From its inception, the plan has been for Sheffield Urban CX series to provide an exciting series of races re-imagining some of Sheffield’s iconic buildings and locations that have played a part in the story of Sheffield. An underlying story of redevelopment and adaptation running through the series and also the story of the people who worked and lived in the locations.
I have always had an attachment to Kelham island, i remember it being first opened in 1982 and on my first visit I was amazed by the sheer power of the Don Valley Engine and the Little Mester’s workshops. After studying at university i did voluntary work at the museum. Working with the team who designed the ‘Melting Shop’ children’s play area. In my mind everything fits together beautifully and flows like the mighty River Don!. To hand over the branding of the Sheffield Urban CX we needed to go to a company that not only understands the underlying concept of the race, but can also see the potential of the series and how we plan to fuse it with Sheffield’s redevelopment and growth and attract visitors in to be a part of Sheffield’s story.
Greg Trowman, from Kelham based design agency ‘Ambush & Acquire’ contacted us at the start of the year, and frankly we are so glad he did. Greg knew we were on the lookout for a designer to come up with a brand and he was able to see the vision of the series, good start. Another factor was that Ambush & Acquire are based down at Kelham Island and are playing a part in the renaissance of this area as one of the new generation of ‘Little Mesters’ and being part of a collective of creative businesses calling Kelham their home.
I met with Greg in Kelham Craft & Dough over a coffee, straight away he showed a good understanding of the brief and the mood board Ambush & Acquire put together based on an initial email was as on target as Cavendish lining up for the final sprint. We discussed more about the event and I spoke about the story behind the series, all the time Greg typing notes furiously into his Macbook. I have a habit of speaking for a while when it’s on the subject of cycling, when I stopped (finally) Greg had captured the key parts of the brief and told me he would let me see the drafts he had been working on.
My inbox pinged a couple of days after and a design proposal was attached. As the PDF opened I was so pleased to see the imagery and rationale was perfectly understood and executed.
The use of a molten steel backdrop is a masterstroke and it reflects the dynamics of cycling with a reference nod to Sheffield’s industrial past. The feel of the logo is a step away from the green palettes and cog and sprocket imagery, that is overused on many a cycling related product or event. The strong and independent feel, with an edgy element reflects the courses and the aforementioned story of Sheffield thread that runs through the events.
The end result has been a simple and very effective graphic ‘CX’ device, accompanied by a block logo for each of the venues. The ability to design a simple looking identity is sometimes one of the most challenging projects for a designer. Needless to say we are pleased with the end result. Expect to see the logo appearing across the city over the year and over the coming years, heralding the excitement and thrills we hope to be associated with a Sheffield Urban CX event.
By keeping with local businesses and highlighting the massive amount of talent and entrepreneurial spirit that is driving Sheffield’s regeneration, Sheffield Urban CX are using the cycling events as a way to galvanise not only industry and sport but also highlighting the transition from Steel to ‘Outdoor City’. This really excites the team here at Sheffield Urban CX and we are looking forward to continue to work with Ambush and Acquire as well as developing new partnerships and collaborations with some of Sheffield’s finest.