Sunday, July 25, 2010

Making a (Under) Statement

Branding. That word used to describe what ranchers did to identify their cattle. These days, the word has been adopted by the marketing guys to describe an intense competition to get their company name in front of the consuming public. Bicycle manufacturers, with a long tradition of including names and logos on frames, have embraced this new branding ethic in a big way. Walk around most modern bikes and you'll be able to read the company name from almost any angle. Does a bike frame really need to have 8 to 10 decals that all display the same word?

My own sense of style says that the frame's metalwork and paint should define the look, and that look should be an understated elegance. I have no desire (or need) to plaster my advertising on
your bike.

All creative works, bicycle frames included, deserve to be signed by the artist. To that end, my frames carry a single, small copy of my builder's "signature" on the top tube. In the full-frame photos on this site, you'll have to look hard to spot this small graphic.

My frames are painted by Keith Anderson, whom I consider to be a valued partner in this enterprise. Keith places his own artist's signature in an out of the way location on the left chainstay.

From the beginning, I have adhered to this understated styling, not worrying if it might turn off potential customers. Recently, to my delight, I am being contacted by customers specifically because of this styling. They've never met me, and likely don't know anybody who owns one of my frames, but they've been searching for a builder who will hold off on the decals. Through the power of the internet, they've found one!