Glossary: Key design terms

Jul 5, 2018

Bauhaus: A defining style in design, art and architecture which arose in response to expressionism at the beginning of the 20th century. Walter Gropius founded the Staatliches Bauhaus as a school of art in Weimar in 1919. The succinct character of Bauhaus and the manner in which it strips everything down to the essentials are also manifested in Mercedes-Benz design and represent poles of the design philosophy.

Colour & trim: Area of interior design. In addition to exterior paint finishes, the main focus here is on colours and appointments (e.g. trim) for the interior. For the surface finishing, the colour & trim designers choose materials and colours from hundreds of fabric, leather, wood and metal samples. The effects of the materials' touch and feel and the employed colours are configured and defined in realistic conditions in 1:1 interior mock-ups.

Corporate design: The visual appearance of a company and its brands, also as part of the corporate identity (CI). CD covers the entire scope of corporate communications, from the logo through stationery to internet sites, appearances at events and fairs, architecture, clothing, etc.

Design freeze: The final phase of the free design process, in which all the design specifications are finalised and technically feasible. The design process is "frozen" in this state and approved for the preparation of series production.

Brand aesthetic: Every brand has its own distinct aesthetic. This visualises the brand's values and positioning and renders the brand accessible on an emotional level. The aim is to strengthen the brand's identity and customers' identification with the brand, thereby raising its profile and engendering intellectual and emotional associations. The brand aesthetic is embodied first and foremost in the product, and can also be expressed by means of various identity-shaping attributes, including atmosphere, colour mood, materials, graphics and typeface, for example.  

Model approval: Each design process concludes with approval of the model by the Board of Management. Following this approval, the new Mercedes-Benz is released for production.

Moodboard: This work-aid and presentation tool consists of a collage of photographs, drawings and concise captions. Moodboards help to inspire creative processes by visualising ideas and conveying atmosphere.

Stitched facing: Leather or artificial leather covering for the dashboard or other interior components, consisting of various pieces which are stitched together by hand.

Power Wall: The projection screen on which the designers are able to view and analyse their designs or data models on a scale of 1:1 from various perspectives and in various settings.

Rapid prototyping fast model making): Generic term for various production processes whereby sample components and prototypes are produced particularly quickly by reference to CAD data. Methods applied here include stereolithography and 3D printing.

Rendering: A graphic representation which is produced from a sketch, a model or CAD data with the aid of computer technology or directly by electronic means.

Creases: Design feature. A recess which serves to define the character of surfaces. The role of creases is diminishing as the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy of Sensual Purity evolves.

Interior mock-up: A 1:1 scale model to represent the interior of an automobile. These mock-ups model the geometries and surface finishes inside the vehicle. Mock-ups serve to examine the ergonomics of the driver's area and to assess and select colour & trim variants, for example.

Stereolithography: A rapid prototyping method whereby high-precision plastic components are produced directly from the CAD data. Working with a liquid, light-sensitive plastic (photopolymer) the solid areas of the component are exposed to light from a laser beam, causing them to set.

Spline data: The spline of a vehicle is the mathematically perfect geometric representation of the visible interior and exterior surfaces, taking into account all technical and aesthetic design requirements. The spline data are approved by Design and forwarded via the Development units to the toolmaker's shop.

UX design (User Experience Design): A specialised area of design dedicated to fashioning an overall user experience. UI design is a sub-area of UX design.

UI design (User Interface Design): Design field focusing on the interaction between man and machine, that is, control panels and interfaces.

Virtual reality: 'Virtual reality' refers to an all-embracing computer-generated simulation of reality, which is usually brought tangibly to life by means of special data eyeglasses. The Mercedes-Benz design team uses this technology to visualise diverse concepts relating to all aspects of the car development and design process and to bring these concepts to life in interactive form.