Rapha has teamed up with tech startup Unmade to create Rapha Custom, a platform allowing customers to design their own team kits
Rapha’s understated apparel has become a favourite with design-conscious riders. But now, the brand is handing over control to its customers, allowing cyclists to create bespoke team kits via an online platform developed in collaboration with London tech startup Unmade.
Customers can choose from eight standard layouts and over 40 colour combinations, along with graphic patterns which can be rotated or scaled up and down. They can also add their own team logos. Once the design is complete, customers can view photographs showing the kit on a model and share a link to the design with their teammates before placing an order. They can also book a kit fitting appointment and view fabric swatches and brochures at Rapha stores. Designs are digitally printed on demand, and delivered within eight weeks.
“Trade Gothic was our primary brand typeface. It was really utilitarian and reminiscent of European advertising in the mid 20th century … and it really spoke to the cycling vernacular of that time,” Ed Clifford, Head of Rapha Custom, explains. “Rapha Sans Condensed speaks to those same principles – it’s very usable and versatile, but speaks subtly to cycling’s history.”
Rapha Sans provides a more versatile alternative to Rapha Sans Condensed (as Wylde-Mafham points out, condensed typefaces are great for headlines, but not for smaller text). The sans typeface was also created to reflect Rapha’s new focus on technical innovation: when Rapha started out, it appealed largely to ardent cycling fans with a knowledge of the sport’s past, and its aesthetic was rooted in the 1960s and 70s, with products and communications inspired by team kits and ephemera from the era. Now, however, it is aimed at new as well as experienced riders and has created a wide range of pro team products, including the skin suit worn by Team Sky in the Tour de France.