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Are NASCAR's paint schemes getting uglier?

MrDude68

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This might not matter that much to some of you, but since I started watching NASCAR, I've always been drawn to the way the cars themselves look... the paint scheme designs, that is. And it just seems to me like many of the designs lately have taken quite a nosedive in quality over previous years. My observations:
-- Obviously, teams have been using extra pieces of vinyl now in specific areas (A-post, rear fender, quarter panel) to create a slight aero advantage. This has thrown off the look of many schemes.
-- I'm super jaded and sentimental I have a personal preference for the Gen 4 cars, with the less boxy shape (particularly at the front end). So paint schemes automatically seem to look better to me on the old cars.

I speculate that scheme designers nowadays also have less liberties than they once did... although I'm not sure why that would be the case.

What do you guys think? Are paint schemes becoming uglier, or is this just me? And do paint schemes affect your experience as a fan?
 

frow78

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JGR schemes have been sensational the last 5 years, without exception. The only team who has notably fallen off a cliff design-wise is Hendrick.
 

canadienhits

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I think it depends on who you talk to and what your tastes are. If you like simple, the 70's would have been more your time. Today's schemes are very busy and complicated, for the most part.
 

BrendonH12

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I have a personal preference for the Gen 4 cars
^This all day long! I just love everything about the cars from 2000 to 2007. I won't say that all paint schemes are bad nowadays; a rare gem can be found every once-in-a-while. But, yeah, for the most part, with all this black trim, and sponsor placement freedom (see JTG cars), the paint schemes are really going downhill. But when it really comes down to it, I'd still watch and be satisfied if they were all out there racing '65 Mustangs with flat grey paint! lol
 

starscream24

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Here's my 2 cents. I notice in the threads the people who don't like certain paint schemes (which feels like every 3 cars these days) are professional painters who either do it for the sims or for real cars. However when show those cars to just normal people they don't mind em or like em. It's a very subjective thing. But then again I'm known for liking unpopular paint schemes so yeah. But to me the best cars are from 2006-07. Hard beat those IMO.
 

ThatOneShredder

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To answer the title of the thread: yes.

Personal opinion, though, is that once teams start making paint schemes to incorporate the new shenanigans (a pillar, black trim) there's a lot of potential... Or, in the case of Aric Almirola's scheme, unnoticeable (they added more stripes around the rear wheels and nobody noticed).
 

Chevellion

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Let's take a step back and analyze why the change has happened - prepare for a wall of text.

Design has a knack of going through trends every few years. In the early 2000s, advertising had gravitated towards increasingly complex, detailed content. Nowadays, the big buzzword is 'simplification.' Companies want advertising that can cut straight to the point past all the clutter. With the cultural shift towards mobile use, this is even more important as people spend more time staring at a small device that holds less on-screen content than a TV or poster. Knowing this, agencies look for the most effective ways to communicate as simply and effectively as possible.

Another question that needs to be asked during the creative process is: Will the ad support the brand, or will it be the brand? The best schemes do both, carving out a visual niche in a field of color going 200mph (I'd cite examples like Busch's NOS/M&M's schemes or Gordon's Axalta flames). Most of the perceived failure comes from the 'support' approach, when seemingly all focus is placed on the logo. The livery becomes an afterthought at this point, filled with random strokes, swooshes, and spikes, opening the door for more subjective opinions. The worst of the worst come from companies whose marketing execs have no idea how to handle proper branding. These are the ones who post cat gifs on their website homepages, or who paint their cars in a way where you can't even read the brand logo.

That being said, I'm at a loss as to what's going on at Hendrick. The fault doesn't lie in the hands of the designers (as the ones they use have the ability to produce good work), which leads to the idea that creative decisions are being made above them. If these were dictated by sponsors, the majority of the liveries shouldn't look as uniformly poor as they do. This leads me to the belief that there is someone either at Hendrick, or a marketing/ad firm hired by Hendrick, making the calls who shouldn't be.

I've always personally preferred more complex schemes, as they showcase the creative talent of the designer. The cream of the crop can both make a visually appealing livery while providing maximum exposure for the sponsor. Flat, single/two color schemes like the recent refreshes at Hendrick strip the creative element away entirely, in favor of something more bland, uninspired, and unoriginal - but more direct.

The whole OSS debacle is completely separated from this recent trend, driven specifically by a loophole in the NASCAR rulebook.

tl;dr Simplicity is a design trend, while different approaches to the brand dictate different scheme styles.
 

MrDude68

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But to me the best cars are from 2006-07. Hard beat those IMO.
I couldn't agree more.

One thing that sucks about bad paint schemes is that they can kill my desire to buy diecasts. For example, I like Chase Elliott, and I wanted to get a diecast of his rookie #24 NAPA car. But since the car was ugly, I decided against it. I don't want to display something I won't like looking at.
 

BrendonH12

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I couldn't agree more.

One thing that sucks about bad paint schemes is that they can kill my desire to buy diecasts. For example, I like Chase Elliott, and I wanted to get a diecast of his rookie #24 NAPA car. But since the car was ugly, I decided against it. I don't want to display something I won't like looking at.
Now, here's where I kinda disagree... If I didn't like one of Kevin Harvick's paint schemes, I would still want to have it, simply because it's Kevin. I don't think that the cars could ever become so ugly that I wouldn't want to buy diecasts of them. I just love NASCAR and diecast so much!
 

MrDude68

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Now, here's where I kinda disagree... If I didn't like one of Kevin Harvick's paint schemes, I would still want to have it, simply because it's Kevin. I don't think that the cars could ever become so ugly that I wouldn't want to buy diecasts of them. I just love NASCAR and diecast so much!
I guess when I buy diecasts, I buy them more because they look good, rather than because of the driver. Even when I was 8 or 9 I remember hating Kurt Busch, but when my dad brought me to the hobby store, I picked out a model car of his to put together just because I liked the scheme. Maybe I was just a weird kid... lol
 

BrendonH12

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I guess when I buy diecasts, I buy them more because they look good, rather than because of the driver. Even when I was 8 or 9 I remember hating Kurt Busch, but when my dad brought me to the hobby store, I picked out a model car of his to put together just because I liked the scheme. Maybe I was just a weird kid... lol
Weird kid indeed! lol :D But seriously, I hated Jeff Gordon as a kid, but I had about 20 of his 1/64 scale diecasts! Now that's partly due to the fact that my sister liked him when she was younger, but I tried to get all of the driver's diecasts - no matter how I felt about them. You see, when I was a kid, I used to set up a little model of each track they raced at each week, then I would place all my cars on the track, and follow along with what positions the cars were in. I had to keep getting up out of my chair over and over and over! lol But it was fun...
 

starscream24

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I still think most paint jobs are fine and people are just being a little overly critical. Except for who ever made the decision to change the Menards car numbers to white. It looks so much worse than the red numbers.
 

MrDude68

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I still think most paint jobs are fine and people are just being a little overly critical. Except for who ever made the decision to change the Menards car numbers to white. It looks so much worse than the red numbers.
Black numbers work best on that particular scheme imo
 
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