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The "Real Men Aren't Afraid to Wear Pink" Bike Palette

From the brief, the ideas that stood out to me were the words (artisanal, craft, vinyl, stylish, travel, simple) that, taken together, spelled out "hipster on Instagram." Although the word "functional" appeared on the brief, utility was contraindicated by everything else mentioned - as it is with any rent-a-bike sitch - so I kindly set that thought aside.

I looked at the bike brands on offer, and Mission in particular stood out for its interchangeable handlebar colors. I then took a stroll down the Hall of Bloggery to The Sartorialist, whose obsession with "normal" (rich) folk posing on impractical bicycles has a storied history, and who helped inspire some of today's pre-eminent fancy-dress cyclists. The photographic examples provided with the project seemed to present American vistas with a European look - the dappled lights, the cobblestones, the filmic grain.

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All this in hand, I knew I wanted a palette that would say, "I am not afraid of color, for it is the age of aqua rims, of pink bowties, of oversaturated VSCOs. Using the above, and with the Golden Gate Bridge working as something of a touchstone, I created the first palette:

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Like a halal cart in my precious bike lane on First Avenue, I hated it. The color combos brought to mind a GrubHub logo that had been left out on the kitchen counter overnight since 2010.

I went manual ("single-track"), and created a palette that dared max out the saturation to achieve something close to a neon pastel, and an adobe red that would perhaps be bright enough not to be run over in morning traffic by a distracted taxi driver.

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Although the pink risks alienating some of the beardy prospective clientele, I have provided aqua handlebars for those insecure in their masculinity to hang onto. Overall, I think it works, because the adobe-ish red seems serious enough to convey a brand with gravity, and perhaps will also remind customers of that awesome road trip they took to New Mexico that time that was so off the hook and Chvrches played nonstop on the car stereo and why isn't green chile that good everywhere.

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