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Can’t Kill THIS Bug: Volkswagen and Design

green classic vw beetle ready for summer

Great design is more than symmetry and color, fluid lines and contemporary materials. What separates good design from great design is EXPERIENCE. When good design and function meet in the middle something special happens. What you have is a seemingly ordinary object transformed from one based on a particular end to one intent on instilling emotion.

Examples of design centered experience are all around us. The most common ones we may overlook are car advertisements.  Volkswagen (VW) in particular has done an unparalleled job in creating a consumer buzz around its brand and products. The most iconic car in the world is the Beetle. From its initial public offering in 1947 to today, the Beetle has been pushed as “the people’s car” and a vehicle that is as reliable as it is fun to drive.  With every new iteration, the Beetle line continues to transcend time and taste. In 2012, the new Beetle captured hearts with a mix of retro-familiarity, and a sporty but fresh simplicity. VW managed to make a vehicle that seemed both fun and nostalgic, yet futuristic. With a clever marketing campaign centered around its sleek, smarmy, German-accented Beetle mascot, VW stands a great chance at once again captivating a new driving generation with its iconic cars.

Consumer product design has always taken cues from the automotive industry, and VW’s influence has been widely felt across a number of product categories. The old idea of selling focused on superiority of products by emphasizing data and durability. This approach isn’t inherently wrong, but it’s difficult to increase customer base without creating an emotional response in the consumer. Volkswagen’s Beetle has helped turn the idea of a product into something fun, unique, and desirable, despite the fact that there really isn’t anything different going on under the hood. This little car with an engine and four wheels continues to tantalize and delight and will undoubtedly make us stop and declare, “Hey look, a bug!”

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