Behind The Scenes of MODYN’s Gazelle Bike Styling
A partnership of the ages and for the ages, MODYN has worked for Gazelle for the past 30+ years. Helping the famous bike brand hone their heritage while navigating the future, we’ve worked on everything from vision bikes to bike styling. The latter, much more important than you may think.
Bike styling consists of choosing the right colors and fonts to use for a specific bike’s graphics. These details, while physically small, determine how a bike is perceived and accepted by riders. A delicate balance, the styling has to hone the brand while emphasizing the individual bikes unique characteristics — for example, the styling for a city bike is much different than the styling for a racing bike.
So, how do we do it? We sat down with Marleen Offringa, our Concept & CMF Designer, as well as Mathieu Knaven, Product Manager at Gazelle to give you an inside look inside the process.
At MODYN, we derive our inspiration for Gazelle’s bike styling from the mobility world, fashion, interior design and sports. What colors are trending on the catwalk and what colors are trending in car design, interior design and athletics all help steer us in the right direction as to what consumers are looking for right now. A delicate balance, we weigh what is trending right now alongside what works well for Gazelle, their brand and customers.
Marleen: It’s very important that the styling is balanced. If you have a thin old school style frame, for example, it’s important that the graphic design also uses a bit more elegance and is balanced with the style of the bike. I think that people have to see that it really fits together — the color, the styling and the bike have to match.
Mathieu: We’ll tell MODYN the specific target group to design for, but they also need to know what the rest of the collection looks like, too. For instance, we wouldn’t have all the bikes be blue. And that is part of what makes this difficult. It’s not just slapping a color on, it’s understanding how everything works together across the different collections.
One of the highlights of the bike styling process with Gazelle are the yearly color and graphic cards. Besides featuring the latest colors and design trends, we present Gazelle with all of our insights and recommend what they should lean into. After these are determined, we get to work on the individual designs themselves — helping Gazelle hone their heritage branding while keeping a modern edge that feels custom to each bike.
Marleen: There are actually a lot of subtle, important changes we do. For example, when we did the Grenoble bike styling, Gazelle wanted to use their logo. And if you know their logo, you know it has this really recognizable font styling. But, this latest iteration was designed ten years ago, so on the Grenoble, which is incredibly modern, it just didn’t fit. What we did was make some really small modifications to the logo for a more modern look. And it’s these subtle changes that, if you see it now and next year, you don’t really notice anything is different. But check back in a decade and you will see how the trends and modernity have shaped the styling of the bikes.
Mathieu: When I got into this business four years ago, I was like, ‘How difficult is it to choose a color on a bike?’ And then to see MODYN and their process, how they carefully choose each detail, I began to respect this work so much more. But, MODYN also makes it look like a really natural process for them — they are very good at it. And that’s what makes it easy to work with them. They are also flexible. If something isn’t just right, Marleen will come to Gazelle and see it in person and we’ll look at it, the two of us, to decide how to go forward. She’s always willing to think in a different way.
Having worked together now for more than three decades, we have extensive lists of what has worked for Gazelle and what hasn’t. Pairing that with our mobility expertise that spans different industries, as well as our keen intuition, we’re able to provide timely styling that speaks to both the Gazelle brand and their loyal customers.
Marleen: We really work together with Gazelle. We don’t just say, ‘We’re the experts,’ and leave it at that. We always present different directions we think are interesting, and we open up the conversation to discuss it. It always feels like a team effort working with Gazelle.
Mathieu: The chemistry working together — is just right. We can have a conversation about the bike, about the target group, how we see it, what it’s used for, whether it’s for commuters or kids, and they understand the direction we want to go right away. Sometimes they also surprise me and they come up with a color or type of graphic that we really like, and we even make up a model and put it in front of new target groups to discuss the possibilities for this bike. So, we’re sometimes pleasantly surprised by the moves that MODYN makes, too.
We don’t want to give away any surprises. But, we’re excited for the future of bike styling. Our forecast? During the pandemic, bikes were one of the only safe ways to get out, exercise and have fun. We see bike styling going bolder now, embracing more fun colors that are emblematic of the freedom the bike has provided during this time. That means we see fresh blues and more green coming your way. We also don’t see that matte black trend isn’t going anywhere, but we do see it getting a brighter update with a little contrast — like black with green detailing.