Car Design: Colour & Trim

The dynamic role of style in the automobile industry

Master's Course**

1 Oct 2019 - 5 Jun 2020
it · en
enrolment fee € 5.500
tuition fee € 22.000

** Students who successfully complete the programmes taught in Milano will be awarded with an Istituto Marangoni diploma.

Programme Specification

Interior and exterior colour, fabric, trim and materials are strategic drivers in the automobile design process, and the luxury transport industry in general; the market is defined by an ever-increasing demand for sophistication, style and comfort. In this exciting business, evolving expectations and challenges of new technologies are pushing car designers to explore a new combination of aesthetic, ecological, and functional aspects to create unique iconic products and experiences.

In this 9-month course, participants specialise in colour and trim design focusing primarily on luxury car interiors, as well as exteriors. They will explore innovative concepts of colours, materials, textures and finishes and their application to create distinctive and emotional automotive interiors. The participants will begin by investigating key materials, such as fabric, leather, wood, metal, advanced composites and the use of colour in design, and then proceed to examine in further depth, the technical characteristics, the functional requirements and the aesthetic quality. Material performance, surface treatments, patterns, graphics, textures, and the latest innovative materials including colour changing qualities, biomaterials, or heat and light reflecting fabrics will all be explored.

Together with sketching, visual presentation, digital design, and 2D & 3D mock-ups, the study of brand image ensures design proposals are not only feasible and practical, but also respond to the client’s or company’s brief and ultimately provide something ‘extra’ to the user experience. Trend research and the analysis of style and taste are paramount. Colour and trim designers work in the state of the perpetual future, conceiving and designing projects 3 to 5 years in advance of product delivery.

Today emotional references (sensations, touch, feel, image), and connections to wellbeing, status, and human behaviour are a fundamental part of the interior design process. Participants will discover the influence of ‘emotion’ in style-based decisions, and the importance of collaborating with other teams including exterior designers, marketing and communication teams, and production and technical engineers in the product development process.

At postgraduate level, the course covers research methods and skills in critical analysis, ensuring design proposals are based on strong conceptual foundations that are both creative and feasible. Presentation methods and skills will be developed as fundamental tools in the design process and as an instrument to communicate personal ideas and convince others of their validity. As well as addressing sustainability and use of materials, participants will examine a critical history of transportation design leading to an advanced understanding of issues and directions of the market. Collaboration and guidance from professionals, industry projects and guest speakers will all assist in providing a detailed insight into the realities, and the opportunities of this highly specialised industry.

The strong design and practical elements of the course, supported by contextual, theoretical, conceptual and forward-looking perspectives, will lead participants to the creation of a final portfolio, including a full creative and technical ‘program’; a complete professional colour and trim proposal for a specific car model. The presentation of the projects to companies and industry professionals will offer the students direct feedback from and visibility within the professional reality.


  • Colour and trim design and the evolution of vehicle interiors
  • Style and consumer taste
  • Trend forecasting and brand image
  • Evolution of vehicle morphologies/types
  • Interiors and emotional design
  • Fabrics, materials, and colour
  • New materials and production processes
  • Research methodology
  • Concept identification and development
  • Digital design
  • Advanced simulation and presentation techniques


  • Colour and Trim Designer
  • 3D Modelling and Virtual Reality Specialist
  • HMI (Human-Machine-Interface) Designer
  • Automobile Ergonomic Specialist
  • Automobile Design Strategist
  • Colour, Materials and Finish specialist for related industries (Interior, product design, lifestyle,etc)

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