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[Interview with the designer of YesAuto] When buying expensive and easy-to-use products, people often say: there is no money to spend! This sentence strongly expresses the recognition of the correctness of one's own consumption. The reason why people are willing to spend higher prices to buy products is also because of their excellent product attributes. Among them, “face value” is a very important product attribute. The high-value products are not cheap, and the cheap ones are ugly. If you want a product with high-value products, it is possible to spend more money. But where is the money? In other words, where did the beauty you bought come from? What should we do when there is a conflict between innovation and classic style? Chang Bing, the designer who is going to talk about this issue of the Design Hall of Fame, will answer this question for us with his experience and opinions.

“Good-looking” costs a lot of money: talent and technical support

Good design must come from the hands of high-value talents. During the live broadcast of the National Day military parade on October 1 this year, the big guys in our editorial department launched a life experience quiz activity on the new Hongqi review car in the circle of friends. Finally, Chang Bing, who was the designer of Hongqi Motors, announced the answer-based on Hongqi. L5 is lengthened.

The car that bears the responsibility of the national image must be top-notch in appearance, and the appearance and interior of this red flag review car is the responsibility of his team, which is also his proud work.

To become the design leader of the review car, Chang Bing is undoubtedly the top student in the domestic designer community. Chang Bing has been keen on disassembling and assembling toy cars and installing motors on them since he was a child. In junior high school, he spent sleepless nights and immersed himself in “Friends of Cars”. When he arrived in high school, various domestic cars such as Hongqi and Beijing 212 became the design graffiti in his exercise book. After that, Chang Bing got his wish and was admitted to the Department of Industrial Design (Auto Body) of the Automotive Engineering College of Jilin University and graduated in 2001.

The former Jilin University of Technology (founded in 1955) is now a part of it. Jilin University of Technology used to be the undisputed first university of automotive engineering in New China, and Rao Bin, the founder of China’s automobile industry and the director of Changchun No. 1 Automobile Manufacturing Plant. Was the first dean. FAW is in Changchun, and Jilin University of Technology is FAW's main automotive talent cradle.

When Chang Bing enrolled in Chang Bing, the School of Automotive Engineering of Jida already had a series of important domestic first-class R&D centers, such as the automobile dynamic simulation laboratory, the wind tunnel key laboratory, and the body laboratory. The total value of the experimental facilities was nearly 200 million yuan. After graduation, Chang Bing entered the styling design department of FAW Group Technology Center and officially started his career as an automobile designer. In that era, entering a strong state-owned enterprise after graduation was the dream of most high-achieving students.

In the 14 years of FAW, Chang Bing has gradually grown into the chief designer of the Hongqi brand. The shapes of Hongqi L9, Hongqi L5, Hongqi H7 and Bestune B30 are all his works. In 2015, Chang Bing left Hongqi and became the director of BAIC New Energy Design Center until he left in 2018.

In the 14 years of FAW, Chang Bing has gradually grown into the chief designer of the Hongqi brand. The shapes of Hongqi L9, Hongqi L5, Hongqi H7 and Bestune B30 are all his works. In 2015, Chang Bing left Hongqi and became the director of BAIC New Energy Design Center, responsible for the brand design of BAIC Saab until he left in 2018.

The middle age of others is a crisis, but here in Chang Bing it is in the prime of life. From the chief designer of FAW Hongqi to the design director of BAIC New Energy, and then joining Hezhong Automobile in 2018 as the vice president and general manager of the design center, Chang Bing has climbed up his career as an automobile designer.

Good design needs technical support

Chang Bing's climb stems from his pursuit of good design. For designers, it may not be that difficult to design a good-looking car, but it is difficult to design a car that can be built. If the technology does not support or the cost is too high, the design is a fantasy.

Many people have a misunderstanding about technology-new technology must be transformed into commodities. A big mistake, the conversion of new technology to practical applications (especially industrial manufacturing) is quite difficult, otherwise battery technology would have replaced internal combustion technology.

New technologies need to be transformed by designers, so designers must have sufficient understanding of manufacturing technology. If the manufacturing plant is a cake shop, then the designer must understand the kitchen utensils in his kitchen when designing the recipe. If you want to make a pizza, you must have an oven. If you want to make a chiffon cake, you must have a useful mold, and the oven temperature should be accurate. No, can the Chiffon mold be demolded? If you want to make fondant, it is obviously unrealistic to rely on the tools of the dough maker.

It is impossible for a designer to sway on a blank canvas like a painter. The design plan needs to be challenged by many departments. A simple car body line is likely to be too complicated for the current technology to achieve.

“Early mass-produced cars look very round or straight, with fewer body lines and fewer turning changes. This is because of the limitations of stamping technology.” Chang Bing said, “In order to reduce costs, mass-produced cars cannot be like high-end customization. Like a car, the more complicated the shape of a sheet is, the more troublesome the stamping process will be.”

