Sunday, 4 November 2012

Yamaha YZF-R125 Customised


Quite often, we will choose one of the popular models in the showroom and add some parts and accessories such as exhaust end cans, mirrors, rear sets, indicators etc, to dress it up a bit. The main reason for this isn't actually to sell it as a complete package, but rather to get people's imaginations flowing by providing a visual example of how these aftermarket add-ons can change the look of a bike.

For many bikers, the most interesting aspect of motorcycling is customization. Whether it be a completely bespoke build, or simply adding a few catalogue accessories, recreating a bike to make it original to the owner's individual taste can be very rewarding.

The Poster:

One simple little trick I use all the time is to increase the tracking (space between letters) to give a more polished result. I thought about it for a while but I have to admit I couldn't honestly tell you why doing this has that effect. As you can see on the image above, "YAMAHA" and "LAGUNA SPECIAL" have much greater spacing between each letter than all the other text on the page. Maybe it helps to break the text up a bit for greater clarity. Then again, maybe it just reminds me of expanding movie titles.

Another thing you'll see a lot of in professional print and web design is variation between light, regular, and bold versions of the same font. It maintains consistency of all the text on the page but also offers slight contrasts so that all the text isn't an overwhelming blur of letters and numbers.
The colour choice was quite an easy one as it made sense to follow the paint scheme of the bike. The subtle tone of the gold/bronze wheels certainly adds a bit of class and suggests that this bike is somewhat unique.

The white background was decided upon for three reasons:
1: It costs less to print
2: The picture of the bike was on a white background, so saves me cutting it out. I was on a tight deadline (which actually means I was just being lazy).
3: Importantly though, the poster was going to be A3, not the largest size in such a big showroom, so the text and the parts boxes really did have to stand out from the background.

The shape of the boxes containing each accessory was a conscious decision, based more than anything, on the style of the bike. The contours of the YZF-R125 are very angular and sharp, so it didn't make sense to use rounded corners or even circular shapes for any of the design.

The blue and gold gradients were also based on how the light reflects off the surface of the bike. I have to say, I'm not usually a fan of colour gradients as they are so often misused. In my opinion, they really only work with two shades of the same colour.

Font: Chantilly Medium & Chantilly Light

When I had printed off the poster, one of my colleagues came to me and said "It's nice, but it's a bit simple." Now I'm sure that he expected me to take offense to this, but actually, this couldn't have been a better reaction. Making something look professional and stylish, but keeping it clean and simple, is actually one of the more difficult things graphic designers are faced with. When there is so much information outlined in a brief, deciding the layout can be fairly troublesome. I could litter the page with lots of flourishes and decoration, and yes, it would look pretty, but it would also likely be a distraction to more important content.  When it comes down to it, the purpose of my work is to relay information to customers in the clearest possible fashion, so "simple" really is a good thing.

I explained all that to my colleague with the smuggest expression I could muster, then I hit him with the poster for his ignorance.

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