Understanding Automotive Design - Part 1

Basics of automotive design

Almost every little boy grows up doodling and attempting to draw cars, anywhere they can run a pencil or pen. Starting with the walls of their rooms, their notebooks, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, printer-pages, tissue papers, desks, etc., are all eventually exposed to the functioning side of the sketching tool.

Cars have been among the most prevalent human possessions ever since they came into existence, and almost all interactive and informative forms of media have in one way or the other, emphasized their worth in various ways. Advertisements have portrayed cars as ultimate lifestyle products from the very beginning, highlighting the social status and personal image they bring to their owner. Movies have brought a certain amount of glamour to cars, and those like the fast and furious franchise and the bond series have raised the bar of their sex appeal higher than ever. The last half-century has been about exploring the design and styling aspect of cars. Several contenders have got recognition for some of the most extreme and unconventional offerings that the world has ever seen.

Every teenager with a driver’s license and a certain amount of money fantasizes about customizing their car in a unique way that reflects their persona. The whole concept of customization has been to suit one’s visual and functional needs from their vehicle. The last few decades have brought back the era of beautiful looking cars that began with the likes of Bertone, Giugiaro, Gandini and Pininfarina.

There are more cars in the world than ever and have entire movies, television series and websites dedicated to their design and customizations. There are art colleges and institutes that have exclusive courses on the study and exploration of automotive design. Car designers have started getting the recognition that most of them never got in the past, and this is changing the way that the world looks at the realm of automotive design. They have started making appearances in print and on social media to talk about their designs and the inspirations behind them. Those fortunate enough to be able to sit and draw cars all day long while getting paid for it have inspired countless young men and women to pursue this line as a career and push their boundaries of creating ideas and concepts on paper, and transforming them into reality.

To be able to think of design forms for cars and motorcycles, it is essential to understand them, their dimensions, proportions, function and practicality. Ergonomics is a term that has been more and more incorporated in good design over these last few decades. It defines the new era of optimizing form with function, merging the two seamlessly into each other.

One should go down to their local dealers under the pretext of exploring cars to buy and take their time and opportunity to observe them from every visible angle possible. It is also very lucrative to attend automotive shows and displays of all kinds. Vintage car rallies, car launches, product showcases and events as such, provide a clearer understanding of how far our automobiles have journeyed in terms of form and function.

While car manufacturing began at the end of the eighteen hundreds, it wasn’t until the early nineteen hundreds, that styling and design earned their place in companies. Once they discovered the attention and importance of design, manufacturers began setting up entire divisions dedicated to styling, eventually including colour and trims in them.

This is where the difference between engineering drawing and concept sketching materialized. The design was no longer limited to just schematics, layouts, and blueprints; it included these in an elaborate process that began with ideation.

This brings us to where the journey of automotive design begins. Like all developments, automotive design and conceptualization come from both common and uncommon sources of inspirations. It is imperative to understand the difference between casual doodling, drawing and sketching. Doodling is putting both clear and unclear ideas and thoughts on paper. As our thoughts begin to take form, the doodles become drawings. Drawing generally does not take aspects like proportions, dimensions, light and shade and perspective into consideration. The picture is simply the representation of elaborate ideas, shapes and forms on paper.

Sketching, however, is a slightly more focused process. It requires concentration and complete collaboration between one’s pilot hand and mind, to bring to paper, the ideas and thoughts brewing in one’s head. Sketching requires patience, focus and a steady hand. To be able to sketch freely and confidently, it is crucial to building coordination between the brain and the dominant hand. It also requires a certain amount of practice and tools that enable one to pour out the shapes and surfaces that come to mind, more effectively on paper. The only thing one needs to begin sketching, is a sheet of paper or a sketchbook, a pencil or a pen, and a fresh mind.

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Understanding Automotive Design - Part 1
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Understanding Automotive Design - Part 1
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For those who are passionate about cars must have thought of designing and customizing their own car at one point of time. In this article, we bring you the basics of automotive design and the difference between engineering drawing and sketching.
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