Leave Nothing Possible Undone!
Mercedes-Benz's brand image is strongly influenced by the design of its products. Klaus Frenzel, Director of Digital Graphic & Corporate Design, explains which emotional needs and wants have an effect and how the Actros models and Maybach are connected.
Mr. Frenzel, what inspires you when designing vehicles?
Frenzel: First and foremost, vehicles embody movement and power. There is something sensual about this. This sensuality is expressed in moving lines, vibrant forms and “flow”. Anything that moves powerfully therefore acts as inspiration: water, air, aircraft, yachts, animals.
A vehicle is a product of our everyday life, meaning that it is also always part of a holistic system, part of a lifeworld that I understand as my own. I perceive this world as being aesthetic, I want to feel a sense of well-being there and I want to showcase it. As a result, we move into the worlds of fashion, design in the broader sense art, and culture in general. And we grapple with fundamental questions: “What’s in? In other words: What’s hot? What’s cool”?
Cars have an emotional effect on people. Which human needs and wants do you think about when you are developing a new design?
Frenzel: Bringing joy to our daily lives. Sparking curiosity. But also the need to discover something of exceptional aesthetic value, something unprecedented and exciting. These are the emotional, unexpected moments that we want to create. That’s the wow effect that design can unleash.
In addition, a lasting sense of well-being still lies at a deeper level: the definition of the vehicle as living space, a “third place,” a safe haven for me alone. Or as a space for communication that I share with friends or my family. In any case, it is a place where I can concentrate on what is important to me personally. As a place of tranquility and relaxation or a place of networking, of social media, as a place of state-of-the-art digital worlds that are there for me to enjoy. We talk about “user delight.”
These are the emotional, unexpected moments
that we want to create. That's the wow effect
that design can unleash.
A Mercedes-Benz car is a very different vehicle from one of the brand’s trucks. As the Design unit of Mercedes-Benz, to what extent do you establish a connection between the vehicle variants?
Frenzel: From the A-Class to the Actros models, from the GT to the Maybach – to name just a few cornerstones – the exceptional diversity of products is what makes our Mercedes-Benz so attractive! As different and separate as they are in terms of character, all the products have something in common, something that connects them: the core values of the brand. These are expressed in the bipolarities of emotion and intelligence.
We enable these twin polarities to be experienced in an emotional way through our own design idiom of Sensual Purity. With clear, reduced but modeled forms, this concept results in the maximum number of moments of sensuality. This Mercedes-Benz design philosophy applies to all products of the brand – from cars to commercial vehicles, from Mercedes-Benz Style products to our digital presence.
All the products have something in common, something that connects them:
the core values of the brand.
These are expressed in the bipolarities
of emotion and intelligence.
How do you make sure that your ideas on paper can actually be implemented in practice?
Frenzel: The “idea on paper” is just one stage in the product development process. There are a number of iterative process steps before and after that. Designers, engineers, programmers, experts from production, testing, marketing and many other units work closely together here in large teams to find the optimal solution.