An award-winning idea for a see-through toaster put designer John Cupit in the national spotlight back when he was majoring in product design at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Now Cupit's bread and butter is coming up with innovative vehicles for Nissan.
Cupit loves a cool motorcycle. He drew on his love for riding when designing Nissan's 2006 Urge roadster concept. Cupit's other achievements include this year's Bevel concept, an SUV geared toward aging male baby boomers, and the Quest minivan concept and production vehicles.
Name: John Cupit
Title: Design manager, Nissan Design America
Personal Life: Married, two children
Lives: Olivenhain, Calif.
Works: San Diego
Big break: Designed a cool toaster for Black & Decker as part of an international design competition while in school. He won first prize, which led to a job with Nissan. "It seemed like every time I had an interview, someone had already seen the toaster design in a magazine or newspaper. So that opened some doors for me."
What would you be if not a vehicle designer?
What talent do you wish you had?
I'd like to be a better painter.
What's on your iPod?
I don't have an iPod or a new stereo system. I'm a Luddite. I like simple, easy-to-use objects, and I tend to stay away from modern technology. The cell phone to me is a necessary evil.