Analysing Range Rover brochures

The main part of my Final Major Project is to produce the brochure for the Range Rover. Therefore I decided to look at two Range Rover brochures, one for the Range Rover that has just been replaced as well as the “All New Range Rover”.

I see these brochures as highlighting the good and bad of Land Rover’s design strategy. Throughout this blog post I’m going to be unusually critical of the designs seen here as I am looking for outstanding design rather than good design, which is what I class these brochures as. I am focusing on outstanding design for my FMP as I want to push the boundaries as far as possible to create something outstanding. No pressure then…

2013MY Range Rover brochure (access it here as a PDF, so far I have not seen any print versions of this brochure in the local dealer)

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Front Cover: This shows part of the vehicle, but not from the most distinctive viewpoint (which is the front), which is rather odd. The city skyline in the background is normally a feature that I would expect to work well, not taking the focal point away from the car, but adding a dynamic movement, with connotations of ‘city life’ but here it blends into the horizon so much that it has no value.

The sky however, is very calm with it’s pale palette complementing the vehicle, with this serenity being a key part of the refinement experienced when travelling in a Range Rover. The title is good, but the Land Rover logo and slogan could be better integrated, instead looking a little like it has just been dumped there.

Typography: A real weak point for this brochure. The display typeface that Land Rover has used for many years is well structured with its angular forms and curved elements matching the blend of luxury and utility the Range Rover balances so well. With the Range Rover moving upmarket though, with a more luxurious feel, I will need to research into whether a display typeface with more elegance could be used.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.24.31As for the copy type, the geometric sans-serif typeface used is extremely legible, it is also bland and anonymous, lacking an identity. For a premium manufacture selling a premium vehicle, the typeface needs to be something with greater character. Research will need to be done to assess alternatives. I wonder if typography could be incorporated into the design, rather than merely conveying the words.

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Something that is apparent from looking at the page above, a template seen across this brochure, is that the line length is too long, as the reader loses focus as the line goes on. It can also be harder to pick up from a certain point if the line length is too long. Here, it would be preferable to split it into two columns.

Photography: The strongest element of this brochure is the photography, with the ‘desire’ being created to entice the audience into the lifestyle that could be enjoyed by a Range Rover owner. While cliché showing the traditional range of landscapes, I feel there is a real dynamism to them that the audience appreciates.

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Layout: Overall I have to say the layout of this brochure is very hit and miss. Some of it is well designed and logically laid out, whereas some of it is incredibly boring. Below are some screenshots I took from the PDF brochure, and I’ll analyse them as I go.

It is perfectly understandable as to why margins should be used in designs, as it allows for spacing and to emphasise the subject matter, but here I think they are too large, meaning the photography, the strongest element of this brochure can’t be maximised. It also would help if they mention something like a new ‘split tailgate’ to actually show all of it.

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Again, the layout is just so bland, with no real hierarchy to it, which does not help the reader’s rhythm. While minimal design is very popular currently, there is a fine line between minimal design being successful, or just bland, as this brochure shows.Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.27.40 As for the specification part of the brochure, it is difficult to read the information as the point size for the type is small, with minimal leading, packing the text too close together. For long lists this gets extremely tiring, making it harder than it should be to read through the information a potential buyer needs to know. I think research should be focused in this area to find a way of making it easier for the audience to read information like this.Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.26.40Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.26.55

However, there are some good features within this brochure, such as the colour charts. Showing large segments of exterior colour choices, with a slight gradient to show different lighting conditions, is as realistic as it is possible to get with printing processes to match the colours the car is available in. As the Range Rover has the option of a roof coloured to contrast (either black or silver), swatches have been provided.

Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.27.11 With the interior colour swatches, recommended by the designers, I feel is one of the best design features within the brochure. The mood board inspired images showing the influences works fantastically to give a view into the creative process, and show the logic behind such decisions. This works really well, and is something I will look to continue with my designs.Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.28.00 Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.28.24 As far as highlighting technical aspects of the vehicle such as dimensions and off-road capabilities, this brochure has taken a very logical, detailed path to inform the audience, many of whom will be very interested in this sort of information. After all many will be buying this vehicle, because of it’s technical specification. Photoshopped images have been used here, which work rather well, but I think I will investigate into whether different solutions such as illustrations/blueprints would be better.Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.28.48As for the key features and accessories section, I think the spacing could be significantly better, in order to stop the clashing of information. Other than that, it is sensibly laid out, if a little boring, but it does the job it is needed to do.Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.28.36Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 07.29.13

Surprising Omissions: I was very surprised to see there was no section dedicated to either sustainability or quality assurance. These are important sections which were covered in the old brochure (analysed below) and ones which are highly relevant to the audience.

