THE ERIE DOWNTOWN PARTNERSHIP • 2022
Bringing over 500 people to downtown businesses
The Lake Erie Cyclefest is an annual event organized by VisitErie to help drive summer tourism in the area. A portion of the event, dubbed the “Downtown Slow Roll,” is focused on highlighting Erie’s growing downtown businesses and cultural attractions. VisitErie’s non-profit partner for the Slow Roll wanted to promote the post-ride festivities beyond those who were signed up for Cyclefest, and approached me to aid in the effort.
Identity Research • Key imagery
Promotion Digital media • Print Collateral
The Mission The event’s downtown non-profit advocate needed to expand the reach of the post-ride activities to groups outside of the biking community.
The Solution I developed sub-branding for the event’s downtown activities, styling the event as a “show flyer” to poise it as a cultural attraction.
The Result Over 500 people attended the slow roll and the activities that followed, bringing vital traffic to Erie’s downtown businesses, artists, and performers.
Research & Ideation
Before designing, I did some research on cycling culture to visually relate it to the arts and music I was trying to promote at the Slow Roll. I found that many cyclist-oriented designs drew from two cultures that heavily rely on biking for transportation: France and Japan. After reviewing commercial designs from the 1990s in those countries, I was able to identify several visual trends that were suitable for the event - including high-contrast, stylized illustrations, limited color palettes with heavily saturated pop-art colors, strategically placed and expressive typography, and a strong presence of graphic patterns.
To set the tone for the event, I opted for a bold sans-serif in all caps that had a retro-modern and urgent feel. I also designed a logotype with the same typeface, shearing it up and adding speed lines to its italicized variant for more energy and character.
To provide a strong visual anchor for the design, I created an illustration inspired by the commercial Japanese art I found in my research. I developed a scene with cyclists riding through an abstract cityscape resembling downtown Erie, where wheels are vinyl records, the road is an amplifier from a vintage catalog, and stereo cabinets are buildings. This helped me to incorporate the aesthetics of biking culture into a music-focused subject. To finish, I added some graphic patterns to the illustration to create some intermediate values and harken back to its commercial Japanese influences once more.
To round things out, I developed a succinct, yet vibrant color palette heavily influenced by the Slow Roll’s lakefront marina route. I chose “flat” shades of blue, yellow, and red to mimic Lake Erie’s beautiful sunsets while sticking to themes I’d found in my research.
Putting It to Work
Once I had created the main assets, I was able to assemble them into the primary marketing material for the event: an 11”x17” printed poster. I laid out the event information around the illustration, making sure to emphasize the music acts and local pop-up with enlarged, italicized, and outlined type. I applied the color palette to the illustration and outlined type, reserving the most urgent colors for the most critical information.
Putting It to Work
Once the print poster was laid out, I used it as a blueprint to develop assets for digital marketing on social media. Square, tall, and banner formats were developed to assist with the digital reach of the event.