Facing your Car

Mattijs
June 12th 2011

Do cars have a face? You would be inclined to say yes immediately. And you would be right as well, because they do. Study has confirmed through a complex statistical analysis that many people see human facial features in the front end of automobiles and ascribe various personality traits to cars — a modern experience driven by our prehistoric psyches.

Designers have realized this for a long time; a lot of thought goes into designing the face of the car. It's an important element of the design process. As Chris Bangle — former design director of the BWM Group Munich — puts it in the recent documentary Objectified: 'You, as a person, can have lots of different faces, but with a car, you can only have one face. When you put on that face, it's there forever. It becomes the cars expression.'

And people are very picky when it comes to choosing a car they will be driving daily for the next couple of years. 'Cars are kind of like avatars, they're a representative of ourselves', says Bangle. 'You know, I show myself to the outside world through this car.'

It's no mere coincidence that the rounded Volkswagen Beetle looks so cute you want to hug it, or that the BMW headlights in your rear mirror are saying 'Get out of the way or I'll run you over.' Cars' faces tend to show the personality of the car. If it's a performance car, it should look like that. If it's a cheap ecological car, it's appearance should reflect that as well. This is not only the skill of the designer, but also has a strong scientific base.

Dennis Slice—an associate professor who was closely involved with the study of Cars' faces—says: 'The most unique aspect of the study was that we were able to quantitatively link the perception of cars to aspects of their physical structure in a way that allows us to generate a car that would project, say, aggression, anger or masculinity or the opposite traits.'

Will car customization take extreme forms in the (near) future? Will we end up sending along a picture of ourselves when ordering a car, so that the head- and taillights, as well as the logo and the license plates, can be modeled after our very own face? Why not, we already get to choose most of the cars appearance, so customizing it's face only seems natural...

Share your thoughts and join the technology debate!

 

Comments are members only. Login to your account and join the technology debate.

LOGIN
Not a member? Join us

Arnoud van den Heuvel
Posted 28/12/2009 – 16:47

@Peter Goes: I disagree. The movie "Cars" doesn't use cars "faces" at all. It uses the car-windows for the eyes, along with fake eyelids and pupils. Probably to be free to give the car-toons every expression needed. A poor choice in my opinion.

Peter Goes
Posted 28/12/2009 – 06:10

As a child noticed the faces on cars. I always have been fascinated by them.
I think that the people at Pixar mastered the art of car facial creation as well in their move "Cars".

Cr0ne
Posted 27/11/2009 – 12:46

And I thought I was the only one! I used to see facial features in everything as a kid-- that's why those recent Credit-Card (Or Investment Bank?) Commercials with the "sad/happy" little objects makes me so giddy.
I remember seeing my little over-drape thing (the little pocket of drapes that go above your window) as a totem pole.
Guess that's why I'm in art school. Lulululs.

load more

Should men be able to give birth to children?


Joyce Nabuurs: To me this question seems to be a logical next step in the emancipation movement of the past century. More and more women entered the workspace, but the responsibility for pregnancy and childrearing remained female.

Comment
Already a member? Login.