Tuesday, November 17, 2015

University Students Take Radiant Red to School for Inspired Deisgns

By: Keith Nagara, Director, Transportation Design Program at Lawrence Technological University

The color “red” evokes fond memories of the importance of color to vehicles. Although color is a bridging mechanism that can be applied to any product – there are no rules or limitations, except those that, we as designers, impose.  The color spectrum is full and very expressive in all forms of life from plants and animals to the formations of our planet and stars.  Red as a color is intense and energetic, like a flame or solar flare from the sun.  Red is also well represented as one of the four elements: earth, air, FIRE, and water.

 “Radiant Red” Solar flares were first observed on the sun in 1859.

My memory of red goes back to when I was ten and observed my older cousin explaining to our three-year-old relative, holding Hot Wheels cars, that the blue car was faster than the yellow car and the red car was faster than the blue car.  Our three-year-old relative did not understand vehicle segments or brands, to him they were only variants of color palettes.  He interpreted that it was the color of the vehicle that made one model faster versus another.  Being so young, he didn’t understand that it wasn’t the color, but the type of vehicle that determined the relative speed of one car versus another.  Perhaps that also explains that beyond the vehicle brand, it is color that subconsciously impacts our purchasing decisions at a dealership and hence the career of a Color and Material Designer is born.  This was very evident in the early years of the automotive industry, as it is well illustrated in the Axalta Global Automotive Color Popularity Report. 

As the Director of Lawrence Technological University’s Transportation Design and Industrial Design programs, I requested examples of designs that were inspired by the color red from future designers.  The three examples below are from the following talented students:

Matt Scarchilli draws inspiration from fashion to the design of an automotive interior. The design is beyond aesthetics, as it impacts the user experience in the concept.

Illustrated by: Matt Scarchilli

Peter Corey’s passion for motorcycle is illustrated from his inspiration of a red Cardinal. 

Illustrated by: Peter Corey

The final image is from Tyler Rusnak, and he notes that the color red is an “expression of agility” in his design. I would like to circle back to the first sentence and the personal story of red, as we can only conclude this topic with an image of a red sports car – it’s simply radiant!

Illustrated by: Tyler Rusnak

Keith Nagara
Director, Transportation Design Program
Lawrence Technical University

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