Hot Wheels and
Chicago Auto Show 2019
Up and Coming Design at the Auto Show
Over the course of 111 shows since 1901, the Chicago Auto Show has become North America’s largest running automobile show. This year’s show drew in all makes and models of car enthusiasts, giving consumers, designers, salespersons, and young fans alike, an opportunity to get up close and personal with the industry’s newest concepts.
Several designers from our Chicago studio took us behind the scenes to get a closer look at what concepts are emerging at the show. Fueled by their shared passion for elegant, efficient, and powerful transportation design, Andreas Bell (President), Cliff Krapfl (Vice President), and Mike Herbert (Industrial Designer) set to sketching, debating, and walking the expo in search of the best automobile design trends of 2019.
This year’s show highlighted intentional lines and surface. In the world of automobile design, this means sculpting light on the 3D body of a vehicle so that its form and highlights flow together as beautifully as possible.
This type of surfacing takes time to execute but its prevalence in multiple featured designs at this year’s show is proof that such design is was worth taking the time. Thoughtful intersections highlight innovation, cohesive design, and attention to craftsmanship that consumers are likely to continue to find compelling in the near future.
Maximalism in Layered Detailing
A common sight across many different brands this year was a noteworthy amount of details present on exterior components. Details such as grilles and lights have often been an opportunity for automakers draw in consumers with innovative material and compelling graphic shapes.
Extending this trend to other practices of product design, we predict that building brand identity through composing unique, exciting details will soon be prevalent across many emerging consumer goods.
Interrupting Form and Graphic Continuity
Though vehicle design trends at the 2019 Chicago Auto Show favored integrating lines and surfaces, there was also a visible trend of using dramatic shifts in color, material, and form to create breakups in the vehicle.
While the use of graphic breakup is a common trend in household products, its execution in automotive design is inspiring and innovative. Embracing this style trend in design opens new doors for interrupted form with techniques outside of color blocking, introducing creative solutions using materials to solve conventional design problems.
Looking at a car is more than a good way to get industrial designers’ wheels turning. From medical tools to transportation, graphic design to consumer goods, visual design historically drives consumer trends, sales, and even everyday perceptions of the product functionality. The idea is that good design inspires more good design.
New trends found the automotive industry can serve as a source of inspiration for product design, and help all designers better target individual users and consumer markets. Overall, the 2019 Chicago Auto Show was a joy ride for our Chicago designers. We hope you look forward to seeing our integration of these trends as they drive us forward to design products of empathy.