For my first post on the world-renowned Allan Peters blog I thought I’d shake things up a bit. I’m tired of seeing posts on unattainable design shops and right-out-of-school-kids portfolios that are better than mine;) Let’s discuss something that levels the playing field and eliminates the competitive nature of this industry. It’s summer. Let’s chill out and talk bikes.
Graphic designers and bicycling have become intertwined over the years. It’s in no small part credited to bike brands putting a priority on smart branding, and quality design with customizable aesthetics. Sure, bikes are fun to ride and useful in getting from point A to point B, but they’re also objects of beauty. Ever heard someone mention “lusting” after their dream bike? It can be a strong desire to have a sexy bike in your possession that you had a part in crafting, even if it’s just installing new handlebars.
Additionally, there seems to be some less obvious connections between designer and bicycle. The glorious simplicity of a track bike frame as it relates to the architecture of a typographic character. The flourish-like details of a lugged frame. The tactility of steel, leather, cork, and rubber reinforces our love for printed matter; something you can still touch. And let’s not overlook the importance of branding in all this. Frame graphics, head badges, miniature engraved logos on every component acting as little calling cards for the manufacturers. When all these elements come together in excellent fashion it invokes a sense of awe.
In light of all this, here’s a list of bicycle brands that have impacted me as a designer and rider; in high, mid, and low pricing tiers. These brands are relevant for different reasons; beautiful branding, smart business models, or just sheer craftsmanship of the bicycles themselves.
Have some to add, friends? Leave a comment with your favorite bike brands, and don’t forget to point out the beauty in the details.