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Style Council

Ever wonder how manufacturers choose the colors and graphics for their upcoming products? While some take a decidedly low-key approach ("My girlfriend's eyes are azure blue, so let's go with that"), others are meticulous in their selection process. When GT was still GT, the company was rumored to have spent almost a quarter million dollars researching the "perfect" looks for its 2001 product line. Part of that process including using involved focus groups and scientific analysis in which participants were hooked-up to diagnostic equipment to monitor specific emotions as subjects were

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Back to Vegas in Search of Good Looks

By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor

A source of inspiration.

A source of inspiration.

Photo: Andrew Juskaitis

Ever wonder how manufacturers choose the colors and graphics for their upcoming products?

While some take a decidedly low-key approach (“My girlfriend’s eyes are azure blue, so let’s go with that”), others are meticulous in their selection process. When GT was still GT, the company was rumored to have spent almost a quarter million dollars researching the “perfect” looks for its 2001 product line.

Part of that process including using involved focus groups and scientific analysis in which participants were hooked-up to diagnostic equipment to monitor specific emotions as subjects were shown varied color schemes. Colors and graphics for its line were actually selected in this manner. Wouldn’t PETA be proud?

I recently had the opportunity to venture back down south to sunny Las Vegas for the 2002 SEMA aftermarket auto parts convention. Why? Not to check out the latest in 28-inch car rims (seriously), but to tag along with a handful of the RockShox designers as they perused the halls in search of the hottest colors and designs for 2004/2005.

Trailing the dynamic duo of Rene Cormier and Sander Rigney, I took note as they took note. From the metallic green paint scheme found on a tricked-out Nissan Skyline, to the polish treatment on a set of top-of-the-line OZ Rally wheels, the guys were on the prowl for any trends they felt could make an impact on their upcoming products.

When asked why they make the effort to make it to this show year after year, Rigney replied, “because the automotive industry is one of the most influential forces in design and colors.” He added, “the trends you see here today will eventually make their way to all sorts of products tomorrow–including some of our forks.”

To prove his point, Rigney led me into a hall littered with multi-million dollar vehicles exhibiting some of the latest paint technologies.

One particular car caught my eye and Cormier nodded in agreement, “yep, you’re right, the very same metallic gray found on SID and Psylo Race 2003.” He had answered my question before I had a chance to ask it.

This particular car was shown at the 2001 SEMA show and was the primary influence on RockShox’s high-end fork offerings this year.

A year ago this color was going 240mph.

A year ago this color was going 240mph.

Photo:

Stumbling through the halls the remainder of the day (the SEMA show has six-times as many vendors as Interbike), I quietly observed the two as they noticed (and photographed) anything and everything that they felt might help distinguish their products from the rest.

Who knows how much of what we saw that day will turn up as actual product, but judging from the impressive variety of colors, designs and graphics, 2004/2005 could be a very “bright” year. Ouch…

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