You can probably imagine that when they begin designing the next BMW, they do more than iterate the current version. A group of more than one hundred designers sketch out their own version of the car, which is then narrowed down to four designs that will be made into scale models. Two of those make it to the next stage, at which point a final design is chosen.
This process is explained by Karim Habib, head BMW designer, in an interview with Medium.
“From the very beginning, we start looking at proportions again. Before we even start drawing, we start looking at height, width, length, wheel size, overhang size in front and the rear, all of the important proportion things. If the proportions are wrong, nothing can save it.”
It’s this emphasis on proportion that makes typography such an important part of basic design curriculum. A related article called “The Typography of Speed” explains the way that the perfect proportions of letters lend themselves to car design. Without the correct proportion, letters might not be legible. Without the correct proportion, cars cannot become ultimate driving machines.
“In car design, just a few millimeters actually really make a difference. As odd as it sounds, it is true,” says Habib. He stresses the importance of engineering and digital representations to the design process of modern BMWs, and he speaks at length about the process behind the 4 Series. The feature also touches on the alluring Vision Future Luxury, shown earlier this year in Beijing.
We encourage you to read both “The Millimeter Difference” and “The Typography of Speed,” both available on Medium. They give excellent insight into the formative stages of a BMW model, as well as the overall character of the brand. After reading, if you wish to see or test-drive one of these premium vehicles for yourself, we welcome you to visit Leith BMW, your local BMW dealer in Raleigh.