Color choices for the 2017 Dodge Challenger include Yellow Jacket, White Knuckle, Contusion Blue and Green Go.

Color choices for the 2017 Dodge Challenger include Yellow Jacket, White Knuckle, Contusion Blue and Green Go. 

Design | October 04 2016

Dodge Gets More Emotional With Color Names

Whichever Dodge vehicle you put into your garage, the emotion is baked in – heritage styling, neck-bending performance, forward-looking interiors.

Now, the emotion is baked on, too.

There’s more to choosing a color for a 2017 Dodge Challenger, Charger, Journey, ViperDurango or Grand Caravan than just deciding between red and blue. It’s debating the merits of Blu By You vs. White Knuckle vs. Maximum Steel Metallic.

Not your normal names for car colors, and they didn’t come from a plodding corporate committee. Instead, about a dozen people spent an afternoon in the Dodge studio in the FCA Design office throwing ideas at a color wall to see what would stick – and not get them fired.

“Dodge has this awesome history to pull from with color,” says Mark Trostle, head of Dodge design. “It’s been very successful over the years with names like B5 Blue and Plum Crazy. Whether a customer remembers those from when they were new in the ‘60s and ‘70s or they’re a new customer today, they love the names.”

Visit most any car show or classic car auction and you’re bound to come across examples of the eye-catching rainbow of colors that rolled out of the factory more than 40 years ago. Known as High Impact Paint (HIP), the roster included names such as Panther Pink, HEMI Orange, Top Banana, Sassy Grass, Go Mango and Plum Crazy.

Some of those colors – Sublime, Plum Crazy, B5 Blue – have reappeared for periods of time on Dodge’s modern-day muscle cars, the Charger and Challenger.

“Our heritage-inspired paint names are just one example of how the Dodge brand attitude is in everything we do, even a simple detail like a color name,” says Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands, Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat – FCA North America. “This is more than just a catchy way to call out our paint. These names connect with our customers, speaking to their personality, their car passion and their love of Dodge.”

But not every color in the current Dodge palette crackles with the emotion the brand represents.

“We knew we had some names we could improve on,” Trostle says.

So, Trostle, along with Color and Materials Head of Design La Shirl Turner and Dodge Brand Director Tom Sacoman, gathered the small group in the lounge area of the Dodge studio for some colorful brainstorming.

“Once we got on a roll, we had a ton of names,” Turner says. “Color has personality when you see it, so we wanted names that add excitement.”

It was more complex than just picking a name for white and a name for red because there are various shades of each color, and some are solid while others have a metallic component. So, the 2017 Dodge color palette includes White Knuckle, Vice White and White Noise, for example.

Turner and her team spend plenty of time each year devising names for materials and surface finishes, as well as paint colors. “Everything has an identity, everything is emotional,” she says. “Giving it a name helps us communicate that emotion, even for a fabric.”

Trostle and Turner acknowledge that there were plenty of suggestions that didn’t make the cut.

“We knew we were pushing the boundaries of some of them,” Trostle says. “You don’t want to make people uncomfortable.”

Yet the final list includes some of the wilder suggestions, such as Contusion Blue and Bruiser Gray.

Here is the full list of Dodge color names for 2017.

The hardest color to create emotional names for? Trostle and Turner agree it was brown. We think Stout Brown is a fine choice.

Turner also says she kept the list of every name suggested. So there may be sequels.

“We need to keep building on this,” Trostle says. “It speaks to emotion in the vehicles in the Dodge lineup. And it makes our jobs fun. Our passionate customers love that.”

Dale Jewett

Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters
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Do you know your blood type? Mine is 100 octane (not your standard blood bank classification). At any given moment, I’m thinking about cars – driving one, fixing one, buying one or (in my dreams) restoring one. So I love to tell stories that involve horsepower, brake and wheel diameters and 0-to-60 times – and the people who make it happen. Because behind every awesome vehicle are amazing people with vision and the desire to make it a reality. I cover Mopar, Dodge, SRT and motorsports for FCA Digital Media. I learned to drive on a 1973 Jeep CJ-5 with the rare Super Jeep option package and three-speed manual transmission. I still belong to the dwindling club of people who prefer to shift their own gears, and think the best way to drive is with the top down!