By on February 12, 2015

 

This just happened. (photo courtesy: Ram)

Most design students don’t consider Peak Oil in their studies, but The Reckoning was on my reading list back then. While Peak Oil is tangentially connected to car design, we clearly reached Peak Emblem.

It cannot get any worse than what’s being introduced in Chicago this week.

Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has been on the rise for over a decade.  Park a new Corolla next to a 1995-2000 model for proof.  The problem is empty real estate, sheets of painted metal with no landscaping. A big problem for a top-tier RAM, for the Laramie Limited trim. How do you visually separate a premium model when even the mid-level model has that in-yo-face look from a huge grille and acres of chrome?

Larger and larger emblems, apparently: on the grille and the tailgate.  Damn Son, dat tailgate!

As mentioned before, it’s all about proportioning: big butts need MOAR BLING. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, unless the proportions are so extreme that creativity is stifled and the sheet metal cannot to rest on its design laurels.  A shame, as the RAM (like many new Chrysler designs) are quite fetching by themselves.

Here’s my suggestion:

1985 Dodge Power Ram (photo courtesy: www.fortrucksonly.com/truckforum)

Stamp a (unique to trim levels like the Laramie Limited) tailgate with negative area, then add a metal insert with small(er that what you did) lettering. Of course Ye Old School Dodge has a much smaller tailgate, but applying the concept of negative area to the Laramie makes sense.  Well, perhaps not the financial sense of slapping the biggest emblems you can make on dat butt.

Peak Emblem is real, it happened.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

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104 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: Peak Emblem...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    1) Needs to get rid of the dinner plate sized logo on the tailgate and grille
    2) Rightfully put Dodge back in front of Ram
    3) Stamp “Dodge” into the tailgate, no chrome, no stick-ons, no logo.

    Also what’s a “Power Ram”? Did you mean Power Wagon?

  • avatar
    319583076

    If I weren’t such a coward, I’d be killing myself with something much quicker than alcohol. FTW.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    “I gotta have more cowbell!”

  • avatar
    energetik9

    While I would agree, I’m not sure this is a recent trend. I remember a Toyota Tacoma (2007?) truck that I had years ago with a massive “TOYOTA” sticker across the tailgate similar to this.

    I do not like massive emblems, but combine that will excessive use of Chrome (read GM and Cadillac). It’s just tacky and stylistically lazy in my opinion. I guess car makers are realizing the bigger and more obnoxious means that other drivers will take notice. Lots of free advertising for years.

    • 0 avatar

      Didn’t say that: “Emblem size, just like wheel size and body/firewall (versus glass) height has been on the rise for over a decade.”

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      True. (Though like Sajeev says, he didn’t say it was *new*.)

      E.g. back in 1994, my Toyota (not this picture, but same year), had a giant TOYOTA across the tailgate.

      http://s49.photobucket.com/user/57tsfairlane/media/P6190043.jpg.html

      (But not in chrome; and chrome makes it seem even, er, bigger. And blingier. And more-er.

      Decals are relatively understated.)

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        That was actually downsized from the ’70s models:

        http://tenwheel.com/imgs/a/a/m/n/v/1975_toyota_pickup__paint_lowered_custom_5_lgw.jpg

        See also the Chevrolet Stepside tailgate from the mid 50s through mid 70s, and the late ’60s F-150:

        http://www.fordification.com/board/1967-FORD-F-100-PICKUP-ORIG.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        Yep my ’93 Toy had that. Easily removed with a heat gun along with the “V6” emblem. My problem was not the size so much as how f’ing cheap it looked. Like something added from a local auto parts store by some high school kid. Also took the goofy stripes running down both sides. Added some SR5 wheel well moldings. Looked much better. Why cover up metallic paint with tape.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    Is that a Ram? I couldn’t tell.

    DeMuro was 2 days too early with his “compensating” remark.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Well now we know why they had to drop the “Dodge” from “Ram”. Both wouldn’t fit on the damn tailgate.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I liked it when pickups had their brand name stamped in the tailgate. The letters were often painted white on body colors that contrasted sufficiently. They should go back to doing that.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      You do have a point, for many years Ford tailgates had Ford spelled across the back in a painted contrasting color. Wasn’t quite as flashy as giant chrome letters.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I liked that, too.

