If the collaboration between typography studio House Industries and cyclocross OG Richard Sachs was a preview of cycle-centric things to come from the Delaware-based designers, then the full feature has arrived. Today, 9 October 2014, marks the launch of the Velo Collection, a multi-brand capsule collaboration including bikes, parts, accessories, clothing and—last but certainly not least—a namesake font: Velo Serif. Carefully culling partners both in and outside the bike industry including, Tanner Goods and Cinelli, the collection embodies the timeless spirit of competitive cycling with a decidedly contemporary aesthetic that feels simultaneously casual and elegant.
At the heart of the items in the collection—whether it’s a porcelain coffee mug from Japan’s Hasami or a custom crank from French components makers Spécialités TA—is a balance between aesthetics and functionality. “The bikes are pretty enough to sit in a gallery, but everything about them is ready to go to work. Steel is still a practical, durable and relevant material,” says House co-founder Rich Roat of the Waterford Precision Cycles-built frame. As dedicated cyclists know, carbon fiber is all about cutting weight, but when it comes to feel and longevity, steel is irreplaceable. “It was really important for us to be able to throw a leg over one and go—and keep going,” Roat adds. “We hope Velo Serif works like that when it pops up in the type menu.”
The project started where nearly all of House’s work starts: the font. Typeface designers tread a careful path between offering creativity and an imposing their vision on their fellow designers that will be using the font. While most typeface-makers view a font as a system, House takes a contrarian approach. “We’ve always done it backwards and tried to view each character as an illustration, then try to make those illustrations complement each other,” Roat says. Velo Serif (a sans serif version is in the works) embodies this design philosophy, with the more nuanced elements revealing themselves as designers enlarge the typeface.
Established to serve as a platform for future renditions of variations on the typeface, expect to see further collaborative releases from House Industries in the near future. For now, the full Velo Collection is currently available from House’s webstore. If you’re in NYC, be sure to swing by the Rapha Cycle Club on 16 October for a full exhibition of the collection, along with limited prints from House Industries.
Images courtesy of House Industries