Sustainability is a subject with seemingly unlimited growth due to the fact the Earth’s resources are on the decline and awareness of the fragility of the environment needing to be addressed. Quality assurance is something I would expect mentioned for a vehicle as expensive as this, to reassure customers they are buying a high quality product, especially as Land Rover have not had a good image for this in the past, albeit much improved now.

2010MY Range Rover brochure:

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Front Cover: This is a really interesting design, being all black, with the text highlighted in a varnish, giving a gloss that contrasts the matte finish of the cover. The stock is of a good weight, with a slight sheen to it, that has the connotations of a premium feel. The only downside with this finish though is the lack of durability, picking up scuff marks very easily, which does not lend well to a premium image. This could be overcome I feel, either by using a textured finish or a stock without a sheen to it.

The cover is unusual in the fact it does not feature the car on the front. It speaks volumes about how well known the Range Rover is. Another option I think it would be interesting to draw upon as I experiment is to trial a close-up detail of the car, perhaps one not easily recognisable. I think it is important to ensure the cover should not be cliché.

Typography: One typeface is used throughout this brochure, and it is better suited to being a display typeface, to be viewed at a larger size, where the shape of the characters can be observed better. For smaller elements of text such as captions I don’t think it works particularly well as the letterforms, while legible, do not aid the rhythm of the text.

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I think it would have been much better to have two typefaces, which can be seen in the newer brochure analysed above. At least the type hierarchy has been thought out to give each part of type, from headlines to captions, a specific visual role, although I wonder if the size has been exaggerated in order to create that desperately needed hierarchy.

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Photography: The best element of this brochure without a doubt is the photography. They really are stunning, capturing the Range Rover in a wide variety of environments, allowing the spirit of the vehicle to be conveyed to the audience, as well creating that ‘desire’, needed to sell a vehicle like this. Something that is very apparent to me looking through the brochure is that, alongside the information about the vehicle, an extraordinary amount of focus goes into selling you a potential lifestyle you could have upon owning this vehicle.

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Layout: Something this brochure does reasonably well, but again, as with the brochure for the new Range Rover, it can be a bit hit and miss in some areas.

The contents section is intriguing, as instead of using folios throughout with page numbers, it focuses on a thin strip of colour instead. With each new section appears a new colour. This works especially well when set against the black background as the true vibrancy of the colours can stand out.

IMG_3627This is certainly an area, that while reasonably good, the new brochure has evolved considerably. Here you get a few small images to compare, against the new design showing a overhead view of the interior, showing how the different sections and colours interact.IMG_3636It is a rather suitable touch to show exterior and interior swatches together, as many people think very carefully about matching these colours to ensure they have a vehicle that pleases their taste. It is also worth noticing that there is a varnish applied to the swatches, to make them more realistic to the gloss finishes of the vehicle, rather than the matte finish of the paper.IMG_3637As for the technical information, it is very similar to the new brochure, so there is not much more to add really, then mention the strong black and white contrast that allows for the division of information.IMG_3639

Showing the sections of the Range Rover that have been crafted such as the leather headliner on top spec vehicles is an important point to make, as it speaks to the reader, ensuring they understand this is no ordinary car, but instead a quality car, a Range Rover. I wonder if they could have placed some more facts in about the vehicle in an information graphic style so that it stands out more to complement the images.IMG_3635

As for sustainability, this is a spread that is done well, with a light, airy feeling that is critical to convey the effort Land Rover puts in to ensure the impact it has on the environment is as minimal as possible. Several years ago Land Rover came under fire for not being environmentally friendly, some of it being blatant propaganda with no substance to it. Since then Land Rover has improved beyond recognition, so I think this is worth highlighting to the audience. People need to know that Land Rover is not the worst car company environmentally by a long way.

Again, I think the design would benefit from an information graphic style to really highlight the facts so they are unavoidable.IMG_3641

Conclusion: From this in-depth look into the past and current Range Rover brochures, I have come to the conclusion that the character has been removed from it (photography aside) to the point where it is just another car brochure. Something different is needed, so the design of the brochure matches the characteristics of the Range Rover. Some key points are below, once the research for this project is done, I’ll group them all together.

  • Ensure the brochure is not cliché, like many other car brochures. It must have an individual personality to it.
  • Get the standard of the typography to match that of the imagery.
  • It is important to remember a brochure like this sells a potential lifestyle with the car.
  • It is important to show the effort that went into the designing and manufacturing of this truly excellent vehicle.
  • Create a stunning promotion for the Range Rover.
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