10 Jan 2014 - 18:01

It Takes A Team

The design process behind the new team uniform. Trek Factory Racing recently unveiled its new uniform at the official team launch, and the black and white, pinstriped design depicted a businesslike aura: sharp, classy, it exuded seriousness and professionalism.

But what exactly goes into a design of a pro cycling team’s uniform? Who is responsible for choosing the colors, placement of sponsors, material, and the overall layout? What is the process behind creating a new cycling kit that will be displayed worldwide on the backs of some of the best cyclists this side of the moon?

Enter Trek employee Brian Lindstrom (Designer for Team, Project 1 and Custom Projects) who was handed the job of overseeing the design of the new Trek Factory Racing team’s outfits. But Brian was not alone – this was no easy feat. He joined forces with Trek Vice President Joe Vadeboncoeur, Simon Thompson (Sports Marketing Manager) and Steve Baumann (Director of Product Design) to bounce ideas off.  And that is how it began: throwing ideas around like cheap popcorn. Should it be red? Red is an important color for Trek - it is the color of the logo after all - as it symbolizes the old, red barn where it all began, where the first Trek bikes were hand built over 30 years ago.

“We thought about red, but we really wanted something more classic; something based on the old-school jerseys from before. And we wanted something that was different from all the other teams. We finally settled on black and white to keep it in the classic style,” explains Brian. “And the pinstripes are something we were already using in our mountain bike kits, so we decided to continue along that line.”

So colors settled. Now what about the material? Black can be hot, and cycling is a summer sport. And visibility? Black is not an easy color to see in the peloton when the whirl of cyclists speed by, a pinwheel of colors to try and pick out your team, your rider.

Brian has an answer for that, too:

“Cycling jersey’s have advanced tremendously with the materials that are now used. The hi-tech fabric is lightweight and extremely breathable so choosing black for the predominant color was not a concern for over-heating. For more visibility, we added the white sleeve and white ring at the bottom of the shorts, on opposite sides. We also liked the look of the asymmetrical pattern.”

The placement of sponsors was a crucial component in the overall plan. Keeping it simple and not cluttering the jersey with sponsor logos was something that was very important to stay in line with the classic look, says Brian. The two other key brands Shimano and Bontrager share equal space at the top of the large Trek Factory Racing label, similar on both front and back of the jersey. And putting the large Trek name on the sides of the jersey and shorts, each facing different directions, was critical for photographic purposes. When a picture is shot of a rider sitting on the bike, this is what is most visible.

“Basically we needed all angles covered for maximum brand exposure.”

Adam Sands (Bontrager Product Designer) handled the helmet design and Josh Martin (Industrial Design Manager) the shoes based on the direction we provided from the team kits, continues Brian. They both follow the classic black and white asymmetrical theme and the shoe design of one black, one white is something no one else is doing in cycling.

So what precisely was behind the new Trek Factory Racing team kit?  In short, it was a collaboration of various design experts at the Trek headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin – input from a wide array of sources that paid attention to all the small details. Innovative. Classy. Sharp.

It takes a team to design a team