Hanging about on my camera/s are photos which never seem to make it into an article of any kind. Today, I will try to get some of them out into the public domain and free up some space on my memory cards.
The images constitutes a preliminary non-verbal note to myself. After a while I lose a strong sense of what motivated the images, many of which are not especially striking or nicely composed (as you can see here). On a photo -by-photo basis I have to ask myself what on earth made me record this particular car. It seems to that the almost-common denominator with these is colour. It’s not a rag-bag after all.
The Toyota has a really out-of-the-basket colour, something like orangey-mustardy-yellow. Presumably it was a bit fresher in 1995. It may not have been all that odd back then: Ford launched the Mondeo in bright yellow (Citrine yellow) and an almost neon orange-red. I have no proof for this: those early cars got scrapped very quickly and the uptake was minimal.
Reportedly, the car was very sensitive to colour and indeed most of them are not seen in the original launch phase colours.
The Peugeot above caught my eye because it had flat green paint. Naturally the interior was dark grey cloth. Norwegians owned it, judging by the license plates. The photo shows dark green bordering on black. In less sharp light (blunter light?) the colour is a mid-to-dark non-metallic green.
Typically this car is in black, metallic light grey and very occasionally dark blue (which suits it). I would very much like to see how this car would be in bronze, orange or indeed that nice copper brown metallic that looked so good on its forebear, the 604.
That brings me to the Arteon seen in Dublin at Easter (2018). Since then I have seen several other VWs sporting the same shade and, futher, this Peugeot 308 estate:
The car is really a bit more yellowy gold than the photo shows. This colour has altered my perception of the car very much. Something similar happened when I saw a c.2005 Audi 6 estate in burgundy metallic recently. Both cars take on a pleasant lushness and a humane warmth that the cold colours never have. That 0.2 mm of coating transforms the vehicles.
I don’t know if it is a literally and figuratively superficial effect or real though. Some say perceptions are reality.
It would seem to me that a car company might want to very seriously look into the effect of colour on brand perceptions. Right now manufacturers are letting leasing firms and cautious customers determine how others see the cars: how we think of Audi, say, is determined to some extent by the colours we generally see. They (the colours) are cold and monochrome and that is how I see Audi. Is that what Audi (and anyone else) wants?
We turn to the last item out of the ragbag, a distinctive car in a distinctive colour. It’s a 2008-2016 Renault Megane coupe (or three-door). Like its peer, the Astra, it’s not at all common. This one is calling out for brightwork, in my view. Dark blue, burgundy, and dark metallic green all go well with brightwork.
If this car was in a bright, flat yellow, white or plain red it could do without. Since there are so few of these cars around, the colour palette must be as idiosyncratic as the buyers. My general perception is that in recent years Renault customers have been more accepting of more interesting colours. I suppose if you want to buy a Renault you are already being a little more willing to accept expressive design.
To conclude: don’t let your customers dictate your brand is perceived. The aggregate colour palette of cars purchased creates a general impression in the public’s mind. If that palette is cold and dull, so then is your brand.