He got the inspiration to become a designer at the age of 13 from one of his teachers. From that time on, he studied design. In 1998, he won a competition sponsored by a Japanese corporation. The invitation to Japan played a turning point in his career.
After his first visit, he returned to the UK and continued to work for a design company, but due to his unforgettable experience in Japan, he returned in 1989 to join a design company in Nagoya, where he worked for six years. Until then, his profession had been product design, although Humphries had always wanted to try his hand at designing cars. Despite his inexperience in the automotive field, in 1994 Toyota accepted him into the team. At that time, there were no foreign designers in the Toyota design team.
Currently, Humphries shares two visions: the company's direction, which takes into account Akio Toyoda's opinions, and the second customer's views. According to him, the designer's job is to formulate a message based on the analysis of both parties.
He notes that Akio Toyoda has a vision that gives direction to the team, and the designers' main job is to give shape to that direction. It is important for designers to be able to visualize the future taking into account company strategy, management goals and market demands.
According to him, the main goal of Toyota is to make each car a unique experience for the customer and to feel happy by choosing a car. Despite the different values, Toyota offers them optimal solutions. Humphries calls this the Japanese methodology.
He cites the example of beers, when the same brand of beer is sold in bottles of different sizes: 1L, 500 ml, 350 ml and the smallest 135 ml. The reason for this is that they all have their own customers.
That's why Toyota's designers research the diverse needs of customers. It is not a company that produces only the cars it wants or according to market research. Akio Toyoda is vital to maintaining a balance between promoting the car's purposeful production and evaluating the marketing. All this has been made possible by reforming vehicle manufacturing in the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), which pursues both ever-better design and engineering. It is very important for the employees of the company that Akio Toyoda is not only the head of the company.
Humphries noted that it's okay not to have clear answers. Toyota designs are created through a constant exchange of ideas. According to him, the design reflects the future. From the moment a car appears in the world, it is already a thing of the past. Designers should look at the work critically and find ways to improve it. Otherwise, they'll never take a step forward, and that's the fun part of Toyota car design.