Why is the shape of the car now more and more fierce? In addition to people's love for the sense of movement and security brought by the aggressive appearance, to a large extent it is the sense of luxury brought by the improvement of stamping technology. A seemingly simple waistline is not as simple as you think. Its slight changes in direction contain technical difficulties that you can't imagine.

Friends who have read the “Factory Strategy” column of Autohome may be more familiar. In the automotive stamping workshop, there are multiple stamping machines on the stamping production line, and a steel plate needs to be stamped many times before it can be formed. Yes, the shape of the various parts of the car body we have seen is not formed at one time, but needs to be stamped sequentially through multiple dies and gradually formed.

“The more complex the shape, the more processes are required, and the more costs naturally increase.” Chang Bing explained. “In the past, there were many four-sequence modules. In recent years, newly-built factories generally have five-sequence modules. The more luxurious ones are six-sequence or even seven-sequence modules.” The so-called five-sequence or six-sequence mode can be simply understood as the need to go through 5 Or the processing of 6 stamping stations. In the eyes of industry insiders, the lines created by some six-order molds are just a show of skill.

Tesla's Cybertruck is a typical example. When we asked Chang Bing for his views on the styling of this car, he showed a meaningful smile like many of the designers asked before, and then bypassed the topic. The designer's slightly teased response was very ridiculous. Easy to understand.

Yes, 50 years back. In the 1970s and 1980s, the main reason why angular-style cars became popular around the world was that the steel stamping technology at that time was not enough to stamp out the softer lines and arcs of today. With the development of stamping technology, it has gradually developed a smooth and round shape that pursues line proportions, light and dark transitions, and aerodynamics.

It takes time to look good

Chinese people like to say: Good things are hard to come by. Beauty is always worth waiting for a while, and it often does take more time. Many famous paintings were handed down by painters over several years or even more than ten years. For example, “Mona Lisa” took Da Vinci 4 years, “The Manifestation of Christ” took the longest time, used by Alexander Ivanov It took 13 years to complete. Not to mention the time it takes to build a high-value and popular car.

Automobile manufacturing is inherently a matter that requires huge resources and N multi-departmental teamwork. From the beginning of the project, it is necessary to find out the preferences and needs of the target consumer group, and then according to the product concept description, the designers start to draw the concept map, and then cooperate with the engineering department, cost control department, review and even parts suppliers ( chǎo) as (jià), let the blurry concept car slowly move closer to the production car. In this process, it is a difficult journey from ideal to reality.

Chang Bing said that the period for a major international manufacturer with a mature process system to build a new model is generally 4-5 years. In order to survive, Chinese brands have a much faster pace, and designers naturally have a heavier burden. But this is helpless. If Chinese car companies and Chinese designers do not work hard, it is impossible for our car manufacturing industry and car design to quickly learn and catch up in just a dozen years and achieve today's results.

Of course, this process is also a process of scouring the sand. Under the fast-growing market demand, the design is not perfect. It can be a phased transition strategy, but it must not last forever. Some Chinese brands are unable to keep up or are satisfied with this. The maturing market and increasingly picky consumers will not allow it, and designers with professional ethics and pursuits will also leave. For Chinese brands to truly mature and create excellent designs, they still need a complete process system, and designers need to be given enough time.

Chang Bing said that a designer is a semi-artistic profession. Designers cannot and are not allowed to think about problems and build products like engineers. Therefore, we often hear the design teams of major international car companies talk about tourism, life and art when they preach design ideas. It sounds like a group tour group building, but it is actually necessary to maintain an innovative atmosphere and find inspiration. Seeing natural beauty, visiting historical buildings, and participating in art exhibitions are all to get an explosion of aesthetic thinking amidst the stimulation of the beauty.

Take time for people to accept

The beauty of automobile design is market-oriented and must cater to the needs of consumers. However, as a semi-artistic designer, it cannot completely cater to the market. Creating products that the public likes and needs is fundamental, and leading the trend is what we really want to pursue. It's not just designers who think so, but car company executives do the same.

After all, consumers with varying breadth and depth of knowledge often may not know what they really like and want. At this time, designers need to discover and lead. Once it succeeds, it leads the trend and has a certain market voice and initiative. Leading and innovation have always been things with a very low success rate, and high returns are naturally accompanied by high risks.

What is good-looking, there is actually no eternal big standard. Chang Bing said that many of the classic designs we see now are actually considered wrong before its birth, because the predecessors have not done it, until someone breaks the convention and does it beautifully enough, and slowly is accepted by people. Become a beautiful classic.

to sum up:

It is not difficult to be a designer. The hard part is to be a good designer, and even more difficult is to design good products. After all, art is different from product. Art is self and product is social. Although the design of the product cannot be completely left to the designer Tianma Xingkong, because it is very likely to create a product that is highly aesthetic but unsellable, but excessive participation without professional and aesthetic capabilities may ruin the design. This is a game. The victory of any party may be the failure of the product. Only if the product wins, the failure of any party does not matter.