Earl Beckles, Principle Designer at Land Rover

Earl Beckles
(Image credit: press)

blue Land Rover

(Image credit: press)

How did you come to be a car designer?

I knew I wanted to be a car designer since I was 13. I liked any kind of design - if not cars I would be a designer of trainers. I knew what I loved doing but I didn’t know this could be a job until I saw that you could make a career out of this on a TV programme. So I did my BA in vehicle design in Coventry and then came to the RCA and graduated in 1998.

Did your perception change of what car design is?

It probably enhanced my attitude to car design. I always had an off-the-wall approach to it and they encouraged this kind of post modernist approach and thought process more.

What journey did you take after leaving the RCA?

Land Rover sponsored me and I joined them afterwards. The highlight of my career was the design of the interior and exterior of the Freelander 2. There is such a long lead time in car making. So that was the last car I worked on which is on the road.

What is your advice for young designers?

This is a great year at the RCA and there is a lot of creativity and innovation. Studios around the world are pushing design and seeing how far they can move it forward. In this sense these guys are coming in at the right level and are thought provokers. A few years from now they would need to tone it down a bit and make it less wacky but the pitch is right for now. I want a designer who brings something new, not something we’re already doing in the studio.

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.