I’ve always had trouble with the word ‘separate’. My grade 12 English teacher, Ms. Lowry, (yes, she was a Ms., even back then) used to give us spelling tests. No other English teachers at my high school gave spelling tests, especially not in grade 12. We had to take them seriously; they accounted for twenty percent of our final mark.
One particular test irked me. I received a mark of 49 out of 50 on one test, having incorrectly spelled ‘separate’ (I had put ‘seperate’, which even today, appears correct to me). I also remember the person behind me marking my test, as I was marking the test of the person in front of me, etc. Every time I had another correct answer, I could hear him curse under his breath. When it came to ‘separate’, he shouted out in glee that I finally had one wrong. People around us wondered what the fuss was about.
Getting it wrong is far more difficult for auto manufacturers. (See, there was a point to all of this.) Witness the false start of the 2012 Honda Civic, resulting in a hasty remake for the 2013 model year. Designers must serve many masters; their design head, accountants, production managers, engineers, among others, balancing their desire for unique, personal statements in automotive rolling sculpture with the constraints placed on them by their masters.
For this reason, designers will play it safe. Sometimes, it’s to pay homage to another designer’s fine work, other times, they climb aboard the style trend train. No matter what the reason, like changing hemlines and the colour of kitchen appliances, everything goes in cycles.
In this spirit, I’d like to present a few examples of what I’d like to call, ‘Separated at Birth’, where I see some similar trends in designs from marque to marque. Enjoy.