GAYDON – Coloring books are no longer only for neurotic urbanites and harebrained toddlers, according to Aston Martin’s Dr. Andy Palmer. While at the British automaker’s headquarters, we had a chat with Dr. Palmer about how they keep the creative juices flowing.
“Every morning we pull all the executives together and hand everyone a box of Crayola 64s,” said Palmer in hushed tones.
“The guys really love this part,” said Palmer with a smile. “We give each of them one sheet of paper every day with a line-drawing of one of our cars.”
“Monday is DBS, Tuesday is DB11, Thursdays are Vantages, and Friday is Rapide. Wednesday is break-day. We can’t be running our team dry now can we?”
We left his office and made our way into the design room. There were designers and engineers hard at work, surrounded by “coloring-pages” (Palmer’s words) stuck to white boards on the walls.
“We just tell them to go nuts. Sometimes the guys like to take the pages home to their kids, maybe they draw a couple arrows on it. Boom! There’s an idea: Vanquish S ‘Red Arrows’, Special Edition.”
“Kristy’s kid, God bless him, he just colors the whole page black. That’s how we got all our Carbon editions. DB9 Carbon Black? Yup. All him.”
“This month Kristy’s kid came back with just the doodle of a helicopter, no coloring.” He squints a bit, nodding his head, then smirks. “That was a tough one. Let’s just say, we’ve started talks with Airbus.”
The employee in question, Kristy, looked up and smiled, beaming with pride. We could see in the reflection of the glass wall behind her that she was browsing Monster.
We walked through a door labelled “Q”, and Palmer informed us that what’s ahead is top-secret stuff.
“Sometimes, honestly, we got nothing.” He gestured to a whiteboard in the new room.
“So, we just put out another James Bond edition. By the way, did you guys like our OHMSS DBS Superleggera special edition? That one was tough to come up with! We thought we ran out of everything Bond related, but our social media guy was on a bender and sat through all the movies. He was on his way out the door, but now he’s bought himself a couple of extra months!”