Musings of an Aussie design strategist gone North

Quote of the Day


“Car designers need to create a story. Every car provides an opportunity to create an adventure.” 

Freeman Thomas

I couldn’t agree more. There are so many concept and production cars these days that fail to stir the emotions simply because there is no story to help us or, indeed, their designers fall in love with them. For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Freeman is the mind behind some of the most iconic cars of the late 20th century, namely the VW New Beetle, which he co-penned with J Mays, and the original Audi TT. The article from which the quote was pulled provides a wonderful insight into the mind of a fellow car nut and his take on car design past, present and future. This is a man I would love to meet.


Design – Freeman Thomas | Fast Company found via VisualCulture


Filed under: Branding, Car, Design, Design Strategy, Philosophy, Quotes, Things I like

5 Responses

  1. Moose says:

    In light of Freeman’s work, shouldn’t that read: “Car Designers need to continue a story. Every car provides an opportunity to continue an adventure.” ? Creating new stories is exciting, but surely should only be indulged in intermittently by designers of a brand. Creating the ongoing story that the consumer identifies with and adopts as their own will be the greater driver of brand loyalty, no?

  2. drewpasmith says:

    It’s funny you mention this Moose. Driving home last night I started to think it’s even more challenging to create new stories that we can believe in as opposed to continuing old ones.

    Freeman certainly had the benefit of history behind him, directly with the New Beetle and it’s relationship to the original, and indirectly through Audi’s remarkable racing history with the TT. In a sense he only needed to update the story to enchant a new generation of people (this does not diminish what he has achieved by any stretch).

    Coming up with an enchanting story as you develop a brand new car with no historical precedent? That’s going to take some inspirational creative writing skills!

  3. Moose says:

    New stories are harder? Yes I agree. But too many will discombobulate (to quote Sia) the consumer and leave them wondering what their brand (and therefore they) really stand for. It’s a high wire act on the part of the manuafacturer I guess as to how many new stories to create over time, and to ensure they don’t undermine other existing stories about the brand that are important (classic example of this undermining is that sporty chavvy Range Rover).

  4. […] produced highly efficient, intelligent cars that intended to mobilise the masses. And as I’ve mentioned previously, having a great story is half the battle in getting people to fall in love with a new product. […]

  5. […] Post script: My choice for Detroit Chief Cultural Officer? Freeman Thomas. […]

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© Andrew Philip Artois Smith and DownsideUpDesign, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Andrew/Drew Smith and DownsideUpDesign with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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