Close your eyes for just a second, and picture a police car. What do you see? Our bet says that you picture something painted in black and white, probably with a police logo emblazoned on the side.
Fort Collins’ police force agrees with us. After a recent research study proved that the black-and-white cars are more recognizable and easier to notice when driving around, the city plans to replace 20% of its fleet with the new design by the end of the year. If you’re interested, you can catch the full article at the Denver Post.
This is a great example of almost perfect brand parity though color association. When you see a car – any car – painted in black and white, your first response is to tap the breaks, slow down, and make sure you aren’t violating any laws. This visual identity is so ingrained in the American sub-conscious that we’ll bet you do a double take the second you see a black car with a white door on it.
A lot of newer police cars have chosen to forgo this design in favor of a plain white or black background with discreet lettering on the side. We’re sure this leads to a lot more tickets, since there are a thousand single-colored car on the road. Yes, they’re labeled on the side – but should you really be reading the cars around you while you’re going 65 MPH down the freeway?
There’s a reason we all recognize the black-and-white police car; the design has been around as long as anyone can remember. Over the years, there have been variations in make, model, and paint job, but the black-and-white colors have almost always stayed the same.
If you’re anything like us, you don’t just want to read about these designs; you want to see them as well. So, without further ado, here are some of our favorite black-and-white designs. (To get the full effect, we recommend listening to the Cops theme song as you flip through the images.)