Camouflage stickers with mind-bending patterns, squiggles, and swirls; car makers go to great lengths to protect their top-secret prototypes from prying eyes. The aim of these patterns is to confuse the eye and prevent industry spies from being able to focus on the vehicle’s features.
Ford’s latest camouflage, inspired by mountain ranges and based on the block pattern previously seen on the Bronco R Baja racer, uses hundreds of blue, black, and white blocks in a pixelated pattern to break up the appearance of the underlying shape of the vehicle while it’s still under development.
While Ford is not trying to hide the fact that this is the #NextGenRanger thanks to the hashtag and QR code built into the pattern, it doesn’t want to fully reveal the final design just yet.
The camouflage was designed by the team at the Melbourne Design Centre – the same design team who’ve taken the lead on all aspects of the #NextGenRanger. This camouflage pattern creates an optical illusion that makes it difficult to pick out exterior features in sunlight, while a reflective element helps hide the vehicle’s shape at night.
“We were asked to develop a camouflage that allowed you to clearly see that this is the next-generation Ranger but not see it at the same time. We wanted the design to be dynamic and exciting and build anticipation towards the reveal of #NextGenRanger without looking like a derivative of military camouflage.” said Leigh Cosentino, Design Manager at Ford Australia.
“We ended up with this design which is dense at the bottom and then the pattern becomes scattered towards the roof. It ends up being a good camouflage, is visually exciting but also gives the pattern a sense of movement. It’s not the usual static type of camouflage.”
“There’s no line work on this camo that aligns with anything on the exterior and that means you can’t see volume or shape or lines in the vehicle,” added Lee Imrie the Ford Australia designer who developed the pattern. “My intention with this design was to scatter your eye so that you can’t focus on a specific line; and the colour patching adds to that effect.”
The digitised pattern took the team two months to develop and test. It’s printed onto vinyl and applied in two stages taking up to two days to apply. The full-vehicle base layer contains the blue, black, and white blocks and is applied in the same way a regular wrap is. The second, reflective ‘layer’ consists of up to one hundred individual reflective elements hand placed on the vehicle.
The wraps will finally come off the next-generation Ranger – which has been designed and engineered in Australia for local conditions – later this year.