Vehicle personalization is all the rage these days and Audi has developed a new technique for painted surfaces that could take off in a big way.

The technique, which will initially be made available on the R8 supercar, enables virtually any symbol to be embedded within a painted surface. The resulting symbol has a matte appearance that contrasts with the surrounding polished surface, and unlike conventional lettering and stickers it remains weather resistant.

Audi uses a special powder that roughens the clear lacquer that protects a painted surface to a depth of a few thousandths of a millimeter so that individual markings become visible. With a template of the desired symbol placed on the car’s surface, the special powder is applied via a spray so that the application is even.

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2017 Audi R8 with matte “Audi Sport” logo embedded on side blades

2017 Audi R8 with matte “Audi Sport” logo embedded on side blades

Here we see an “Audi Sport” logo in the clear lacquer applied on top of the carbon fiber side blade of an R8. Through the Audi Exclusive personalization program, R8 buyers will be able to choose any symbol they like to be applied to the car, though only on the side blades at present and only if the desired symbol doesn’t infringe on any trademarks.

Audi says it plans to extend the option to buyers of other models in the future.

It wasn’t long ago that vinyl wraps were everywhere. Perhaps car tattoos applied using this technique, or more conventional methods, are the next big thing.