BICYCLE ALLIANCE

Branding, 2017


ABOUT THE CLIENT

In Ann Arbor and the surrounding areas, there are many groups concerned with bicycles. Among them, the specific concerns include: advocacy, safety, recreation, sport, education, awareness, and more. Together, these groups involve hundreds of people, ranging from children to adults, from competitors to recreational riders. The problem, then: these groups do not communicate. Communication is limited due to the wide range of purposes and goals that these groups have. 

The main goal of the Bicycle Alliance is to forge a connection between the different bicycle groups in the area and ultimately, this would foster a community. Tighter communication and unity within these groups would lead to more influence, power, and visibility in the area. The groups would be able to share resources and mutually benefit from one another. Ideally, events would be shared (such as an organized ride sponsored by multiple groups). Each group has different skills, goals, and purposes—but there are overlaps, too; the Bicycle Alliance seeks to harness the collective power of a large, more cohesive community of bicyclists to their benefit.


CREATING THE LOGO

For the logo mark, I played with the word 'alliance'—I liked the imagery of interlocking or connected pieces, which also symbolized the Bicycle Alliance's main objective to connect groups. 

Initial concepts for the logo

Initial concepts for the logo

The clients really liked the middle row—they saw a lot of potential in the bicycles that shared a wheel. I decided to play a bit more with that icon to see what I could get out of it. I wasn't sold on the square mask that contained the bicycles, either. 

Experimenting with different mask shapes and arrangements

Experimenting with different mask shapes and arrangements

Fiddling with the bicycle icon

Fiddling with the bicycle icon

I really enjoyed the asymmetry that came from the playful tests, even though some of them lost the bicycle in the process. From these tests, I decided to lose the mask and try and harness that asymmetry. 

I settled on this arrangement to show to the client

I settled on this arrangement to show to the client

After meeting with the client, they really enjoyed the direction this was heading—however they thought that it was a little cluttered. They wanted it look sturdier, less like a pile of bicycles. They also noted that the angled handlebars looked more like a racing bike than a casual bike. 

At this point, I had already begun to play with typography. I decided to build my own typeface from the pieces of the bicycle icon. 

I decided to put emphasis on 'bicycle' by pushing back the size and weight of 'alliance.' 

I decided to put emphasis on 'bicycle' by pushing back the size and weight of 'alliance.' 

The logo went through a few more rounds of tweaks and adjustments until I started to consider color. For the colors, I chose a bright, engaging color palette that was friendly and approachable. The colors were also partially inspired by the colors you would see on your bike: greens and blues for the trees and pavement. 

palette-01.png
The final logo.

The final logo.

The final logo positioned the bicycles more on a 'flat' surface to create an illusion of stability. I also nixed the racing handles, which helped reduce the clutter and allow for some negative space.  

EXTENDING THE BRAND

I extended the style of the logo to illustrations that would be featured in many other formats, including posters, apparel, and stationery. The illustrations kept with the color scheme of the brand (with the exception of hair and skin color), which helped maintain identity presence even with a small logo. I aimed for a harmonious branding campaign that felt optimistic, friendly, and energetic. 

I created a set of characters to be featured throughout the illustrations.

I created a set of characters to be featured throughout the illustrations.

One of the poster concepts, meant to promote policy action to improve bike lane continuity throughout Ann Arbor.

One of the poster concepts, meant to promote policy action to improve bike lane continuity throughout Ann Arbor.

An ethos driven poster meant to appeal to bicyclists. 

An ethos driven poster meant to appeal to bicyclists. 

I also worked to develop a voice for the brand campaign that matched the illustrations—keeping copy short, sweet, and meaningful was my main goal. Some elements of the brand were not advocacy driven, per se, but intended to create an ethos for the brand in order to better position themselves in the community. 

Below: the process and complete branding guidelines in book format.

 
 

Read more about this project from the University of Michigan.