The art and science behind Aston Martin's beautiful design language
The secret sauce behind Aston's greatest hits lies in ancient Greece, and golden ratios.
People often say that beauty is subjective.
But in fact, it's a reasonably well-established science. When looking at something, our brains search for a natural pattern, a relationship between features. The ancient Greeks first noted this phenomenon over 2,000 years ago.
The Golden Ratio, as it's called, is essentially a rule of thirds.
By dividing a line into two parts, the longer piece (a) is divided by the smaller piece (b). With (a) + (b) divided by (a), equaling 1.618.
By implementing this ratio of 1: 1.618, designers can perfectly judge the relationship between different design features.
Up until the recent upheave at Aston Martin, the company utilized this formula on every car, from the original DB9 and Vantage to the flagship Vanquish range.
Many criticisms were leveled at this previous era of Aston Martins, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who thought they were ugly. Indeed, whenever I've seen a VH-generation Aston parked on the street, there'd always be a crowd milling around it. Yet, unlike what you'd see with a skittle-colored Lamborghini, the "plebeian" masses were not spitting on the windshield. Instead, they would always carefully circle the car, bemused but the apparent perfection of it all.
Every line, every crease on these cars works in perfect unison; the relationship between the side window and door and how the back two-thirds of the car seemed as if it melted into the front third. When your eyes travel around an Aston, there's order, there's logic, and your brain appreciates that.
It's honestly a shame that Aston Martin has chosen to depart from its iconic VH-era design language with the new DB11 and Vantage range. The DB9, Vanquish, and previous-generation Vantage were all expensive cars. Still, their designs suggested to everyone around that the price tag was not born out of ego-mania.
Aston Martin was one of the few automakers still dedicated to the Golden Ratio. Unfortunately, that era of design has seemingly gone past us. The lack of safety legislation during the 1960s gave designers relative freedom to utilize this magical ratio. It's why so many cars like the Jaguar E-Type would later hold permanent spots at museums like the MOMA in New York.