Please don't call me a stylist

Motoring writer Gavin Green (Car Magazine) recounts that the former design boss of Renault, Patrick Le Quement once took issue with a story Green had written in which he, Green, had referred to Le Quement as a stylist when in fact he was a designer.

Gavin Green then goes on to say that there is an important distinction between design and styling. Designers create. Stylists merely make it look good.

A self respecting stylist may take issue with the word "merely", but the fact is that his craft, however demanding, is specific to one discipline while the designer's oevre might encompass the integration of engineering, aerodynamics, ergonomics, general functionality, safety, build process, documentation and servicing just to mention some of the more obvious aspects.

 

However you define design there is a distinction between design and styling that is not made clear in Gavin Green's comments, and that is that design (good design) is invisible as it should be, whereas styling is concrete and quite visible. It can be seen, touched and talked about.

 

I don't pretend to be an authority on Le Quement but I would probably have made the same mistake as Green, that is suggesting he was a stylist. There is no doubting his ability to draw and his love of drawing (his motto is "design equals quality") but most of his recognition came  from setting up and managing one of the most creative and successful car design teams of all time at Renault. The team was 350 people strong. It's unlikely he had time to pick up a pencil and sketch.

 

 

le Quement. Did he dabble in styling?
le Quement. Did he dabble in styling?

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