BASF Sponsors Automobile Design Competition

Introduced in 2012, Detroit’s Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment is considered the “Fight Club of Design,” an underground, automotive industry event developed to identify emerging talent in car design.


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Shubham Singh, a student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, won the 2018 Detroit Middlecott Sketchbattle Experiment, presented by BASF, an automobile sketching competition. He won $2,500 and a championship belt designed by Mob Steel.

Introduced in 2012, the contest is Detroit’s “Fight Club of Design,” an underground, automotive industry event created to identify emerging talent in car design. Coinciding with the North American International Auto Show, the event featured 15 professional and student contestants competing in front of an audience in three timed, boxing-like rounds. Contestants were judged on sketch quality and adherence to the theme in each round. During the final round, they were asked to incorporate a special color concept into their drawings. BASF created a custom color that it called Paranormal Red specifically for the Sketchbattle.

“Paranormal Red had an eerie feel to it,” Singh says. “It was not just a single color, but a mixture of red, black, gray, orange and white that looked phenomenal on paper.”

This was the third year BASF has sponsored the Sketchbattle. “It is an incredible way to identify emerging industry designers while also getting our unique color designs integrated into their outstanding car renderings,” says Paul Czornij, head of design for BASF in North America.

Czornij was also one of the judges. Other judges included Jim Fleming, director of Cadillac Exterior Design; Mark Trostle, head of performance, passenger and utility vehicle exterior design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles; and Michael Smith, recruiting and talent manager for Ford Design.

The Sketchbattle raised more than $7,500 for Project Beautiful – Inside and Outa Michigan-based non-profit whose mission is to help people, especially women in shelters, to rebuild their lives.