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Melbourne’s Bikefest exists purely in celebration of the bike, favouring none of the many cycling groups and communities. It is this celebration and passion for cycling that inspired creative director Andy Sargent, and his team at SouthSouthWest, to take on this identity project. Sargent explains, “We all ride ourselves, so it’s a great job to be able to work on. Part of the advantage of having your own studio is being able to juggle things to make room for meaningful and rewarding projects like this.”
Bikefest held its inaugural event in 2010 and its second run in December 2011. The foundations for this identity (which were devised for Bikefest 2010) are considered both in their design and communication. Sargent explains, “It’s intentionally egalitarian, representing all the different cycling tribes – allowing for festival events to sit under the identity and to appeal to different members of the cycling community.”
Collaboration was key throughout the project – thematically, of course, but also in its development. Sargent and his team worked alongside Carla McKee, Simon Mundy and Rob Cordiner, who all contributed “to the shaping of the aesthetic” and its overall success. Although the Bikefest logo is gifted with a brilliantly strong aesthetic, Sargent reveals “the identity is intentionally neutral in style or influence”, as a way of satisfying a broad range of cyclists. Inspiration was diverse. Sargent’s team drew from vintage lugs, decals, street signage, line markings and, unsurprisingly, wheels. “The graphic language of wheels was conceived as a playful reflection of the individuality and custom culture of cycling that can be spun in any number of ways,” he explains. The team did not shy away from using the wheel metaphor. It is a strong, instantly recognisable symbol, which means as much about biking as it does community.
It is a strong design, with bold typography and a slew of biking metaphors, but at the heart of this identity is a logo that expresses the core of Bikefest: community. “The logo itself is bold and robust, yet slightly decorative. McKee first linked the guys and girls’ bikes (at the heart of the logo) capturing the idea of coming together for the love of bikes in a wonderfully minimal and graphic way,” says Sargent. These subtle touches really give the identity a sense of sincerity. There is nothing heavy-handed about their approach; from the warm, welcoming colours to the playful use of geometry, this event isn’t about preaching the virtues of cycling, and nor is the identity.
The logo, moving into 2012, has had to accommodate Bikefest’s success and the direction that it is taking. The first event gained a lot of attention from the Melbourne cycling crowd, and Sargent is working on making sure the identity grows alongside it. “By creating a robust identity that is not heavily informed by any particular theme, the identity could – and has – lived on past the festival.” To aid in its ability to live on, the team has refined the logo. It no longer houses the year, which obviously lacks the permanence they are seeking. Rather, ‘MELB’ is mirrored above and below the central design – a subtle change that adds to its already ever present symmetry. It’s not often that you see a festival aspiring to include everyone, most likely because creating, designing and branding an event that represents everyone is exceptionally daunting. But the team at SouthSouthWest seems to have pulled it off, creating a logo and identity that, at its heart, screams unity.
From desktop magazine.
All images are courtesy of Bikefest.