aiga awards: great designs that ride on bicycles

By Genevieve Walker

When I travel around New York City, and I see anything with a bike printed on it, I have to stop and check it out. What caught my eye most recently was the poster (above) on the wall of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, the professional association of design, on Fifth Avenue.

It turned out to be one of the winning entries in the 365 Design Effectiveness Competition for digital, print or cross-media design work used in the marketplace in 2010 and judged to be both effective as a campaign and visually appealing.

In the handmade, silk-screen poster Joyeux, the imagery of a tandem bicycle is used to represent joy and a journey in promoting a design firm’s work to current and prospective clients. Perusing the different categories in the exhibit, I noticed that, beyond the poster, several winners reflect growing interest in cycling — not just as a mode of transportation, but as a seductive design element, too.

Mode of Transformation In the “promotional design and advertisement category,” this beautiful pamphlet features bicycles as a way of getting around using photos of bicycle parts, races, riders and more. The point of the campaign is to feature the paper (Mohawk Fine Paper), but according to the entry description, this printed piece has turned out to be “extremely popular and sought-after by bicycle aficionados.”

Re-Cycle Bike Rack It looks at first glance like one of those outdoor workout stations — metal bars for push-ups and pull-ups — that just happens to be made out of parking meters. The project is based in Washington DC where meters are being replaced by ticket kiosks. The designers took the opportunity to creatively re-purpose the meters, bending them into a bike rack sculpture.

People for Bikes In the “brand and identity” category, this entry showcases an entire design campaign for cycling advocacy. Messenger bags, water bottles, badges, banners and more are branded with a white smiley face with a bike for eyes set on a blue and red background. Great design and great cause!

Schwinn Bell Choir This micro-site was designed for a Schwinn holiday bike drive and features whimsical videos of cyclists playing carols, such as Auld Lang Syne, on their bike bells. Sweet. The campaign was effective, too: “Tens of thousands of people sent e-cards, and more than $65,000 in bikes was raised for the Boys and Girls Club of America.” View the video.

365 Design Effectiveness Exhibition 2011, AIGA, 164 Fifth Avenue, on view through November 23.

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