Thursday, January 10, 2008

Exploration of Car Design - Chapter 4 - Design Creation (Continued)

(What you read in this post is a working draft of our newest plans... Give us your feedback and check back for updates and refinements)

As I disclosed in Chapter 1 of this series. We are running an open source competition for the body design of each of our Local Motors’ models. In contrast to projects such as OSCAR or other more complex open source projects like the MIT Vehicle Design Summit VDS 2.0, this is pure exterior design excitement. If you trust us to deliver the perfect chassis and performance experience, then we will trust you to deliver the packaging. Deal?

No dealerships.

No big-company speak.

No holds barred.

Just you, us, and our future vehicle.

If you can dream it and win it, then Local Motors will make it, we all can buy it and fall in love with US wheels all over again.

We know that this designing may sound tough at first. But we have a number of thoughts and props to ease you, our designer team, into the process.

- The Inspiration - We will give you a good start with the basic specs and inspiration for the first platform.
*In what Town and State the vehicle will be launched. This is critical as Local Motors is all about designing a product for each geographic location. Each design should be liberally infused with inspiration from the local geography, economy, topography, climate, fashion, sensibility, politics, etc.
*Functional description of capabilities (the good stuff – how far, how fast, how lean, how strong)
*Wheel base
*Track width
*Engine Placement and Discplacement (i.e. where and how big)
*Max passenger capacity (plan for the family)
*Some cool stuff that has inspired us to launch this first product (colors, music, pictures, and yes…even other vehicle designs)

- Easy entry - Just sketch it! In the end you will have to deliver the Computer Aided Design file (CAD to you trans jocks), but let’s keep it to the raw inspiration at first. We will give you two weeks in each competition to deliver this sketch. Let the inspiration rule and give us your best. You can only enter one design per competition, but don’t worry, there will be more chances every couple of weeks.

- Check-up - Don’t worry, you are not alone. We here to assist you as you go through the design process. Whenever you have a question as to whether your submission meets the basic criteria, send it in for a Check-up, and we will be happy to give you feedback. In this critique we pledge not to make any value-judgment on your work. We value each of your submissions and are not worthy of commenting on your vision before the community has had a chance to say its peace. What the Check-up is meant for is to make certain your submission meets all of the basic criteria so it is not thrown out on a technicality after all of your hard work.

- The Community - Even though we are always here to assist, more importantly, the world of designers, builders, engineers, artists, and car lovers are at you beck-and-call to critique, shape, and improve your idea. In order for this group of helpers to work as best as possible for you, we will fix your design from updates or changes once you have submitted it, so everyone can have a chance to review and comment on the same design.

So here is the roadmap for how you will mix-it-up when we launch:

A – Read the Competition description on our website. This is where you will get all of the basic information to set your mind on fire.

B – Download our Local Motors Design Ignition Kit. This will give you all the information you need to know to submit your design.

*Templates for thumbs and primary entry renderings
*Guidelines for entry (format, size, etc.)
*Guidelines for what you will need if you win (Even if you are not a winner just yet, this is critical to read. If you win you will be given the opportunity to “finish” your design sketch and convert it into 3D CAD if it is not already. This will give you the basics on what will be required at that stage. After all, we are in the business of building this car and we need you to do your part. If you are a designer, but do not have the necessary CAD skills or software, reading this ahead of time will allow you to find a teammate who can help you with this part…get ready to share your winnings.)

C – (Optional) Send us your design for a “Check-up”. This is not mandatory, but it might help your design not to get thrown out on a technicality. (We try our hardest to be open to everything, but in order to bring this Local Motors experience to you, we need some help to keep the submissions within a format we can handle. So if you plan to submit your latest caveman sketch on rawhide with charred wood shading, please choose the bronze age car company competitions ☺).

D – Drum Roll……..SUBMIT. Send your design downrange and let the community go to work. Submit - this sounds like a nasty word, and it should if you look at the etymology “from L. submittere "to yield, lower, let down, put under, reduce”. Though the old latin is pretty demeaning, we prefer to look at the verb for its mid 1500’s definition “refer to another for consideration”. And that is what you will be doing. That is mid-1500’s lingo for “Web 2.0”.

E – Watch the community at work. Call it “going back to studio”. “Having your own showing”. “Standing for critique”. “Getting a grade”. “Receiving an award”. For the remainder of the competition time, you will be able to receive, digest, and make comments on your work (and on others). You will also be able to vote liberally (no stuffing the ballot box, please). Please note, though you will be able to see and make comments, all scoring will be disguised until completion of the competition to keep voters from following the herd.

F – Win fame, bragging rights, $cash$, prizes, and earn a berth in the semi-annual final competition where you will submit a finished rendering of your sketch along with 12 other winners to compete for the Grand Prize of having your car built.

This is NOT a joke. If you win, we pay, and you get a chance to see your car on the road. Don’t try to compare this to anything you have seen before, because it simply hasn’t been done. Come on and join us!