Analysing Audi brochures

I have always been impressed with the design that Audi has used for its brochures and magazines, so I decided this would be a useful case study to explore for my FMP. Here I will mainly be picking out strengths of the design that inspire me and/or will come in useful later on in the project.

Audi is also an extremely diverse car company, making vehicles from the A1 supermini to the A8 luxury saloon, to the R8 sports car. As well as this Audi Sport run impressive motorsport programs, the most successful being the Le Mans team which has won the famous 24 Heures du Mans race 12 times out of the last 13 years.

2012 Audi RS4 brochure: (the current version of which can be accessed here)
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The stock used for the brochure is of a very high class, being thick and shiny, with a very smooth surface. The lustre finish allows for a little shine, bringing out the colours within the brochure, without being like gloss, where every little reflection hinders your view. This suggests quality and suits Audi perfectly.

Something that features prominently within all Audi brochures for specific vehicles I have come across have this very smart white and grey colour scheme. The minimal contrast works well as it is not trying to grab attention, instead it is subtly providing a hierarchy to the page.IMG_3672 Audi addresses it diverse history in motorsport by showing this carefully devised image, with three generations of racing cars, all from different disciplines. Audi is very keen to point out to its audience that motorsport know-how developed in competition really does help the performance and efficiency of its road cars, explaining their ethos.IMG_3674 A great technical illustration highlighting some of the mechanical components of the Audi RS4 Avant. This method takes the approach of explaining to the customer, what is on their car, what it does, and why that is worth it. Increasing a customer’s knowledge of a car is a key aim of a brochure and is needed, especially with premium vehicles, such as this one, where a buyer could be spending upwards of £50,000.IMG_3675 I prefer the layout in this brochure to the Range Rover one I looked at previously, as everything is well balanced, with not too much negative space, or being cramped in. This spread is a little dull, but it needs to be primarily functional in order to convey the equipment this vehicle has.IMG_3676 A lovely feature in the brochure is to apply a varnish to the colour swatches so they stand out and are more realistic to the gloss finish you would get on the actual vehicle. The only downside I think here is that the size of the swatches are so small. Personally from what I have seen looking through brochures the bigger the swatch, the better the chance of understanding how the car will look in that colour.IMG_3680 When I analysed the Range Rover brochure, I really disliked the way the tables were laid out, criticising the information being set too small, and too close together. Here though, Audi have managed this really well, much to my surprise. By alternating between white and grey throughout, and using two typeface weights (bold for product, regular for description  it provides a subtle, but well needed contrast that focuses the eye in on a particular cell. The tables also make much better use of the page, giving the information more space to breathe. If I decide to use a table structure for information within my brochure design, then this style is a good starting point.IMG_3681 Again, for the technical illustrations highlighting the dimensions of the vehicle, the white on grey works very well. I had not thought of this colour combination before, instead looking at the traditional black on white. I think this is an area that will need some more attention, as there may be some other colour schemes out there that work really well.IMG_3682 IMG_3683

Audi S range brochure:

I selected this brochure to feature here because of the interesting layout that features throughout. It builds upon the Audi S logo that you can see below.
IMG_3684 Again, the layout is supreme, managing to balance the visual content on the page successfully, and with character as well. I can see here it is important to get the layout correct, as a balanced layout gives that sense of calm that is so often associated with quality. From what I have seen so far, the more expensive the vehicle, the more minimal the layout, as the car can do the talking so to speak.IMG_3685 IMG_3686 The black and white photography in many areas of this brochure allows the shape of the car to stand out, without the harsh vibrancy that is visible in some photography in car brochures. Keeping this style throughout helps consistency as well. I have to say the black and white photography looks very classy indeed, it is something I will be considering for my designs.IMG_3690

The only other thing I noticed with the spread above was the kerning between the S and 8 for the title. It may look fine on-screen above, but the print version I looked at really needed the gap closing just a touch. A small detail, but a noticeable one when dealing with typefaces of that size.

Audi magazine:

The final thing I want to look at for this blog post is an edition of the Audi magazine I received last summer as well as the brochures seen in this blog post. Interestingly while researching for this blog post, I stumbled across Northstar, who it turns out have done some rather interesting automotive work. This is worth a further look for me I think. Also they designed this magazine, of which some information about it can be read here. This proves what a success the magazine has been, and therefore makes a great case study.IMG_3691 Slightly off-topic, but I love the advert below as it really catches the spirit of summer! Very simple, yet very clever. IMG_3695 Audi magazine is obviously focused around the vehicles it produces, but also advertises the people/organisations they sponsor, as well as provide an insight into the challenges and development of the automotive industry, such as ensuring vehicles are future proofed with technology. I really love the use of the coloured thread to highlight connectivity, and this features throughout the article.IMG_3697

Audi also uses their magazine like a brochure, but instead of selling vehicles specifically, it sells the Audi mentality to the audience. If they like the mentality of the company, chances are they’ll like the cars produced. The page below looks into the Audi City London dealership, a futuristic showroom where the process of choosing a car is interactive.IMG_3692

A great photograph makes for a very interesting editorial spread. Having watched the Le Mans 24 on TV for several years, I know the only way to get into this position is by working for the team that wins this highly prized race. Therefore it is an exclusive insight, and one that the audience will really appreciate, hence why it is allowed to take up an entire spread. The boxes behind the typography are needed because of the busy background, but rather than one conjoined box, it is split up to allow for greater visibility of the image.IMG_3698 Audi also uses their magazine to sell a lifestyle to the audience and highlight who they and sponsor and why. I have to say, I think the layout below is great, because of the way the photograph can be shown at a large size, but still allows adequate space for the sell.IMG_3699

Conclusion:

  • Audi has mastered the table structure for showing information about its products. This should be noted for when I create my designs.
  • Audi has created great layouts. This has been noted for when I start to design my own range of promotional material.
  • Looking at the Audi brochures has reminded me I should not forget aspects of the brochure such as orientation, paper stocks and how it is secured together. I think I shall create a specific section in my research to examine this later on.
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