Spring Cycling Graphics, Beyond the Style Guide

I’ve been working on some fun design projects over the last couple weeks. With the UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team getting into some pretty big spring classics this year they have wanted to make a splash with sponsors and as such we put together some pretty neat sponsor only booklets that explain the spring classics. The general concept was to help highlight the importance and difficulty of the races for our sponsors who might not be steeped in the cycling culture. I took it as an opportunity to put together something that highlighted the heritage of the races and was able to depart from the general style guide that we adhere to for of most of the team publications.

My first thought was that I wanted to emulate something similar to the amazing abstract cycling imagery of Caleb Kozlowski who has some fantastic vintage styled posters. I started in with the abstract only cover, and ended up using the other one with the grainy image of the cobbles because it seemed to provide a bit more emotion.

I also knew that I wanted this to be pretty plain as far a not tons of copy, so I just wrote a little historical and sporting bio on each race and created a two page spread for the three races we featured: Milan – San Remo, and Paris – Roubaix, La Fl├Ęche Wallone. It was pretty interesting, I’ve known about these races for many years but hadn’t actually done any research on them, now that I’ve done some cursory looking into them it would be interesting to write a bit more about their history. Maybe that will be next year’s project.

The whole project spurred from the possibility of the team going to Paris-Roubaix, which is an immensely big deal. So, initially the whole booklet was to be only 6 pages and focus on one race. It was expanded, but we still kept Paris-Roubaix as the primary focus getting more copy and this cool quote from Sporting Director Hendrik Redant, who used to be a spring classics specialist in his racing days.
Stylistically I wanted to use spring colors and create a modern interpretation of vintage styles. So, lots of white space, fairly plain layouts, and no gradients. Overall I’m pretty happy with the way the booklets turned out, and I’ve been having a bit of fun changing images into vectors and playing with mono or duo chromatic stuff lately. I think I might make some one or two color screen prints this summer as time allows.

Overall I think it was a fun exercise – the style guides we generally go by call for uniform fonts, and maybe my use of three different header fonts wasn’t a good one, but I thought each race name needed its own flare. Also, all of the colors used were style-guide correct, but were some of the lesser used colors, which made it a bit more interesting than usual. Commonly everything about the team is blue and white, so this has a much different feel to it. All in all I’m happy with the results, we might be doing some more items like this for the big US Races – so we’ll see what turns up as the season progresses.

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