Traditionally, for the last 50 years, magazines have been driving car culture. From the beginning of
Hot Rod magazine in 1948 till now, with Road & Track with over 700,000 subscribers in 2009, a large
number of car enthusiasts still get their information from magazines. Although an argument can be made
that most young car enthusiasts get their news from the internet such as blogs and fansites, such as Autoblog.com, a large majority of people ages 30 and above still get their information from magazines.
The same people who read these magazines are generally hesitant to adopt hybrid or electric car
technology because most of the writers in the magazine are skeptical themselves. Therefore reaching
these people from this medium is of paramount importance. ELECTRON needs to be among the well-established car magazines, such as Road & Track and Car & Driver at the bookstore. It is a statement
that electric-powered cars are here to stay, a strong message that "we've arrived". If ELECTRON is among
other traditional car magazines, it can attract new converts with its presence. Car culture in magazines
are most glamorously represented by sports cars, because they are touted as the most powerful and
prestigious automobile. Lawrence Weschler, a professor at NYU, states that printed media is more
permanent and physically tangible than web media. Using the car magazine format as an entry point,
ELECTRON's features are inspired by research methods to create a green car enthusiast culture.
The advent of new technology, such as the Apple iPad, will change how magazine media is consumed.
The magazine as a medium has always evolved and continues to evolve. From the early fold out centerfold
poster, to gift calendars and DVD video giveaways, the magazine continues to evolve. ELECTRON is not
about the future of the magazine, but the takeaway is the content to create a future culture for sustainable
mobility. The following articles are appropriate for a magazine format, as opposed to TV and video. Its
emphasis is not just on the machine itself, but what green cars represent in our culture. Green Car Journal
is an existing magazine for green cars, but the dry format and preaching about the environment will not
win any converts from enthusiasts.
Green is a given, when it comes to the design language. There's no need to be preachy or granola-hippie-
hipster about green, for that will turn a large majority of traditional car lovers away. ELECTRON sees green
as powerful and sexy. There are no bunny rabbits, trees and foliage as part of the graphic language in the
design. While large manufacturers, small car companies, and government are working on the technological
and political aspects of sustainable mobility, ELECTRON focuses on making mainstream American culture
more receptive toward this positive change. As car technology evolves to be more and more carbon
emission free, ELECTRON is the replacement and natural evolution of other car magazines.
¬©2010 Yee Chan & Art Center College of Design