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Soul Searching

Every nuance of a car's design expresses its personality or soul—just as people do— through a "body language" of facial expressions, gestures, and postures I call empathic expression. In the same way we sense whether a person is relatively happy or sad by their facial expressions and other aspects of body language, we sense a car’s mood and personality by the expression of its grille and all other aspects of its form. We not only sense it, we feel it to some extent and evaluate it.


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Boo! Scary Design

2000 (Gen 1) Honda Insight

2004 (Gen 2) Toyota Prius

Why do so many people think Honda’s first-generation (Gen 1) Insight of 2000 and Toyota’s Gen 2 Prius of 2004 are weird or downright ugly? Look no further than that word “ugly,” which comes from a guttural growl of an Old Norse word, uggligr, meaning fearful; an ugly car literally scares us.

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The Arts & Crafts Taxi

New York City officials recently chose two finalists from the mayor’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition to replace the ubiquitous Ford Crown Victoria that will no longer be produced: a Nissan minivan and Ford package delivery truck, each modified to suit it to taxi duty. I’m guessing that New Yorkers expected something designed from the pavement up to be a taxi, however, capable of rising to the iconic status of those inelegant but sturdy and roomy Checkers of long ago. It might have been more like the diesel-powered prototype designed 39 years ago by automotive design students at the Art School of the Society of Arts and Crafts. Founded in 1926 to foster the Arts and Crafts movement, the school is now known as the College for Creative Studies (CCS) and globally renowned for its outstanding automotive design alumni.

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