Chevy Delray: Typefaces Designed to Engage Buyers
When auto manufacturers designed new cars, they had to imagine what the car would look like on the outside, the inside, and under the hood. Cars are not released to the public in a willy-nilly fashion; they have to be tested for aerodynamics, fuel economy, and consumer desire. People love their cars because they see themselves in the style of the car. So, when manufacturers design the name, they do so by considering who they think will drive the car and what appeals to the potential drivers. This stylistic choice shows up in the typefaces that are used on the name plate for the car.
Some of the more remarkable typefaces were used in the 1950s on cars like the Chevy Delray and the Chevy Belair. The script fonts have become iconic fonts that people use today when they want to add a vintage flair to their work. It is easy to imagine these space-age fonts on the Dymaxion house, Las Vegas neon signs, and kitchen appliances from the 1950s.
In the 1950s, Chevy realized its top market was people who wanted affordable cars that looked expensive. So, when Chevy designed the nameplates for its lineup, they needed to make sure the decorative accessories catered to the growing middle class crowd. The up-swept “D” on the Chevy Delray made the affordable car look like it was right out of the extravagant beaches of Florida, while the iconic lettering of Belair enhanced the fluid speed and modern styling of the car.
One of the best uses of typeface was on the Chevy Cheyenne truck from 1971. The typeface was in all caps and looked like it came right off of a wanted poster from the heyday of the Old West. This typeface captured the style of the people who bought this car (more affectionately known as the Silverado); these were the people who lived on ranches and worked the land.
Chevy also managed to use typeface to capture the spirit of the muscle car. Even though the company stuck with script typefaces, the ones they chose were tightly packed and looked like they were written quickly. They all leaned to the right showing these 1960s muscle cars that wore these chrome badges, the Camaro, Stingray, Chevelle, and Malibu, were ready for a drag race at any time.