This COTD took a little longer to write because I got this picture of a bunch of Audis and then tried to identify all of them. It's all because of Doug DeMuro. He's right: it's impossible to tell Audis apart these days. Many manufacturers are bad at this, but Audi's range of sedans constantly stumps me.
Come to think of it, how do sales people even keep them straight?
I understand the concept of a consistent design language is not new, and strong brand identities are important to a certain extent. But you have a problem as an automaker when it's impossible tell an A3 from an A8 – when one is $30,000 and the other approaching $100,000.
TokyoBayAquaLine sees the logic in it, seeing as Audis are all trendy nowadays:
Actually Doug, I'm not just seeing this trend in cars. You see it in shoes (Nike) music devices (iPod), phones (Samsung/Apple), and other things that are mass produced.
I think it boils down to the fact that most people want differentiation through distinction. To them, distinction is something that looks the same as everything else, or at least almost, but performs to their personal touch or desires.
Few people want radical change, because few people can accept it. We live in a day and age where if someone came out with (the equivalent) of a horseless carriage, but let's say, a wheel-less, totally electric flying car, people would say it would never work.
That's why the truly brilliant among as are able to take a step back, analyze what it is we really want as a society outside of design and the "hip factor", and make something that will actually BENEFIT society and help us become better as a whole (Elon Musk being a great example).
Audi's are monotonous for the same reason BMW's tend to look similar, Toyota's are boring (for the most part), Ferrari's are red, and houses are square. It's what we know, and it's what we trust. Without familiarity comes distrust and especially disdain if it's a good idea that we weren't smart enough to personally think up first.
Everyone who drives these cars drive them for their own personal purpose. The subtle styling differences between the A8 and the A4 and A6 make all the difference to the people on their way, or who are part of a corporate ladder, because it shows financially where they are at in life, and what they have achieved by noticing the fine details in things.
But a really admirable person is someone who already noticed the fine details a long time ago, and looks at the bigger picture right here, right now.
Those are the kind of people we should be looking up to. Not the people in their Audi's and BMW's, because those people will forever be limited to that choice, while we'll be the ones free and willing enough to see the beauty and the uniqueness in other things.
Or maybe Audi did exactly what Braking Bad suggests:
Pictured: The inspiration for Audi's model nomenclature.
All they did was change reverse the order as larger numbers should equal larger cars.
Tell me, what paper size begins with Q?