Since their recent television appearances, Richard Seymour and Dick Powell have been known as the bra men. If you didn’t see the series you must surely have heard about it at least the episode where the product designers set about redesigning the bra. Richard Seymour was one of the judges at this year’s British Steel Automotive Awards run in conjunction with the Motor Show and in his after-dinner speech at the award ceremony he shared some interesting thoughts.
Seymour was confident that the motor industry was reclaiming national and brand identities tripping a narrow line between ‘the skillful re-interpretation of authentic character and sentimental retro pastiche’. But he warned the industry about another more subtle issue which he calls Emotional Ergonomics the art of studying the importance of the unimportant.
Seymour explained, ‘A few years ago a friend of mine decided to buy a BMW. He gave the usual reasons for selecting this particular vehicle over others in its class: the brand, the specification, the looks and the machismo. I pushed him further, to try and find what had really swung the decision. He blushed and muttered, ‘I just love the way the interior light fades, rather than just going ‘pop’. Now, we’re looking at a few pence on several thousand quid’s worth of steel and polymer. But these touches mean things. They tell us eloquently how much the manufacturer cares about us.’
Seymour touched upon other key issues of automotive design, but he got really into his stride on the quest for quality.
‘Consumers expect the quality of the objects they use every day to improve year on year. Yet we all know the increasing pressure that exists within industry to reduce costs year on year. This is great news, because it throws the designer and engineer together to solve what often appear to be insuperable, conflicting problems, rather than the designer merely presenting the engineer with problems to solve. Mercifully gone are the days when the engineer saw the designer as a poncy git in a pink tie and the designer saw the engineer as a grunt with a pathological aversion to change.