The Audi e-tron triple 2020: this is what sustainable success looks like

With the e-tron triple 2020 wrap, Audi is celebrating Bayern Munich winning the treble in 2020. Marco Dos Santos, 33, a member of the Audi design Branding Team, is responsible for the car wrap’s exclusive design and in this interview gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the extraordinary design project that is the Audi e-tron triple 2020.

11/30/2020 Reading Time: 4 min

Marco, tell us briefly about the fascinating challenges you face in Audi design. What does the job description ‘design branding’ actually entail?
It’s my job to develop visual languages which start on the product, but then also form a visual link in communications and event-driven architecture. Taking the e-tron as an example, you can apply the design to the car as a vinyl film, for instance, but also as a print, perhaps for use in print motifs, or go further and turn it into milled 3D objects. So, I ensure that a story is constantly retold visually, even if the perspective changes.

Were you able to draw on a wealth of experience in successful car wrapping projects for the design of the Audi e-tron triple 2020?
Yes. Since the launch of the e-tron 2018, we have been using wrap designs to emphasise the tremendous technological leap to a fully electric car on the street, too, with a kind of design camouflage: here is something new! The focus was on the battery, which we visually divided from the body with so-called power stripes on the side sills. Since then, we have further developed our design as the e-tron’s technology has developed and we are now using an outline-based, technology inspired design language that stretches around the car like a high-tech grid. The basic logic of separating body and battery remains unchanged but is, of course, more progressive as the design, like the technology, is constantly changing in its pursuit of perfection.

This kind of wrapping is like a made-to-measure suit for the car.

Marco Dos Santos, Team Audi design Branding

Marco Dos Santos

The Audi e-tron triple 2020 celebrates not only FC Bayern’s current successes, but also takes fans and customers with it into a future way of life?
That’s right, everything at Audi is in flux and striving towards the future. At Audi design we work with the aim of designing the future. It’s obvious in some places, in others it needs a second look at specific details.

How did you approach the challenging job of the Audi e-tron triple 2020 design?
This kind of wrapping is like a made-to-measure suit for the car. Every line must sit exactly in the right place, so that design and shape harmonise and emphasise the car’s character. It’s therefore necessary to develop a feeling for which parts of the car you want to highlight and which you’re going to treat in a neutral fashion. Where do you place prominent elements, where do you hold back? That’s how you then find the balance.

What details do you use to achieve this balance on the Audi e-tron triple 2020?
On the side view, the FC Bayern logo is located on the charging point flap. The eye is drawn back to this again and again, and it immediately becomes clear that this is an e-tron, because right next to the logo sits the most prominent ‘e’ of the whole wrap. In the overall tradition of Audi full-electrification wraps, the e-tron power stripes differentiate the battery from the body. Here we show the e-tron high-tech logic with a Bayern reference. The shade of red we employ supports this as Bayern also make use of this colour. Where the two brands meet, it is important to create ‘a stage’ for FC Bayern within this Audi design on which the sporting successes of the treble are celebrated.

The FC Bayern logo in pure white therefore sits prominently on the bonnet, where it really stands out. The tyre print on the wheels addresses the treble and is another detail that ensures the balance I’ve already mentioned. In the design process, you must balance the weighting of the elements again and again until you’ve found the perfect design.

Incidentally, the red of the e-tron elements is a special fluorescent colour which would not be achievable with the usual printing processes and so guarantees exclusive attention.

“Exceptional results can only be achieved with maximum commitment, motivation, performance and a lot of emotion. In this respect, e-tron and FC Bayern are a match made in heaven.”

Marco Dos Santos, Team Audi design Branding

So, the Audi e-tron triple 2020 equally embodies the power of e-tron technology and the dominance of FC Bayern in the Bundesliga, DFB Cup and Champions League in 2020…
Exactly. A car with such a wrap won’t fade into the background, rather it wants to be seen and to convey a sporty, agile and powerful presence. When the car drives through the city, it will immediately be clear in communication and design terms what it’s about. As well as the sporting success of Bayern Munich, the stripes on the ‘muscle’, i.e. on the curvatures above the wheels which contract at the doors, emphasise Audi’s sportiness, and the power stripes bring the e-tron’s technology to the fore.

How would you classify the Audi e-tron triple 2020 in the current zeitgeist, which is characterised by all kinds of social upheavals – not least in terms of mobility?
I believe that Audi doesn’t just deliver the degree of precision and functionality in the development of e-tron technology that we are accustomed to and which we expect. It also tells strong and emotional stories. This is important, because we live in a time in which it is no longer enough simply to develop something very good in a little backroom somewhere, you also have to take society with you on the journey.

So, the triple 2020 edition, which celebrates FC Bayern for its sporting successes, is also, in some ways, analogous to the e-tron story. Exceptional results can only be achieved with maximum commitment, motivation, performance and a lot of emotion. In this respect, e-tron and FC Bayern are a match made in heaven.

Does the Audi e-tron triple 2020 have a special meaning for you personally?
I’m already in my ninth year with Audi – and the coolest thing for me was when it became clear that everyone wants to tell the e-tron story as uncompromisingly as we’re now doing. It is precisely that passion with which the technology is being developed and with which it is also being communicated. We sense that constantly in the design process too: one door after the next is opened and pushed through in order to take the next step. Something really happens, and the e-tron triple 2020 wrap is one of those projects where you can immediately see how progressively and uncompromisingly it has been realised. It’s just great fun. Not only for me as a young designer, but also as a Bayern fan!

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