Another blog post long overdue so lets get straight into it. A bit of a change to the usual posts as i usually post about current projects or what im making, but if you have been following me on twitter you will know that i have bought a new car. Now coming from a car design background this proved a very difficult challenge, as my last car had been with me for 7 years! And being super critical (i am a designer) about every detail when it comes to cars or products, it took me a long time to finally choose a car that i knew i could live with for just as long.
I had an immense list of requirements! mostly styling issues but also mechanical and reliability requirements, and as cars are one big ball of many aspects of design all wrapped up in metal, i had a big decision to make. I finally plumped for a peugeot 308. Now before you all go critising, i did not take that choice lightly and considered many other cars but found this to be the best all round in terms of good design! let me explain why.
From an ergonomics point of view car design has moved a long way from the cars of 12 years ago which i had, and the first thing that striked me sitting in this car was the amount of the outside world i could see from inside it. This appealed to me greatly as i like to see where im going obviously and some cars nowadays seem to have smaller and smaller glass areas for poeple to hide away in, why? So the vast amount of glass appealed to me and also gave me that extra visual awareness to drive properly and confidently (see where im going here? cars are required to do alot for many individuals and age ranges not an easy task) also the glass made the inside seem bigger where the outside of the car seemed smaller, another trick car designers use to give the ilusion of space. The seating position was perfect to take advantage of this increased viewing area and the interior controls, lights dashboard etc where all simply and intuitively designed to avoid prolonged looking down and taking your eyes off the road (another area where design is vitally important in car design, intuitive controls and operations) just on a side note on the glass area, have you ever been stuck behind a van or lorry while driving and been frustrated that you cannot see where your going, now put yourself behind a car with a large back window (the new crop of small cars like the citreon c1 or peugeot 108 do this beautifully) that allows you to see through that car and onto the road ahead! How much more satisfying is that? giving other road users a vital viewing area for traffic or dangers ahead. An area i think is overlooked completely in car design nowadays (thinking of other road users and not just the ones inside the car)
proportional this car is also a very good go between against small and big cars, again the design of the interior lends the user into thinking the car is bigger and hence cognitively safer, while large mirrors and minimal wheel overhangs allow easy maneourability and parking (well for me anyway) the list of design areas that need to addressed in car design is growing isnt it?
im not going to bore you with engine stats or perfromance becasuse that was never a requirement when i was lookng, i just wanted something economical (who doesn't) but in terms of engines, peugeot produce one of the best, which is encouraging. They designed many diesel engine features that are common place in many engines today and it is quiet! How many diesel cars do you hear that sound like tractors? people are funny things, some don't want to be noticed or seen, so for the shy conscious amoungst us this car appeals, but doesn't shout about it.
road noise is minmal, again down to good design (many years of design, sound proving, material selection etc) and above all the overall styling is very good, it was my main aim to get a car that looked good (i know its vain but us designers like things that look nice and work well) and this car does look good. A prominant face to the car which is distinctive and very peugeot (they have been very good over the years at keeping their brand well known and unique) a lovely clean DFL (draw force line, basically the crease that divides glass and body work when you look at the car side on) which defines the character, stance and proportion of the car.
Also on another side note the indicator lights, main headlights and brake lights are all segmented well and so do not merge into one another when in use. Alot of new cars do this nowadays, where the indiator light (usually yellow), is hidden within the main headlights, hence when they are on it can be very difficult to see the indicator lights working. Which to me is a major oversight and a dangerous feature for other road users, lots of cars do this, audi, jaguar for example and it shows that car designers aren't really thinking properly about the interaction of the car and its controls on the enviroment its in.
anyway enough ranting as i can see this blog post getting longer and longer as i get my design hat on. what i wanted to prove in this post is that so much and i mean so much design goes into the humble car, more than even i could ever touch on. And proves that car designers don't have it easy. They have to cater for every age group and every ability and sometimes have to make assumptions and estimates as to how best the car should be used or driven. not easy in the slightest!
so my design hat comes off to the car designer!
oh and the boot is very big so i can get loads of wood in it on my travels.