Where do the designers who create timeless design cars get their inspiration?

Where do the designers who create timeless design cars get their inspiration?
Where do the designers who create timeless design cars get their inspiration?

The appearance of Jaguar E-Type, Ford GT or Mazda RX-7 is often seen as timeless, not because these sports models can cause an adrenaline rush. All of these cars have one thing in common – a design that strictly corresponds to their purpose, without any unnecessary or superfluous details.

Which models will join them in the future is hard to predict, but they will most likely be cars built on similar principles. There is already talk that the Mazda6 will look just as attractive a decade from now, but the same cannot be said for the Honda Civic Type R or the Nissan Juke.

Inspiration comes from nature

Car designer Dominykas Budinas jokes that even for a person working in this field, it is not so easy to tell where the roots of one or another company’s design philosophy lie. According to the interlocutor, bright style elements often appear for professionals who draw inspiration from nature. This is particularly typical of Japanese manufacturers, and especially Mazda designers, who rely on the forms created by wind and water.

“Even the manufacturers’ designers themselves probably don’t always know how exactly a new direction was born, according to which other products were later developed. In most cases, after trying many different options, the most successful solutions are finally settled. The personal experience of each specialist also contributes and, similarly to art, the creative impulses provided by a new direction”, comments the interviewer.

According to D. Budin, in the end, the design elements that are best appreciated by consumers remain in car design. And then, after a longer period of time, no one questions why the BMW radiator grille is not one piece, but consists of two parts. It all probably started with one very simple idea of ​​a designer.

“By far, one of the most effective ways to gauge audience response is concept models. It is like a projection of the future two steps ahead, an opportunity to show radical design solutions. After the exhibitions, producers carefully record feedback and select the best ideas. Then they apply them in the new generation models”, says the designer.

Taking risks in the hope of success

Usually, only individual design elements are applied to serial production models, but there are exceptions that stimulate the market. It is also interesting that among them were not only extremely exotic and expensive cars, but also models available to most consumers. For example, the 2014 Toyota C-HR, 2016 Honda Civic or Mazda Kai concepts looked incredibly effective, and they finally turned into reality.

Mazda’s concept became an imposing looking sporty hatchback that reflected the latest evolution of Kodo’s design philosophy. In the 2020 “World Car of the Year” elections, the Mazda3 model even earned the highest rating in the design category, and fans of the brand, seeing a strong stance unusual in this segment, began to wait impatiently for the return of the most powerful version.

However, in most cases, serial production cars are quite different from concept cars. According to the interviewee, bold design decisions are always associated with additional risks.

Change catches up with everyone

D. Budin observes that in recent years, even Toyota realized that it is not enough to produce only reliable economy class cars when forming the image of the brand. The manufacturer presented more than one really impressive looking concept model, showing the intriguing new direction of this concern. The more active involvement of the company in motor sports also contributes to this.

The designer also draws attention to Mazda, a company that makes thoughtful design decisions and does not try to jump out. According to the interviewer, although the appearance of the recently debuted large CX-60 city SUV is not particularly innovative, looking at this car, one can notice that its design has been carefully developed for a long time. The differences compared to previous models are quite subtle, but significant.

Mazda designers are not trying to reinvent the car – they apply, one might say, classic solutions. This is the path of safe choices. On the other side of that spectrum is Peugeot. The bold steps of this company will not necessarily work, but in this way it creates the impression that the models are completely new. This is how the manufacturer is looking for a new direction”, teaches D. Budinas.

According to the expert, bearing in mind that the absolute majority of consumers around the world are quite conservative, Mazda’s choice is completely logical. Both in other fields and in the automotive sector, practical products with a simpler design are more attractive to people. The main thing is that conservatism does not turn into stagnation. This truth can also be confirmed by Toyota, whose Prius model needed changes when it was crying.

“It seems to be a really good car that has been in production for many years and is known for its quality.” But, as the range of hybrid models expanded, alternatives appeared. In order to capture a larger share of the market, it is no longer enough to be organic – you also have to be cool. “Rivian, Tesla and other new manufacturers have demonstrated that new generation cars can look cool”, states the specialist.

Responsive to changing needs

In order for cars to remain attractive to customers, they need to be fundamentally updated and even presented as a new product. It is often necessary to change the name. This is how the Porsche Taycan was born, which will eventually completely replace its technically related sedan, the Panamera.

The concept of design also includes the body type, and in this regard, the models of most manufacturers are replaced by various crossovers and city SUVs.

As manufacturers responded to the changing needs of younger customers, the spartan Suzuki Jimny was revived, and multipurpose models such as the Hyundai Kona or the Mazda CX-30 appeared on the market. Playful crossovers with black plastic trim were perfect for outdoor picnics in any weather.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: designers create timeless design cars inspiration

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