Matthew Easton is a Visual designer at Volvo and has been responsible for the design behind the all new digital instrument cluster seen in the new V40. He tells us about his inspiration and the greatest challenges in creating a world class instrument cluster that adjusts to the driver’s needs - rather than the other way around.
There are three different set-ups of information where the driver can choose between the themes Eco, Performance and Elegance depending on the driving situation.
Matthew, what is so special about the visual design in the 555 DIM?
It’s based on Volvo’s deep knowledge gathered from many tests with customers and concepts, and it’s perfectly optimized to create a state of the art driver experience.
What was your mission as a designer when creating the new dashboard?
I wanted to create a clean and simple design using the high resolution and graphics to the max. The discreet logic working in the background makes it the most advanced design today, with different themes according to what the driver needs or wants at any given moment.
What inspired you as visual designer when it came to the look of 555DIM?
Some things came from a concept car I was part of earlier, the Volvo S60 Concept – the eclipse shapes for example. And then I used my interest in Scandinavian nature and my fascination of solar eclipses and jellyfish.
What about the 3 themes/modes?
The three themes are great examples on what is possible with this technology.
The Eco mode is designed to give you all the information you need to drive eco friendly.
The performance mode transforms the cluster to a more power focused interaction.
And the elegance mode is very near a traditional elegant cluster.
Can you say something about the graphics?
Yes, the graphics are the real jewel here. Everything from the amazing helicopter perspective parking assist visuals, to the more simple features, as adaptive cruise control and the warnings or the belt reminder that is designed to present the information as a great visual experience and make everyday life both better and easier for the driver.
How do you as a visual designer look on the future of this new field of car technology?
We see now that the future is here already. This new screen technology for instrument clusters opens up for endless possibilities. However, compared to a computer game, a real car has to fulfill a number of requirements in order to secure traffic safety.
How do you see visual information in cars develop in the future?
At the moment we carry over a lot from traditional analog information clusters to the digital screen. I’m sure we will find surprising new ways of making information beautiful and exciting, as well as clear and precise. The gaming industry, smart phones, and TV graphics – it will all inspire the auto industry as well. The car is a part of our daily life and has to develop together with it.