Design agency Manual Creative has completed a total identity refresh for Schwinn, an American heritage cycling brand. To reinvent an American icon, Manual sidestepped the approach of leaning heavily on the brand’s history to reflect the brand’s current output, such as e-bikes and helmet technology innovations. Manual Creative identified three goals for the project: tapping into the heritage of Schwinn while prioritizing its future, paring back a century worth of asset accumulation, and connecting with an entirely new audience.
Bold typography is at the core of the wordmark; a sporty visual expression that works across a wide range of products. The Schwinn star, used with the logotype and as a stand-alone sign off, has been simplified and flattened for greater flexibility. Manual retained the classic cursive logotype, although the brand worked with typographer Simon Walker to rethink its structure with more forward momentum. The design team also introduced illustrations by Christopher DeLorenzo and Xoana Herrera to add levity to the brand and remind us that cycling is all about enjoying the ride. Two distinct typefaces help draw connections to Schwinn’s heritage while modernizing the brand. Finally, a vibrant palette is built around Schwinn advertisements from the 50s-70s as a counterpoint to the dark, monochromatic colors that predominate in the cycling industry.
“The plus point of working with this much history is that we get to edit and retain what’s special about the brand,” says Tom Crabtree, Manual’s creative director. “We look back, get to the core of what makes a brand special and memorable, and carry the heritage forward in a way that resonates with today’s riders.”