      This just seems so restrained: http://image.customclassictrucks.com/f/techarticles/1211cct_1968_chevrolet_c10_tailgate/44151792/1211cct-02-1968-chevrolet-c10-tailgate-rear.jpg

      To me, this new styling of letters screams that I went to Pep Boys, and wanted an Escalade.

  • avatar
    John R

    I thought the new Raptor set the standard, but looks like FCA has moved the game on a bit.

  • avatar
    velvet fog

    You clearly do not understand truck styling. Bigger is always better especially for the compensating crowd.

    For the record I own a 2013 F-150 XLT with very small emblems on the tailgate.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Like my ’07 F250, that just has a little Ford oval, nothing else.

      I suppose that’s the problem; the truck makers can’t plausibly make two different sets of sheet metal, and thus the “doesn’t care about Styling And Representing” group gets the sheet metal for the “does care” group.

  • avatar
    Cirruslydakota

    My first vehicle was a 1980 Ford F-150. The tailgate had “FORD” embossed in it with the raised letters painted white. The Flareside pickups had something similar but with just big painted letters instead and both looked very attractive. This? No, and by that I mean hell no. Im a Mopar guy through and through but this is just too much and manages to make a handsome truck gaudy.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Trucks have had giant labels on the tailgate for decades.

    image.lowridermagazine.com/f/features/1010_lrmp_1952_chevrolet_truck/29970430/lrmp_1010_02_o%2B1952_chevy_truck%2Bchevy_tailgate.jpg

    hubgarage.s3.amazonaws.com/photos/2700828/IMG_0927_detail.JPG

    images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/12198871.jpg

    olskoolrodz.com/images/gallery/photo_32794.jpg

    http://www.michiganclassics.com/67c10/parts/black1.jpg

    Ford and Dodge both did the “fill-in-the-negative-area” thing in the early ’90s.

    http://www.allford.net.au/F150%20tailgate%20after..JPG

    http://www.dieseltruckresource.com/forums/picture.php?pictureid=30269

  • avatar
    Steinweg

    Makes a Phantom look circumspect.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Congrats, this truck is now more flashy and gaudy than a gold flaked Bentley.

    You know WHO WILL LIKE IT. Because it’s large and IN CHARGE. And that is the most important thing when you OWN TWO HOMES AND SIX CARS AND YOUTUBE MONEY.

    Ugh. Why don’t they introduce a “Discretion” trim, priced slightly above even the Limited. No badges.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    So incredibly tacky.

    How does this stuff pass their focus groups? They must really be targeting subprime buyers.

    If I was in the market for a new truck, I would pass on the Ram solely for that design element if it wasn’t removable.

    Even conservative Toyota is doing it (but not nearly as bad) look at the rear of this generation 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They know their market. 300 DUBs and RAM Vulgalors.

      • 0 avatar
        jacob_coulter

        I honestly think that’s it. When I see most new Dodge/Chrysler owners, it starts to make sense.

        But I’ve got to think though there’s more than a few old school people who don’t want a gaudy looking truck. I actually really like the lines on the Ram.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Well, you know, those letters will come *right off* with a heat gun and some dental floss, I expect…

          I bet the dealer would even take ’em off for you.

          Maybe even for free.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            The front grill is also hideous with the billboard sized “RAM” on the front.

            Are you sure the rear logo is applied with only adhesive? With that much weight, it wouldn’t surprise me if it’s held with speed nut type fasteners that will have holes in the tailgate.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      As if anyone needed more reasons. The main reason to pass on the Ram 1500 is that it no longer has real 4WD in anything except the most basic trim levels. The on-demand AWD system that replaced it isn’t even competitive with a decent AWD system.

      The 2500 still has 4WD.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    All it needs now are Elephantiasis sized truck nuts.

  • avatar
    Compaq Deskpro

    I welcome the return of huge tailgate letters, and I hope everyone else in the segment follows suit. Especially Toyota, their vehicles look much better with the word Toyota than the oval shape.

  • avatar
    formula m

    I feel like they are laughing in the design studio… “Let’s just write RAM as large as possible on the front and back and charge more. Our customers are idiots hahaha.”

