"It was design by
dictatorship. All else, this marketing, these focus groups, what
have you, is bullshit."
– Mini Clubman chief designer, Gerd Hildebrand.
(I love this quote because it acknowledges the unique role which talents plays in the realm of visceral design. If you have talented, highly-trained and educated designers, why would you second-guess their aesthetic judgment based on the input of folks off the street? Yes, test the hell out of the behavioral elements of your offerings — fit, function, ergonomics — but leave the visceral, and to some extent the reflective meaning, up to the people who get it)
this link exposes the bravado as just that (from a great design mind) as he credits his team and market feedback: http://video.msn.com/dw.aspx?mkt=en-us&dw=1&rf=http://autos.msn.com/as/minishow/videogallery.aspx?s=geneva2006&fg=&from=03&vid=7bdb9c61-e6a8-4600-ba45-495f427da900&playlist=VideoByUUids%3auuids%3a2f9e6685-db0b-4e59-80b9-ad105d1eeab4%2ccb671d87-0554-474b-9dc9-6ca75ef6c182%2cfb36d12c-071a-4dbf-982b-053c3c7cd235%2cfce7532e-ee81-4d7c-ae3d-8a483a175173%2cc902c93b-de82-41c6-91c2-809afda4f0f2%2c1e28c0a7-822b-4859-a969-92b094caf24f%2c8720e0ca-2eb5-4f04-a2d0-f0f6996ebce1%2c330d6b74-d045-4c8f-b1a6-ce300d66bc7f%2cf12f9a16-a718-4f72-9fd1-94fa2ff98fff%3asm%3a0&showPlaylist=true
but then again…. Henry Lieberman (MIT Media Lab – The Tyranny of Evaluation) http://web.media.mit.edu/~lieber/Misc/Tyranny-Evaluation.html