Ian Callum Explains What Makes Jaguar Design so Unique

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Jaguar Ian Callum

Jaguar designer admits difficulties in making modern cars beautiful. But he’s still optimistic for the future.

Design is one of the most important, if not the most important element(s) in the automotive world. No matter what anybody tells you, buying a car is an emotional experience. As humans, we’re drawn to certain vehicles based on how they look. Not to mention how we interpret that particular car’s unique design. It’s every bit as true today as it was decades ago. And yet, few automakers so masterfully crank out beautifully designed cars like Jaguar.

So what’s the secret to building dozens of beautiful cars over the course of several decades? As legendary designer Ian Callum recently explained to GQ, it’s a delicate balancing act. Callum notes that a proper Jaguar needs to possess “a sense of excitement,” but also “a sense of exaggeration.” Those unique traits can be traced all the way back to Sir William Lyons, and they’re still present today.

Jaguar I-Pace

It sounds simple, but combining exaggeration and beauty requires careful thought. “Then there has to be a balance between muscularity and sensuality,” Callum explains. “A Jaguar can be assertive, but it can never be vulgar. It has a masculinity and a femininity to it. It’s a difficult balance to achieve, without ending up creating a car that looks too aggressive, too cute or simply indifferent.”

 

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This is especially true today when safety regulations and the unique proportions of electric vehicles like the I-PACE make design more challenging. “Exaggeration, in 2017, is difficult: it’s done by degrees. We push for every millimeter, because that’s all that we have left to play with now. If you take the generic numbers that we’re given to produce a car, you’ll end up with a shape that’s almost exactly the same as everything else. So what we try to do is push it slightly away from that, by exaggerating a line here or there.”

Jaguar I-Pace

Despite this, Callum feels like the best is yet to come. “The sports car or supercar as we know it now might become a weekend toy, more of an overt entertainment, so we can take that to extremes. The perfect Jaguar? Well, it may not have been done yet.”

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