All-new Renault Austral: Hiding style with style
Before its official presentation, a new model undergoes its first tests on open roads wearing a camouflage designed to hide its lines and styling secrets. Why not transform the camouflage of the prototypes into a real artistic creation? This is the challenge taken up by François, a designer in the Renault Group's Design Department. He explains how he created a specific sticker to hide the lines of the All-new Renault Austral.
All-new Renault Austral covered in a unique graphic camouflage
On social networks, on the Internet or in specialized magazines, the hunt for "spyshots" of new models is in full swing throughout the year. The shots are numerous, but vehicles are rarely nude. Most of the time, the prototypes immortalized in flagrante delicto test drives on open roads are carefully covered with more or less psychedelic black and white stickers. The aim is simple: to protect the future models from prying eyes so that their official unveiling remains a surprise.
These camouflages hide or distort the striking lines and characteristic design elements of a new model. This often concerns the grille, the edges of the wings, the bonnet, the headlights and even the brand’s logo.
While Renault’s Design teams are proud of their designs, they are traditionally forced to make their work appear ugly so it can remain a secret right through to the official reveal.
By working on this camouflage, we wanted to make the final test phases of All-new Austral a new highlight in the official reveal, while at the same time carrying the brand's new visual identity. François, Lead Designer in the Renault Group's Design Department
Hide with style
For its " preliminary reveal ", the All-new Renault Austral has been covered with a unique sticker, imagined and designed by François. Truly inspired, the covering enhances rather than detracts from the vehicle’s look. While full of strikingly graphic lines, it nevertheless serves its primary function: that of camouflaging. But it does it with style!
The camouflage hides the grille, the edges of the wings, the bonnet, the headlights and the brand logo.
There are two main ways that car manufacturers like to keep things under wrap:
- fake padding or prosthetic attachments that help conceal the car’s true shape;
- a sticker covering that acts like a second skin over the car’s body.
When designing the sticker covering for the All-new Renault Austral, François, kept coming back to two fundamental questions: "Why must you hide something beautiful beneath an ugly façade?” and "Why can’t you hide art with art?“
During World War I, Anglo-Saxon warships used a camouflage called "dazzle" or "razzle dazzle". The ships were entirely covered with very graphic shapes, only in black and white. This strong contrast was intended to break up perspective, reflections and light.
François’s work was inspired by the basic principles of dazzle painting
At this stage in the development of All-new Austral, it was essential to "trap" the perception of its general lines as much as possible. To do so, François’s work was inspired by the basic principles of dazzle painting: the strong contrast of black and white, a vector of optical vibrations.
From the beginning of the project, he wanted to work with the new brand codes, particularly the emblem. Iconic, the Renault diamond is conducive to the play of lines with its history and the graphic themes inscribed in its genes. François used it as a basis for inspiration. By playing with variations in scale, he has created an impacting motif with a strong identity.
The originality, aestheticism and modernity of Renault's new visual identity was thus used to blur the characteristic shapes of All-new Austral. This artistic creation was an opportunity to highlight the brand and the model.
The strong contrast of black and white, the different scales of the patterns, the touches of fluorescence and the overlapping layers create a complex graphic camouflage.
Bringing to the light
For the camouflage of the All-new Renault Austral, François relied on the strong contrast of black and white, the different scales as well as material processing to accentuate the contrast. The fluorescent colour increases the overall impact.
Far from being a single run-of-the-mill sticker, the All-new Renault Austral covering is made of individual sections, each tailor made to perfectly fit their respective segments on the body then pieced together like a giant puzzle.
A 3D model of the All-new Renault Austral was used to perfectly match the shapes and reliefs of the support such as the bonnet or the rear wings.
The patterns are smaller at the front and get bigger at the rear to accentuate the disturbances there. François has played with the diamond by creating breaks and overlaps on the rear side, where the car's design expression is very strong. The grille and the light signatures, especially the one at the rear, have been blurred.
The superimposition of glossy elements on a first matte-looking frame brings sophistication to the whole.
The collage, piece by piece like a puzzle, required the utmost attention to detail so as not to damage the bodywork, both when cutting and when applying the sticker.
Everything had to be perfect!
Making camouflage designed to be seen; what an exciting paradox!
There is a future for ‘dazzle’ camouflage
François had already created the event camouflage for the New Mégane E-TECH Electric revealed at the Renault eWays. The need to conceal the car's lines was not as strong as for All-new Austral but the camouflage of the high-tech electric hatchback had already caused a sensation. The lines, angles and patterns were all based on the same graphic theme, which is part of Renault's visual identity.
For François, this camouflage can be infinitely adapted to all upcoming vehicles and prototypes of the brand.
Renault Design has even received requests from customers for an All-new Mégane E-TECH Electric with dazzle camouflage. Proof that one successful artistic creation can reveal another.
Renault, a historic mobility brand and pioneer of electric vehicles in Europe, has always developed innovative vehicles. With the ‘Renaulution’ strategic plan, Renault has embarked on an ambitious, value-generating transformation moving towards a more competitive, balanced and electrified range. Its ambition is to embody modernity and innovation in technology, energy and mobility services in the automotive industry and beyond.