JAGUAR DESIGN: A STORY OF STYLE
People, Process, Projects
Author: Nick Hull
Publisher: Porter Press International
First published: September 2015
512 pages and 500+ illustrations
This is a massive book and by default, it was a massive undertaking by author Nick Hull, who has had 25 years of experience as a designer, writer and academic. Fortunately, Hull’s time in Jaguar’s design department gave him invaluable exposure to the company’s design heritage, equipping him to comment on the whole family of Jaguar cars in a way that no other writer has done. Being such a huge book, it is probably not your going to bed best-read, because should the reader nod off and the book slip off the bed onto the floor, it might just kill the cat!
More seriously, Hull has taken each Jaguar model, from the earliest sidecars and SS cars, and described its history and interpreted its design language in a way that is easy to follow and understand. This is, as already mentioned, due to Hull’s intimate understanding of the subject from a professional’s point of view, and to the great benefit of the reader.
In the subtitle, the words ‘People, Process, Projects’ is significant, because here the author has included commentary on the people involved in that car, the design process and project through to the finished product. This offers a truly comprehensive insight into each model in a way not done before, and hats off to the author for doing a fine job. Also of value is a comparison between Sir William and his rivals in the industry, which serves to highlight what an amazing leader and designer Lyons was.
Hull covers not only the familiar road cars but the race cars too, analysing the design approach adopted by Malcolm Sayer for the C-, D-, and E-types. The author also explores Jaguar’s use of competitor’s products for analysis such as the Ferrari Daytona rescued from a field. Also detailed are the design studies done by outside agencies such as Pininfarina, Bertone and Giugiaro, which makes a fascinating comparison with Jaguar’s finished products.
Working in the design department at Jaguar enabled the author not only to gain access to areas of the company normally off limits to the general public, but also to delve in to records also beyond the reach of others. The book is also amply illustrated with many images seldom published, as well as many design illustrations, which really enhance the discussion around certain models. An interesting set of illustrations charts the evolutionary path of the XJ13 through to the striking C-X16 concept sports car, a study of particular interest to this writer.
In addition to covering the work of each design head in the company over the years, the author also explains to the reader how and when each design centre was built, such as the Whitley Design Studio. Hull has also included numerous photos taken inside the design centres which gives the reader a rare insight into what life was like behind the closed doors of Jaguar’s design studios.
Finally, Jaguar’s current Design Director, Ian Callum, has written the Foreword to the book, and as a proponent of the attitude that form follows function, he adds that one of Jaguar’s functions is to be beautiful. If you are a Jaguar enthusiast, no matter what era of the company’s history you follow, this is a book that you need to have on your shelf…it’s an absolute must!
Written by: Glen Smale