The Euro brands are doing okay, though Audi seems to be slipping into ostentatious-ness with the new models it has on the way. Volvo has some great work coming down the pike, as does Land Rover. It's frustrating, though, that you have to go to the Euro/luxury brands to get even a taste of simplicity.Cyberdemon wrote:I think theres plenty of attractive cars still out there that are staying more minimal. Anything German, Hyundai's (which are now baby Audi's), Chevy, Jaguar are all pretty clean. Sometimes it also depends on the trim of the vehicle. Usually the lower trims are more austere and as you add bigger engines you start getting a lot more flares, diffusers, plastic trim bits and LED lights.
The Japanese stuff is all a horrible ransom note of design. Lexus anything, Nissan everything. Honda has a few "Cleaner" variations of things but they're coming off a streak of some really ugly cars.
I suppose it's what you like. There's a number of cars out there that catch my attention these days without being super over done or melty-surfaced.
Mazda is probably the most well-refined version of what bothers me. It's commendable that they've been able to carry a unified aesthetic across their entire line, something rare with any brand, but it's an aesthetic that works well in specific circumstances and poorly in others. It's not a look and feel that lends itself to iconic brand-building.Mr-914 wrote:Don't forget Mazda. They are still a little hit and miss, but ever since they jettisoned the giant smiley grilles they are doing much better. In fact, I think the Mazda 6 is the most beautiful car for sale.
Oh god Lexus. They are definitely the biggest culprit. I can't imagine how dated every one of their models will look in a few years when the pendulum inevitably swings the opposite direction.Mr-914 wrote:Here is my least favorite: Lexus NX. This weekend I was studying the form of one in a parking lot. I feel sorry for the sculpture. Usually you try to have the reflections flow over the body. On the NX, the reflections stop abruptly and distort. Moreover, some of the leading edges start to flow and then jerk a different direction. It's a mess.
You couldn't have said that better. There are very few examples of cars that really hit the spot for me. The 90s Audi type simplicity lacks roar, which is why I think brands are moving more towards a sort of digitally inspired complexity or just wilder surfacing. For me Land Rover, the 2006 Lamborghini Miura concept, the rear design of the Lamborghini Veneno, and the upcoming Volvo series are marks of what future car design will be: simplicity returns but with a lot of power, lightweight and future-forward design. Also Scott Robertson has done some concepts where you see nice combinations of simplicity with power and body. And I liked Ross Lovegrove's design for Renault, it was very refreshing.engelhjs wrote:I lean toward minimalism when it comes to product aesthetics, and it's an attitude modern cars seem to have all but done away with... nearly every major brand seems to be moving toward a busier and busier look and feel. Not only does it often look messy -- odd proportions, lines that start and stop all over the place...I feel the entire industry is homogenizing around a look and feel I just don't care for.
I agree completely. You can easily see how we got where we are today: cars of the late 90s and early 2000s started to feel too bland and simple, and everyone's solution was complexity, especially in surfacing. What I'm hoping just like you, ralphzoontjens, is that more brands realize there are plenty of ways to add visual dynamism without going surface crazy. Three or four strong, form-defining lines can be much more powerful and iconic than 18 crazy ones.ralphzoontjens wrote:The 90s Audi type simplicity lacks roar, which is why I think brands are moving more towards a sort of digitally inspired complexity or just wilder surfacing.
Maybe not so much a response, but definitely an evolution. What I find odd and disheartening is that nearly every brand seems to have evolved in exactly the same direction. Design "threads" come and go, and it would make sense that some brands or individual models would jump on those trends, but 90% of the entire industry?Mr-914 wrote:I don't think that 20-teen cars are a response to the '90s. Actually, the Fiat Coupe (1993), the Focus and Ford GT90 (1995) had crazy angles, surfaces and weird lines. I think those were ahead of their time though. I think there is a thread of design today that is fractal surfacing (for lack of an accepted term). Car makers are responding to that.
Haha what a perfect analogue! I remember a client once giving me the direction of, "less Star Wars -- more [Michael Bay] Transformers." My inner monologue's immediate, involuntary reaction was, "I hate you."yo wrote:I think they are more a response to transformer heads than the 90's. There was a lot of clean design in the 90's... and generational, think of the average age of a car designer, the transformer head makes sense.
Give me 80's Optimus any day!