From Eyewear to Autos: Color and Materials Designer Brings Exclusivity to Rally-Inspired All-Electric Mustang Mach-E

Jan 25, 2024
3 MIN READ

Some people are said to have an eye for fashion, but in the case of one Ford color and materials designer, eyewear is what actually led her to the automotive industry. Angela Bell has always had a passion for trends and fashion and appreciates how they reflect culture and which things people pay attention to.  

“Style and expression are things I’ve been really into,” she said. “And the biggest accessory that carries that out is eyewear.”

Bell cultivated an interest in vintage eyewear during college, where she studied industrial design at Wayne State University in Detroit. She honed her interest while working at Optik, a boutique in Birmingham, Michigan filled with vintage and luxury items, as she continued to fill her portfolio with eyewear concepts. That foundation led to her becoming the in-house designer for SEE Eyewear, a national eyewear company based in the Detroit area.  

“I got into eyewear because it’s a personal accessory,” she said. “It was something I did throughout school. I learned a lot about eyewear, and I still love it. It just brought me into the world of design and here I am.”

While she has continued designing eyewear on a freelance basis, she also pursues personal photography in her spare time. Bell pivoted to leather design in her career, where she developed and designed secondary processes at Eagle Ottawa, an automotive leather supplier and subsidiary of Lear Corporation.

“It was there that I understood a little bit more about color and materials because I was working directly with color and materials designers,” she said. “I wanted to do more than leather. I wanted to handle all commodities and have a chance at creating the whole experience, not just one commodity. So that brought me to Ford. It’s been just over three years, and I’m still learning a lot.”

Bell joined Ford as a color and materials designer just weeks before the COVID pandemic forced many in the company to work remotely. She has relied on collaborative tools and continues to own excellence by expanding her knowledge of new programs in order to deliver the best possible product for our customers.

“We’re getting more and more to a point where things are so digital, and at some point, it’s going to be a lot of animations,” she said. “Our responsibility is clear as material designers to embrace those things and use those things, so I always take advantage of any new thing that’s cascaded that I might be able to use for my work and presenting and just trying to stay relevant with those types of things I think are really important.”

Bell also takes advantage of trend shows and supplier shows, using that time to talk directly with them about the latest innovations in materials and understand what’s coming in the future.

Today, Bell is choosing the color combinations that will help make Ford’s first rally-inspired electric SUV appeal to new customers, as Ford sends Mustang off the beaten path. She worked within the accelerated time frame of the Mach-E Rally program and the parameters created by carryover items from the vehicle’s base model to help deliver customers an exclusive experience. Those existing parts of the Mustang Mach-E include sustainable materials, such as in the vehicle’s headliner, as well as the center console and its related pieces. Bell said the use of sustainable materials is both functional – they can make the vehicle lighter, which takes on added importance in electric vehicles – and matches the values of EV customers.

I wanted to accommodate a good experience, not just esthetically, but also to make them feel confident about that purchase and excited about the experience,” she said.

The interior of the Mach-E Rally is predicated around the prevalence of white on the car’s exterior, most notably in its wheels. Oxford White accents are carried throughout the interior. Exterior attributes were brought into the interior including the appliqué. The white position was carried onto the headrest, as well. This allows white to take precedence on the interior the same that it does on the exterior.

Bell added that the use of white represents a progressive take on the rally aesthetic.  

“It was a mix of iconic and trying to put an innovative take on rally,” she said.

All of these interior touches create an exclusive feel for owners.

“I wanted to make a meaningful experience while instilling a privilege for our customers,” Bell said.

The Mustang Mach-E Rally will be available to purchase in early 2024 and deliveries will begin shortly afterward. To stay up to speed with the rally-inspired, five-passenger Ford Mustang Mach-E Rally, visit https://www.ford.com/suvs/mach-e/#rally