Volvo's reflective Life Paint turns bicycles
and clothes into high-visibility objects


Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has created a light-reflective spray designed to enhance the visibility of cyclists on city streets after dark (+ movie).


Life Paint comes in a small spray can and consists of a liquid material made up of light-reflective particles. In the glare of a vehicle's headlights, fabrics and surfaces coated with the spray are transformed into high-visibility objects.

The paint was developed in partnership with Swedish reflective spray manufacturer Albedo 100, which has previously created a similar product for use on the fur of pets and horses.


Volvo said that the Life Paint project was aimed specifically at cyclists to help improve road safety in the UK.

"Every year more than 19,000 cyclists are injured on the UK's roads," said Nick Connor, manager of Volvo UK. "At Volvo, we believe that the best way to survive a crash is not to crash, and are committed to making the roads a safer place by reducing the number of accidents."


The sprayable, reflective material lasts for up to one week after application and can be washed off without damaging the fabrics and surfaces it was applied to.

Subscribe to Dezeen's YouTube channel for the latest architecture and design movies

Volvo said that although the paint had been developed for cycling in cities, it could also be worn by other vulnerable road users such as pedestrians with push chairs and children.


"Volvo is a world-leader in safety technology, and we are proud to be extending our reach beyond just those driving our cars," added Conner. "We are doing our utmost to protect everyone on the road."

Life Paint is currently being trialled in six London and Kent-based cycle shops, with plans to expand the project nationally and internationally if it proves popular.


The partnership between Volvo and Albedo 100 was conceived by London-based creative agency Grey London, as one of a series of products highlighting the safety credentials of Volvo's new XC90 vehicle.

The firm has produced a movie to promote the project in which road users and survivors of accidents are interviewed, and has designed the website for the project with a map of current retailers who are stocking the paint.


It has also created "invisible" black posters using Life Paint that only reveal themselves in the flash of a camera.

Swedish manufacturer Volvo recently announced its plans to test 100 self-driving vehicles on city streets with members of the public by 2017. The scheme forms part of the company's goal of creating "a crash-free future".

  • Jenga Cat

    Can’t wait to see how people use their imagination to misuse this… (I think most people’s first thought would be to spray giant knobs on the road that flash before your eyes as you drive by at night).

  • Peter B

    I think the possibility of interactive graffiti could be beautiful. Invisible by day, illuminated by night.

    • x2x

      Don’t we already have glow-in-the-dark spray?

  • SteveLeo

    Utterly brilliant from the safety perspective. Even more fun from the misuse perspective.

    Although the ability to edit road signs and road markings could be trouble.

    • JenD

      The first rain would wash off the graffiti, from what I understand of this product.

  • Donkey

    My first thought… advertisers will have a field day with this stuff.

  • More victim blaming for cyclists.

  • B76

    Would it have killed them to try to mask or paint evenly?

  • Churitos

    Looks amazing, I but wonder what kind of materials will end up in environment?

  • hh

    Isn’t Volvo belonged to China now?

    • Professor

      Yes, it does!

  • It’s apparently too hard to give cyclists proper infrastructure, so let’s just make them dress like extras from a low budget sci-fi film. That’ll solve all the problems.

  • LPM

    Really? If a cigarette company released a new gas mask to help with air pollution people would (rightly) query it as an odd marketing move. Volvo make a paint to protect me from being squashed by a Volvo on the way to the shops and it’s a good idea?!

  • “Lasts for up to one week”, unless it rains!

  • “In the making of this film we used both reflective paint products available from Albedo100. LifePaint was used on textiles and is water based, and the other Alebdo reflective paint products are for metals and are oil based so not suitable for use on textiles due to permanent nature.”

  • Max Pieters

    One week seems quite a short time for this coating to last? I have emergency-vehicle-grade reflective stickers on my bike, helmet and rucksack that have lasted 3 years and are still superb. I wonder, is their agenda to sell more product on regular basis or really address the issue of making cycling safer? I also wonder about the environmental implications of this spray and use.

  • Wookie

    I think this is supposed to be an April 1 joke, but there are products that really do this. Such as Reflect-All and Rustoleum.

  • Rian

    It’s just a PR stunt to boost Volvo’s karma. Volvo just repackaged someone else´s product it and said they invented it!