Parkinson: To me, the big story is the fact that we do have one bowtie globally. It’s one surface, one shape, one approach. It’s our corporate identity for Chevrolet on every product. It wasn’t that many years ago that you’d go to other parts of the world and the bowtie was very different; some bowties had circles of chrome around them, other bowties were very different proportionately. They were very individual. So, it wasn’t just here, in North America, but globally we were really all over the map.

Largely, spearheaded by a push from Design — a push from Ed Welburn — we were able to get to that point where we had a common bowtie execution around the world. So, it’s like we worked really hard to get all the puppies back in the box. Now, we’ve got a real strong relationship with the Chevy Marketing team. We have folks here in Design and Engineering, and even in part of Planning, that all have specific branded assignments to be a part of the Chevrolet team. We’re working together to be sure we have a very consistent face for the brand to the customer, in everything from the dealership experience, to the dealership look and show displays, right down to the details of the bowtie itself.

You mentioned [in prior written correspondence], what we call, the “flowtie.” You know, I’ve heard some speculate, wondering if the story of how it came to be was really true or something we’d kind of made up. But it actually happened, exactly that way. I remember meeting with Tom Peters a number of times in the studio as we were finishing up the Z/28 and all of the efforts we were going through to make sure that the vehicle got the cooling that it needed — which is a huge part of how that vehicle can perform at the level it does. Right at the end we’d run everything out of it and the only thing left to try was punching that hole in the center of the bowtie. And it got us exactly what we needed.

In that regard, we feel we still held true to the bowtie. The frame around it is the same as what’s on every other bowtie. We’ve lived up to the mission of what that vehicle is and the bowtie is highly recognizable. We have talked to our customers and asked them, “What is a Chevy bowtie to you?” We showed them the gold bowtie and that’s very recognizable but we’ve also showed them what we’re calling the “flowtie” on the Z/28 and that’s extremely recognizable, as well — and that’s key for us. We want people to see our brand expression for Chevrolet in the emblem and have it be very recognizable.

The black bowtie began its life as an accessory. We like to watch what our customers are doing and where the trends are going, and we thought it was important to offer an accessory to our customer that we started to see out in the marketplace. But we wanted to offer one that was executed to the same degree of quality as the mainstream, official corporate emblem of the gold bowtie. So, that’s where the beginning of the accessory bowtie came in.

We also wanted to make sure that we had flexibility. As we planned special models and special editions, we would have a conversation with Alan Batey and the Chevrolet team as a whole and, where we felt it made sense and given what the mission of the specific special edition was, we would agree in that instance to make a deviation from our standard approach and allow that accessory black bowtie to go onto a production edition vehicle. It is something that we want to keep to just a few vehicles, we don’t want to let it proliferate its way through the whole. We want to stick with the mainstream bowtie on the lion’s share of our vehicles.

We’re trying to walk a fine line, we want to make sure that everything remains highly recognizable for our customers when it really communicates the level of quality. The work that was done just to get that bowtie executed the way it is, everything from the finish to the proportion, the different parts, was a tremendous effort and we’re holding true to that and sticking with that as we go forward.

Autos of Interest: Does that leave room for other variants, yet?

Parkinson: I don’t think I’m ever going to say that there’s a line drawn in the sand that we’re never going to cross but we have to be very, very careful about how we express our brand in the bowtie. So, right now, the alternatives that we have on the table, that’s the palate that we’re working from. Again, the majority of the vehicles will have that gold bowtie.

At some point in the future, I would say we will probably look at the bowtie and evolve it. There are other examples of that with other GM makes recently. It won’t be to completely throw the bowtie out and start with something new but to evolve it and keep it fresh with the times. When that day comes, we will do it in a very organized and planned fashion — it won’t be haphazard. You’re not ever going to see a pink or camouflaged bowtie come out of Chevrolet. For right now, the bowtie as you know it is our corporate identity for all Chevrolet products and we’re holding to that.

Autos of Interest: Yeah, there are limits.

Parkinson: There are definitely limits. And I think it’s something we have to be very protective of. There are always going to be those folks, even on our own team here within Chevrolet, who want to try something new that they think is fresh but we have to be very, very careful and not stray from what is the identity of the brand.


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