What makes a bike sexy? Sleek geometry gets the blood pumping, and visually simple yet technically complex components and exclusive accessories certainly lend to the appeal. But the final layer of allure to be worked on is a bike’s cosmetics—the graphics. Carina Lehmann and her colleague Claudia Kabosch take care of this detailed work.
Our ever-expanding model range and commitment to reacting quickly to the demands of our customers brought about the need for an in-house graphics deptartment. That deptartment has been in place for around a year now, with Carina joining us in January. Based at our HQ in the same open-plan office as the marketing and the product management teams, the graphics team is able to work closely with them, which means a faster and more responsive process. Put most simply, Carina’s job is to design all the necessary branding, information design, and additional graphic devices that appear on our bikes, and ensuring they work when in place on the frames and forks. Don’t think that means just sitting at a computer add day; it also means a lot of manual work and considerable attention to detail. All decals created on the computer must be tested as paper models 1:1 on the frame prototypes. When you consider how many models are in our range across road, mountain, lifestyle and women’s, and multiply those by model options and frame sizes, then you can begin to see what a gargantuan task this is. “Depending on the model, there are actually 50-100 decal elements”, explains Carina.
Carina Lehmann is an industrial and product designer with in-depth training in textile design. What she appreciates in particular about her new task: “The 3D implementation of the design on the frame is a particular challenge.” Other challenges include the small frame surfaces and working creatively within the confines of the corporate identity. The corporate colors (red, white, black) and the Swiss cross are brand themes which must be followed, with some exceptions: the high-end impec, where black on black decals are understated and imply exclusivity; the wheels for the racing teams; and the mountain bikes of World Champion Ralph Näf or the French Champion Julien Absalon also have corresponding special color decals. Pink bikes are kept on hand for the Giro d’Italia and yellow bikes for the Tour de France. Our special additions bring yet more freedom, such as our Lamborghini collaboration and the orange and yellow impec versions that were designed by NOSE in Zurich. Oh, and we’re currently working on another special project right now, shhhhh!
Once this final layer is complete, the new range is presented and we hold our breath in anticipation of the reactions from the public and the cycling industry at large. But, in many ways, we have already moved on, and development of next year’s products is well underway. It’s all part of a process we call ‘excitement research’.