Here’s the down tube for the Arkose cyclocross bike. It’s got everything you’d need in a bike which, with the right maintenance, should last for life. There are plenty of gears, a decent frame and being a ‘cross bike it’s suitable for almost anything. Everything coordinates in “play-it-safe” black; parts are anodised black, the frame’s black, saddle and grips are black and the tyres….yes you’ve guessed it, they’re black too.
So my first niggle is the name: why Arkose? It harks back to a time when every small company called themselves “aardvark” to get on the first page of the Yellow Pages listings. It turns out that “arkose” is a sedimentary rock – hardly aspirational. But name choice aside, why did the designers decide that it would be OK to stick such a hideous logo on the down tube?
We attach more meaning to fonts than we realise; the “business card scene” of American Psycho is required watching for “font spotters”. On its own, the scripted Arkose says “classic, exclusive, stylish, for the discerning customer”. They’ve tried to do something nice with the “e” sweeping it back under the “A” – like a US baseball team’s or the Cheers logo. But then it’s jammed next to the manufacturer’s name “Pinnacle”. This says ”modern, functional and practical”. The mitred “I” and “L” attempt a little contemporary edginess. So what is the Arkose, traditional or modern?
These logos have been designed to work together but they don’t. The only way to join these to is to reverse the Arkose out (black on white) from the Pinnacle (black on white) and extend a white key line around the Pinnacle. Furthermore, do you really want to be reminded, or tell others that your bike’s size is a “LRG”? Does it matter? Well for the logo designer, it does. Every time you reach for a bottle from the Arkose’s (presumably black) bottle cage he’s reminding you. I’ve bought, dreamt of and disliked bikes purely on the strength of their logos , .
As I said, typography’s important, and if you don’t think so, just try imagining a Sex Pistols album cover for written in Arial font. Perhaps I’m overdoing this; just let it lie. Like talking to pets, it doesn’t matter, nobody gets hurt. But this does matter: I don’t write emails to my boss is Comic Sans, with some Bookman and Franklin Gothic thrown in (those are font’s by the way), so why would I want to own a bike with such a dog’s breakfast of a logo?
 In fact, I feel another blog post coming on – suggestions welcome