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Casting Identities in Light

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IN the lexicon of automakers’ design studios, two abbreviations — D.R.G., for down the road graphic, and D.L.O., for the daylight opening area of the windows — crop up frequently. Together, they refer to the characteristic form of a car that makes it instantly recognizable, the profile that quickly tells a viewer whether the vehicle is a Fusion or a Forester, an Eclipse or an Elantra.

But what happens to the graphic on the road when there is no daylight?

Designers can rely on lighting to help make sure their cars are easily identified in the dark. Besides illuminating the pavement ahead and signaling turns, lights — often referred to as jewelry by auto designers — are being used to express brand identity and model personality. The sapphire blue of high-intensity headlights or the ruby red of LED taillights are being deployed like a signature necklace or an ID bracelet.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/10/automobiles/10LIGHT.html

On the Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon, LEDs are deployed in upright strips that echo the traditional Cadillac tailfin.


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