You Are What You Drive: The Personality and Personas of Cars

When I logged into the WordPress earlier today, one of the “Freshly Pressed” posts was by a photographer Morgan Wiltshire.  Wiltshire posted some of her photos and had this to say about photography in general: “It is the viewer, as much as it is the artist, who decides what it is they are seeing [in a photo].  A mood, a story or even the light can change how we feel about what we are looking at,” and Sean Hall’s final chapter in This Means This, This Means That, “Stories and Storytelling,” explores… storytelling in visuals.

Hall claims that at one time, “there was thought to be an art of reading character from faces” (162).  That art is still put into practice today, not only in our everyday lives, but also in films and objects.  Hall uses the Volkswagen Beetle as a “classic example of how character and persona might be read into an object” (162).  As the proud owner of a very cute, and very blue, VW Bug, I was interested in what the designers used as inspiration for the car’s overall look.

Designers used the characteristics of human and nonhuman babies for inspiration; “Human babies have rounded features, prominent foreheads, tiny noses, large eyes, and short chins […] These features were mimicked in the VW Beetle, with the curves of its body, the large round lights, and the smoothness of its detailing. And it is this form of styling that helps to explain the feelings of affection we have for it” (162).

Isn’t it so cute! This is the older model, the one that I have, but they have recently released a newer model, which ironically is a combination of the Herbie the Love Bug model and the model above.

What is your car’s personality? MSNBC released an article in 2009 that further investigated this phenomenon. Check it out here!

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This entry was written by juliannalopez and published on February 9, 2012 at 3:57 pm. It’s filed under Semiotics and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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