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The 95th Annual Bike Week

You would be forgiven for thinking that as brand and product designers, we would be exempt from the occasional writer’s block. Whilst it is undeniable that we love what we do, unfortunately this isn’t the case and sometimes the best way to find inspiration is to step away from the Mac. Luckily, after doing this job for so long, we have all found our own ways of coping with this block, with perhaps our favourite method being a trip outside on a bike.

Cycling and design aren’t two activities that usually go hand in hand. And yet, whether it be a tranquil cycle to enjoy what the outdoors has to offer or a mad dash through country lanes to re-energise, there’s something about cycling that works really well for Sanders– we’re even a part of the Cycle-to-Work scheme. However at no other time has cycling and design gone together so well as when we were approached by Green Oil brand to help with branding and repositioning.

Brands such as Green Oil come with a unique set of challenges; how do you capture their environmental ethics, energy and passion behind the product, whilst ensuring the brand can stay in competitive against other leading brands such as Muc-off? The Green Oil brand mark lacked confidence, their cluttered packaging struggling to achieve parity within a busy market. Whilst the range of products they provided were great, the variety of designs meant they were sometimes hard to identify as bike products – let alone bike products from the Green Oil brand itself. Our challenge was to communicate the uniqueness and authenticity of the brand without losing the essence that had been so successfully brought to the market.

The first step of the redesign was to de-clutter the original brand. A cleaner, more utilitarian font composition along with icons clearly represented user benefits and eliminated excessive wording, giving us more space to work with. For the text that was left, we applied intelligent typographical hierarchy, clearly outlining the brand and product, as well as repositioning Green Oil themselves. The underground ethical nature of the brand was communicated through retro poster artwork, giving the impression of being part of a movement, and portraying the energy behind the brand.

With the fantastic weather, scenes around Cardiff and this week being the 95th Bike Week, there’s no reason not to grab your bicycle and see what you can get out of it. In the same way cycling has relieved us of a mental block many a time, the Green Oil rebrand gave us a great opportunity to design in a way we usually wouldn’t. Whilst we love producing simple, sophisticated and elegant designs, there’s something about brands as organic as this that can really freshen up our perspectives. No wonder cycling is so good at removing a mental block!