William Lyall’s identity for Universal Colours reflects the cycling apparel brand’s responsible values
Through progressive design and the use of considered materials, cycling apparel brand Universal Colours is championing mindful consumption and responsible production. As well as several factories that are internationally recognised for social and environmental good practice, they make their garments in partnership with Lithuanian Bluesign® accredited factory LTP. Bluesign® is a system that ensures products are manufactured with the lowest possible impact on people and the environment, with responsible use of resources and safer, more sustainable working conditions for employees.
In addition to being ethically produced, Universal Colours’ apparel is at the forefront of premium performance through a combination of durable woven fabrics, recycled polyester and elastane. Each piece goes through an extensive design, test, re-design process before entering production, whereby any leftover materials are reused for a multitude of other products such as their unisex gilet, musette and mitts. Responsibility permeates all aspects of Universal Colours’ creation and production processes, from garment conception through to recyclable packaging.
The design of Universal Colours’ apparel is inspired by change, embracing the seasons and natural tones they bring. It’s from here that London-based graphic designer William Lyall found his own inspiration for the brand’s identity. The understated logo consists of two circles, which were initially filled with numbers to represent the season relating to each collection. “As the designs developed”, Lyall explains, “the numbers were removed from the logo, retaining the two circles as a focal point. They are commonly interpreted as bike wheels; however, this should be understood as a more subliminal message”.
Despite not making the cut within the logo, the circled numbers do appear within the brand’s custom typeface. A bespoke version of Schick Toikka’s Scto Grotesk, aptly named UC Scto Grotesk, the typeface incorporates the circled numbers into its existing character set to highlight technical features on garments and product listings. With its flat terminals and multiple weights, Lyall tells us that Scto Grotesk was chosen after numerous rounds of development for “its contemporary, modernist and confident approach with enough distinction to form part of a unique identity”. The typeface is used for all of the brand’s typographic applications, including an interchangeable logo and wordmark system that offers considerable versatility for the future.
Although predominantly expressed in black and white, the identity system does possess an extensive colour palette that will change with each season to reflect the fabrics used for each new collection. Lyall explains that the initial set of tones were pulled from “the outdoor industry’s most innovative brands as well as the catwalk”, giving Universal Colours a palette that “looks new, while remaining functional for all rider requirements”.
Through a considerate approach to typography and structure, Lyall’s identity for Universal Colours mirrors the brand’s progressive, thoughtful and responsible design process, and puts rigorous flexibility in place to allow for future growth.
Typeface: Scto Grotesk by Schick Toikka