Jim contacted me to design the head badge for a new line of lugged bicycles. Merry Sales Company will distribute these bicycles under the brand New Albion Cycles. New Albion Cycles is a separate, sister brand to SOMA. It debuts in the US later this year.
The inspiration for the image on the badge is Sir Francis Drakes’s ship, The Golden Hind.
A bit of history . . .
In 1579, Sir Francis Drake explored the coastline off the San Francisco Bay and Marin Headlands. Drake claimed the territory for the Royal Crown, and named it New Albion. Albion is the ancient name of the British Isles. (Drake had to get creative with names because “New England” had already been claimed by the colonies on the Atlantic.) The Merry Sales Company is based in the SF Bay Area. Hence, the geographical connection and interest in the history of this region.
First, I have to review images of the ship to determine the best angle and design style. Google Images is the illustrator’s friend.
The Marin Headlands, the site where Drake landed, is an important element in the artwork.
We narrowed it down to two ship designs: A and B.
Next, I did a number of versions and revisions, to determine the placement of the ship, the importance of the Headlands, and the appropriate type font. At this stage, we had not yet determined the shape of the badge. I personally like 19th century graphics and commercial posters. As an art movement, Arts and Crafts emphasizes the handmade. It is fitting for a traditional, lugged frame, and so I suggested a few type faces that reflect the Arts and Crafts movement. It was a good time to introduce different badge shapes, geometric and otherwise.
They chose Ship B for its taller, more elegant shape; we agreed it fit best in the oval shape.
Jim wanted the word CYCLE in a scroll below the ship.
Once the final line art was determined, it was a matter of choosing colors. The more colors, the more intricate the fabrication process becomes – and the more expensive it is to produce the badge. We worked within those restrictions.
I tried a few color combinations, using the brass color of the metal to outline the colors.
We settled on this color scheme.
The badge will be produced in six colors with three layers of relief. These diagrams indicate to the fabricator the appropriate color placement, and how the client wants the relief to be organized.
Once the badge is produced, I’ll show it – hopefully on the head tube of a New Albion bicycle.
Stan just sent the first prototype. Here it is: