Go Faster: The Graphic Design of Racing Cars

While the go-faster stripe is a classic design element of the racing car, the look of these vehicles is rarely created by a designer. Sven Voelker looks at the unexplored area of fast and furious graphic art in new book, Go Faster

While the go faster stripe is a classic design element of the racing car, the look of these vehicles is rarely created by a designer. Sven Voelker looks at the unexplored area of fast and furious graphic art in new book, Go Faster…

In a supporting film from publishers Gestalten (below), Voelker talks about the relationship between the cars’ aerodynamics and their graphic aesthetic, which enables the vehicle to give the impression of being “visually faster”.

Alongside the chevrons, the stripes and arrows, there are some more adventur­ous designs included in Go Faster.

Take the Porsche 917/20 from the 1970s, painted pig pink and marked out like a butcher’s diagram identifying the various cuts of meat – which led its sponsors, Martini, to withdraw their logos from the car.

The larger plastic body shells that appeared in the 70s offered more space for artwork, but it was commercial backers like Marlboro and John Player that often dominated the colourways with their branding.

Voelker notes that BMW has a good track record of employing artists to work on its cars, however. Alexander Calder, Andy Warhol and David Hockney all painted its vehicles. Perhaps a resurgence in commissioning artists could add some extra colour to the next F1 season?

A brightly coloured James Jarvis overtaking Hamilton’s Vodaphone McLaren Mercedes would be a sight to behold.

Go Faster is published by Gestalten; £22. Some spreads from the book follow below:

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