Ten Minutes with Peter Hughes (Holden Motorsport Australia)
Holden Designer Peter Hughes
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Where do you find inspiration?

All over the world, anything and everything

Tell me about the projects you’re most proud of and why.

Lead Designer on VT Commodore, V2 Monaro and VE Commodore while at Holden Design, were probably my most significant achievements. Livery wise. The HRT period was pretty rewarding. Setting up their look, their branding and DNA. Making sure every HRT car, was instantly recognisable as an HRT car… good times.

What software do you use and why?

The techniques and software I use are a direct lead on from the techniques and equipment used with GM Design. Photoshop and Autodesk VRED are the two main ones. My background is Automotive Design, not graphic design so none of what I do is vector based, more design driven.

Have you studied design or self taught?

I have a B.A. in Industrial Design and was an Automotive Designer with General Motors or 30 years. The livery side of things was pretty much self-taught but it comes under the design banner I guess. Part of that was designing the factory HRT cars in house. Once Holden shut down, it was a natural progression to continue my design work in the motorsport industry.

What’s your dream job?

I pretty much lived out my dream; designing cars for Holden in Australia was pretty cool back in the day. Many pinch myself moments.

If you could design a livery for any team or driver, who would it be and why?

Any of the F1 Lotus cars from any era …. such an iconic brand in racing , and would have been great to be part of that. Would have been the ultimate. Having said that, proud to say I’ve designed the liveries for 8 of Holden’s Bathurst Winners, so I can’t really complain and have been very fortunate:-) These days, I’ve love to have a crack at DJR or Tickford for something different.

What is the most challenging livery you have ever designed?

2017 888 Red Bull Racing. The transition from HRT to 888 being the Holden factory team was a difficult time. Too many people involved, too many people thinking they knew best. No one listened, no one understood. The livery ended up a safe, vanilla execution…. The car copped a lot of hate as well, as it was now the factory car and alienated many previous HRT fans. Currently, the indigenous liveries can be very tricky.

What do you think makes a good livery design?

Clean, simple and striking. Not so easy in the modern era of multi sponsors on one car.

How do you make your designs stand out from the rest?

A lot of that is dependent on the sponsor{s} and how much freedom you have to go extreme. Again…. Clear, bold and simple usually stands out more at the track or on TV coverage.

Lastly, for those starting out. What advice would you give?

Your clients are more important than anything else. Meet their brief. Go above their expectations of what they believe is required. Give them more than they expect. Meet them at the track or workshop and go face to face. View your work in person, on the car. Ask the team if they are happy, is there anything else you can do… Valued clients and repeat business are the cornerstone of making a career out it. 1 on 1 is a must. Don’t just be an anonymous person behind a PC

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