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      As someone who started out of college as a designer (marketing/printing world) I can tell you such things do happen. I once designed an horrible icon as joke, my senior designer wanted to poke her eyes out it was THAT bad. But management loved it because it was to the point and in your face. Same with this. How do you make a truck better? Add chrome and/or badges. Ford’s Raptor has entire grill that says FORD so Dodge… sorry RAM had to one up them.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      Nope. The designers are crying about this. It’s more than likely someone in management came up with this idea and design had to roll with it.

  • avatar
    TheEndlessEnigma

    Looks like an invitation for a rear-ending.

    “But officer, the sign said “RAM”…..so I did”

  • avatar

    Maybe its a directive!

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Unfortunately there is some precedent. In the late 80s Dodge supplied lower-trim Ram trucks than the one pictured with vinyl lettering on the tailgate that read “DODGE RAM” across the full width of the chrome strip shown on the old truck picture in the article. In the early 90s a styling refresh saw the chrome strip pictured above replaced by a taller strip that stretched the entire width of the tailgate that had black letters filling its width that just read “DODGE.”

    Obviously with the ridiculous situation of having “Ram” as a brand unto itself the Dodge lettering is right out, and the only way to make Ram fill a tailgate is to make it ludicrous size.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    RAM didn’t want to be upstaged in the ugly grille wars by former head of RAM, Fred Diaz, at Nissan, so they introduced this.

    This makes the Raptor look downright classy.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    It seems like trucks are just becoming gaudier each year. Almost as if the brougham era is trying to make a comeback.

  • avatar

    How long until fullsize trucks become channel letters bolted to a perimeter frame with running gear, a seat, a steering wheel, a bed, and a hitch receiver?

  • avatar
    Fred

    Man, de-badging that thing is going to be a bitch.

  • avatar
    Moparmann

    I guess the “gunsight”grille/familial resemblance is dead…what do the chea– er, less expensive models (i.e working men trucks) look like?? :-)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Peak Emblem – great observation! That RAM tailgate is too much.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    It’s not like someone could buy the Laramie Limited for the options, then yank off the tailgate and sell it to Cletus in his Tradesman, trading off the gaudy thing while still making a couple bucks.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Can someone help me out, is that black pick-up a Ram?

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I don’t really think having the big brash chrome Ram across the tailgate and grille will improve sales, if that is what they are after.

    Most real luxury vehicles don’t require this. Many top selling vehicles don’t require this to sell.

    The only value is the to the person driving the pickup.

    I’d hazard to guess the person who finds this type of design attractive would be a narcissist.

    It might actually turn some off of buying one.

    Poor design.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    Will there be genuine Mopar(TM) Truck Nuts in chrome also available? You can finance them in at $7/month. How long before exhaust stacks through the bed are also standard on the “Prius Repellent” model?

    Those factory exhaust tips are much too subtle. They need the 4 inch megaphones that protrude 3 inches beyond the bumper. Also, they need to make sure one is bent/drooping and/or awfully misaligned if they want to appeal to the “‘Murica Meens Trux” crowd.

    My first reaction was that Sajeev slipped with the cursor during editing. I wish that was the case so much.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Maybe I still have the maturity level of a 12 year old, but could this thing be any more phallic?

    What are the trim levels? Balls Deepe Farm, Moose Nuts Forest, Horse Dick Ranch? I’d hate to be behind one of these in traffic driving away from the sun.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Porsche and its sudden proliferation of rear badges is another offender. In the past, if it said “Carrera” you knew it was a Porsche 911, and if it said “turbo” then you knew it was top dog. Now all the new Porsches cram “PORSCHE 911 Carrera 4S” onto the rear bumper, taking up all of the body space between the taillamps. Probably the result of marketing research on customer exhibitionism.

    BMW is another great example. They throw M badges everywhere, sell “M Sport” body kits, launch new “M Performance” models, and then the fanboys quickly remind everyone that those are not “true M cars designed in the M division, in a secret basement room.” See how the “non-M” M235i has more M badges than the “real M” M3? BMW must be laughing all the way to the bank. The really sad thing is, the M135i and M235i are great performance cars even before all the badges got slapped on.

