Color Tolerances in Vehicle Design
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial design engineering (MPDES), MSc
This study explores customer’s perception of interior color tolerances in vehicles, with the aim of understanding how small color variations can impact their satisfaction of the vehicle’s appearance. The study also set out to investigate and give recommendations on how to design for a more forgiving appearance regarding color variances in vehicle interiors. To begin, extensive literature studies were performed to gain a greater understanding of color theory and the current state of research on color tolerances and how they affect customers' perceptions. Based on the findings, a user study was designed to investigate customers' preferences for color tolerances on interior components of a vehicle. The user study comprised recruiting a diverse group of participants and presenting them with various color combination plaques, which were composed of a master plaque that represented the “correct” color and a variation plaque with a slight color difference. Participants were then asked to give their opinion for each combination. A group of color experts also participated in the user tests, acting as a reference point for the study. The collected data underwent analysis to identify trends and patterns in customers' preferences. The results indicate that the participants in the study are more accepting than the tolerance limits used by the automotive company discussed in this report, suggesting that current requirements may need to be revised. Design recommendations were created to provide an understanding of how to design for a more forgiving appearance regarding color variation in vehicles. These guidelines were developed by leveraging insights gained from color theory and the analysis of the user studies and interviews conducted with experts in the field of color and vehicle design. The resulting recommendations are expected to provide automotive designers with information that can aid in the development of vehicle interiors which allow a satisfactory appearance despite some degree of color variation between components. The findings indicate that a more forgiving appearance can be achieved by incorporating transition details between two different materials, which can make color differences between them more acceptable. Additionally, such details can serve as a visual focus, detracting attention from any color differences. Another crucial design recommendation is to embrace greater color variation instead of uniformity, as this will also contribute to a more forgiving appearance. However, this should be done with caution as to not create an unharmonious appearance. Furthermore, materials that possess greater structural complexity can be more accommodating towards greater color tolerances. Lastly, careful consideration should be given to the selection of colors. This is largely because the eye’s sensitivity to differences in hue depends on where the color is located in the color sphere. In conclusion, this master thesis report presents a comprehensive investigation of interior color tolerances in the context of the automotive industry. The study findings provide valuable insights into customer preferences which can aid in regulation of color tolerances and design of vehicle interiors which ensures that customers’ expectations are satisfied.