Graphic design inspiration where you’d least expect it. I’m always on the lookout for classic graphic design imagery, from book covers and record covers to kids toys, playing cards and furniture. My home is filled to overflowing. In the last 6 months I’ve added BMX bikes and paraphernalia to my list of design collectables.
On a recent trip to country NSW to pick up a bike, I chanced across an old school bike shop. A treasure trove of both new and old school BMX parts, I spent 2 hours foraging the shelves. Hidden away behind the newer, bland bike parts I spotted 3 packs of black Torker BMX Grips.
The angular, yellow and green TORKER BMX logo, first caught my eye. But it wasn’t the packaging itself that I was interested in. In fact, the Torker BMX logo is not my favourite piece of old school typography, however on closer inspection I spotted the logo pattern on the actual grips inside.
The pattern is a single bird design, constructed of 3 simple shapes for the body and wings and a keylined circle for the head. The bird is repeated 8 times down the length of the grip with a single larger logo located on the grip end.
The grips seem pretty rare, and are probably dated somewhere in the mid 90’s, not sure. I’m also not sure what the bird logo design was for. At this time in BMX, logo and decal typography was getting away from it’s 80’s fluro colours, paint splashes and showy features, design was changing to more grungy, fat and chunky. A cute bird logo on a set of grips seems out of place. Perhaps that’s why they never sold and I managed to find them 20 years later. I would have loved to have seen this design on other colours, they’d actually look great in the usual 80’s brighter colour ways.
Of the 3 sets of grips I purchased, one set is now on my own 1999 Redline RL444 BMX, and I will keep one set in its original packaging. The third set of grips has gone up for sale on eBay in the Refoundary Store. No bids as yet, surely i’m the only person who likes the little bird design.
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