and to engage with industry. Speakers included David Nelson, Head of Design, Fosters Associates; Julian Thompson, Head of Advanced Design, Jaguar; Nick Talbot, Director, Seymour Powell; Nicola Rawlston, Design Director, Nokia.

      2009–10: Project leader for the first ever sponsored studio project for second year MA students in 2009 with Bentley and EXA corporation (an aerodynamic simulation software company) to explore how aerodynamics might inform a future aesthetic direction for this traditional luxury car brand.

      2005–current: annual Vehicle Design Alumni and Friend Dinner event; coordination of eminent speakers and all other aspects.