I was supposed to go bicycling tonight but I let the wimp factor overrule my desire to ride. It’s March. We’re in that nether world where winter and spring are negotiating the eventual take over.
While I sit here at my warm desk, hope rises anew. For the past month several of us cycling nerds have been planning, working on and getting donations for the first Kansas City Tweed Ride for April 3rd. Tweed Rides are about fantasizing on the “Golden Age of Bicycling” which was the 1890s. The guiding philosophy is “Style not speed. Elegance not exertion.”
So imagine yourself living in an age where sporty clothes are itchy woolens, knickers and argyle socks, snap-brim hats and long skirts or bloomers. Then gather with like-minded folk at noon in Loose Park for some civil discourse before forming a parade on penny-farthing bicycles or modern “safety bicycles,” to tour the elegant neighborhoods of Kansas City. Jolly good!
As a designer of the Tweed Ride website and other collateral, this is a fun project for me. Good . . . because the price of free work is to have fun and do whatever I want. Otherwise it’s work, right?
To brand the ride, I wanted to make a design with elements that evoke the period, the fun, some humor and spring! For me, another important element to include was a woman with her bicycle since women of that period found a means of liberation, mobility and physical fitness through bicycling that frankly, women still feel today. There are many old photos of proud women and girls with their bicycles. Cartoons of the day show that people didn’t know what to think of those wild women riding bikes in those new-fangled bloomers!
I thought our marketing materials should have a contemporary feel yet use elements from the past. To create the look, I scanned a white shirt for the speech balloon background and of course, scanned some tweed. The other items I used are:
- A copyright-free photo of a woman and her bike from the Library of Congress. Sepia tone added
- A Raleigh heron logo chainring and bike chain border made in Adobe Illustrator. Who knew hardware could be so beautiful?
- Victorian clipart man on bike, daffodils and butterfly, color added
- Victorian type styles
Our marketing mediums are WordPress, Facebook, flyers, word-of-mouth and spoke cards. On our website we added links to sources with British-influenced clothing, photos to get people in the mood, a bit of tomfoolery and links to other Tweed Rides including the full Tweed Report. We have lots of great prizes to give away and for all our extra wealth, a couple worthy charities (Revolve, and The Urban Kansas City Community of Cycling) that teach children to ride bikes.
With the event still to come we will be watching to see how effective our marketing is. Of course, the eventual outcome will depend a lot on the weather. For now, I hope to see lots of people in various vintage finery on April 3 at noon in Loose Park, so we can take many grand photos to post. Cheerio!
Laurie Chipman is an award-winning graphic designer, illustrator and marketing consultant. She specializes in designing for sustainability, energy, gardening and active transportation clients. Contact her if you would like to discuss marketing your organization or event.