Trends: Headlamp Wallpaper

Headlamps are a major area of change in automotive design. Though exterior form language serves as a brand signifier, head and taillamps remain vital elements in creating a strong brand identity. Grille shapes define a vehicle’s ‘face’, but the head- and taillamps are its eyes.

Now we see a new trend: ‘headlamp wallpaper’. The moves the focus away from the can shape or projector/ LED unit and focuses on the lower, horizontal inner surface of the unit.

As lamp become recessed and cars gain more plan shape at their corners, this lower, inner surface of the unit grows in depth – and becomes more noticeable. It’s getting adorned with a micro-graphic, that in some cases has a raised/recessed profile, reminiscent of wallpaper. In time, we may expect these patterns to be developed into new micro design signatures for the brands in question.

Audi Allroad Shooting Brake Concept
Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept lamp detail Audi Allroad Shooting Brake concept (2014)
The Allroad Shooting Brake, which previewed elements of the new TT, featured the most prominent application of this trend to date. The pattern is almost a ‘dogtooth’ graphic — itself recently in fashion.

Audi Sport Quattro Concept
Audi Sport Quattro concept (2013) audi-sport-quattro-concept-lamp-detail.
The Sport Quattro featured advanced laser lamps. But in front of the unit was an almost chequer-board pattern wallpaper that added detail, intrigue and increased perceived quality around the front end.

BMW 5-Series
BMW 5 Series lamp detail bmw_5series_lamp-detail-02
The 5-Series received a recent light facelift. The new version features an interesting variation on the wallpaper trend. Some blocks feature a diagonal, raised pattern, while some are white and some gray.

Kia GT4 Stinger concept
Kia GT4 Stinger concept (2014) Kia GT4 Stinger concept lamp detail
The GT4 Stinger’s lamps were one of its many, notable design features. The lamps appear ‘tiered’ thanks to horizontal, open sections in front of the main projectors. These tiers had a series of lines running longitudinally into/out of the car.


This article originally appeared on Car Design Research and was republished with permission. Read more of their insights here


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