THE SECOND COMING
In the music world it is said that the second album is the hardest, as the expectation is greater following a successful first album. This same great expectation is also true of the design world, whether it’s the next super car, laptop, or entertainment system, the follow up product can make or break a company.
Let’s take a look at some design icons and the follow-ups.
It is classed as the most beautiful car design of all time. The Citroen DS is a design classic that really does have all the touches, proportion, grace and detail that the worlds most beautiful should have and unlike some earlier Citroens it had the build and engineering to back up the gorgeous design. It had the whole package which is probably why it’s a classic design icon and so many are still being driven today.
What Came Next: The GS, which has a resemblance to the DS but has not been carried out in the same well styled design of it’s predecessor. The BX, Xantia and C5 are uniquely Citroen designs but have not been able to recreate the same stunning DS design and maybe this is why Citroen have chosen not to copy and dilute the brand with the new DS range.
20 years after its release the McLaren F1 is still held in high regard as a motoring marvel. Ignoring the million dollar price tag, I think the usability of three seats, large luggage space, suspension that moves and a wonderful timeless super car design all make this a complete vehicle. From an engineering point it’s all the little details that make it a truely iconic car. The new suspension system, the gold leaf, machined aircraft grade aluminium it’s all there in every detail of each part, which is an amazing feat for a production vehicle.
What Came Next: The new MP4-12C personally falls a long way short of the same iconic design status. Yes it’s nice but not truly breathtaking in its proportions or design language.
The 1994 Tamburini designed Ducati 916 was a modern classic in design which has powered Ducati ever since. The design influence can be seen in the modern MV Agusta’s and the current 1098 Ducati. It was the clean simple lines with the thin headlamps above the air intakes flowing back into the single sided swingarm and duel underseat exhausts that made it the icon that it is.
The 916 was so iconic that the exhaust can be seen on most modern sports bikes today and the swingarm is the first thing to appear on a streetfighter builders shopping list.
What Came Next: The 999 designed by Pierre Terblanche tread’s a fine line of following the design theme of the 916 without just copying it. Unfortunately it was not loved by the fans even though sales were good.
The 1998 iMac G3 was something new to the computing world. A computer that was not a grey or black box and instead used brightly coloured plastics in an all in one design that really did bring the name Apple into household vocabulary.
What Came Next: Unlike other companies, Apple continued their quirky, bold designs with the 2002 iMac which did away with the box design and grabbed plenty of attention with some clever commercials. Although the latest iMac is sleek, well built and fits perfectly into the Apple brand, compared to it’s predecessors, it has lost some of it’s unique design flare, but perhaps this is because the whole Apple brand has moved to a much more clean, architectural, straight lined design. Is this a good thing? We’ll we love Apple products and they are very stylish and fit into everyones lifestyle but are they iconic?
Of course there are many companies that decide not to move their design forward but stay in the same mold, the biggest sinner being Porsche.
The 911 has been produced in almost the same design since 1963. Yes its now smoother, bigger, faster but the design has never really moved forward. The 1997 996 version tried to move the design theme forward but was quickly moved back to the older design language.
Personally I think one of the best companies to show continual movement of the design language with always being recognisable as there own product is Bang and Olufsen. Styled and manufactured to a very high standard they are always a B&O product, just look at the BeoSound 9000 from 1996 and the BeoCentre 3300 from 1977.
A good design language that can evolve and change with time only goes to reiterate the brand.
Images from Car Body Design, Sport Car Zone, Wikicars, Super Cars, Automobile Mag, Ducati News Today, Gallery Motorcycle, iMac World, Every Mac, EDTEC, Diario Motor, Automobile News, Beoworld and Lauritz.