    Ferrari and Lamborghini have moved the other way. Their cars are so symbolic that for nearly 20 years now they have stopped displaying the model name on the exterior. Even the “Ferrari” name is subtly tucked away on the lip spoiler. All that’s on the rear end is the chrome Fezza horse or the classic Lambo cursive script. These brands are aware of their own power and are not afraid to keep it simple.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      In contrast, the new Macan says nothing but PORSCHE on the back. Saw one this morning and noted that.

      • 0 avatar
        superchan7

        Badge delete is a no-cost factory option on new Porsches. You can have it say just “Porsche,” or just “Cayenne turbo,” or both. I just hate that they include everything as a baseline.

        Porsche is a successful brand and they make fabulous sports cars (yes, yes, they make great CUVs too). I don’t see why they need to be self-conscious and shout “HEY, if you didn’t recognise my iconic shape, don’t you ever forget that this is a Porsche 911 Carrera GTS 991 with a deployable rear wing. Oh, and it’s got a button that lets you keep that wing up all the time because our market research told us the owners love displaying their peacock feathers!”

  • avatar
    mcs

    We’re not at peak emblem yet. On cars, there are now factory illuminated emblems. These are just chrome so far. They need illumination, but I’m sure that’s not far away.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    The Onion couldn’t have done this better.

  • avatar

    On the bright side the massive logos may prevent anymore of those “Dodge the Father, Ram the Daughter” or “Prius Repellent” stickers being applied……

  • avatar
    woj1s

    Large emblems on tailgates have been around forever. http://s.hswstatic.com/gif/1957-1960-ford-f-series-5.jpg

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Debadge it with a heat gun/hair dryer. Take the adhesive off with 3M adhesive remover. This is easy stuff. “We don’t need no stinkin’ badges!”

  • avatar
    V-Strom rider

    A bit unfair to pick on RAM. Have a look at the size of the three-pointed star in a the grille of a current model Mercedes – gargantuan!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      and as an option, you can get an illuminated version.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      Bro comment: “You didn’t get the light-up logo? You got a baller ride, why don’t you flaunt it?”

      The lowest common denominator in taste is very low in ‘Murica, where “freedom” means spending money regardless of whether you have said money. There are always people willing to pay (or finance) for this cheese.

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Totally agree, superchan7. Furthermore, my progressive side would opine that an underinvestment in K-12 arts education over the past three decades has led to even worse taste on the part of the ‘Murican public.

    • 0 avatar

      What Mercedes has an emblem that takes up as much real estate as the tailgate of this Dodge?

      • 0 avatar
        Featherston

        Mercedes, GMC, and Lexus were the vanguard of overly large grille emblems. Yes, they’re smaller than this tailgate logo in an absolute sense, but they’re arguably even worse in that the Ram logo arose from an historical context of large tailgate logos. They’re all visual atrocities as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Yet one more reason not to go Wal-Mart. Ole Cleetus will be in their buying bags of tater chips and a case of diet soda. He’ll need a manly truck to haul “stuff”; ya know?

  • avatar
    Mikein08

    Peak Emblem indeed. All, and I do mean all, emblems have been removed
    from my truck except those which require holes to be drilled in the body
    in order to mount. I am unwilling to be a rolling billboard for Nissan,
    or anyone else.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I think it would look good with just the strip at the bottom but yes, the lettering looks like some crap they would sell at Pep Boys.

  • avatar
    jdash1972

    If you can’t Dodge it, Ram it!

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    What’s up with that grill? Are those things ovaries? http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f4/frank462/dodge-ram-logo.jpg

  • avatar
    shaker

    Can’t wait to tell my buddy (who has a 2013) that his truck is “wimpy”.

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    With an emblem that big, Dodge should be paying their customers to drive it. Massive advertising…

  • avatar
    JustPassinThru

    Peak Emblem? Naahhh…been there, done that

    http://www.jeeptruck.com/bd/sale/adb279/data/images1/jeep_rear_tailgate.jpg

    Like Peak Oil…we hear it again and again…and the false prophets are dispensed in favor of the pursuit of true profits.

    One could, however, argue, with some validity, that the bigger the emblem, the smaller the market share and the lower the odds of long-term survival. Who among us remembers when Jeeps were work vehicles?


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