The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette. Larger version here.
You can tell a lot about aesthetics just by looking.
Of course, there's no way to judge whether you're always right or not. For instance, I have a strong conviction that I can almost always tell when a painting was made from a photograph. I have no good or easy way to test that conviction, though. Is my confidence on that score to some extent self-delusion?
It's possible. I just don't think so.
So here's what I think about the newly-introduced Corvette: it looks to me like what happens when an inherently conservative, cautious, committee-based, buttoned-down corporation tackles a project for which the design brief is to create something flamboyant, adventurous, ambitious and individualistic.
The result—not great, not completely terrible—has a decidedly "too many cooks" look about it. Two things I'd lay money on: there was more than one stylist in on the project, and none of the stylists involved were completely happy with the result.
No way to test that, of course.
But you can tell a lot just by looking.
Original contents copyright 2013 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
richardplondon: "I believe I know the name of the designer: Alan Smithee."
MarkB: "'An inherently conservative, cautious, committee-based, buttoned-down corporation tackles a project for which the design brief is to create something flamboyant, adventurous, ambitious and individualistic.' Having worked with automotive designers and styling studios for the past decade, I can confirm that you've just described the way design is handled at nearly every major car manufacturer. There will always be the occasional 'risky venture' like the original Ford Taurus, the New Beetle, or the 'Bentley' redesign of the Chrysler 300, but 90% of the cars we see on the road are produced as you describe. Even the outlandish, 'way off the mark' vehicles, like the Nissan Juke or Pontiac Aztek, would've been better if the non-designer executives could trust their designers to do their jobs. Of course, everyone with two eyes and a mouth has to 'help.'"
m3photo: "What were they thinking? In short: the Asian market."
Hélcio J. Tagliolatto: "Car design (and haute cuisine) are those rare instances when Americans must learn from Europeans."
Hugh Crawford: "Running boards? It looks like a Chris Bangle restyle of a Dirt Devil. And really, running boards? Really?"
Mike replies: That "looks like" line made me laugh.
Gene Baucom: "As a 'stylist' and graduate of Art Center who worked for GM both in the U.S. and Australia, I can assure you that no car is the result of a single designer. Not ever. Designers come up with concepts. Design managers takes parts of those concepts and mix them up into a concept of their own. Clay models are created. The old men with gray hair and expensive suits arrive. They often make suggestions: 'I like the front end of that one, but the back end of the other one.' Or 'it needs to be more swoopy,' or 'If we expect to see this for $60k it needs more chrome.' Not to mention the carefully selected focus groups, and that everything is designed on computers by people who couldn't find a spark plug if their life depended on it.
"It's not good or bad, just the way the industry works."