2013 Seven Cycles Brochure

March 2, 2012

in Design, Graphic Design, Present - Meaning Today

The brochure is the largest annual project that Seven has – with the longest time horizion, too.  We start in February, typically, in order to have it printed in time for Eurobike.  Of course we have the new website up at that same moment:  brochure and website completed in tandem.  That gets more difficult every year – as the two pieces become more and more different:  less crossover application between the two pieces.

So few bike builders print brochures anymore.  Yeah, I know the stated reasons companies don’t do this.  And, I know that the printed brochure is very important for Seven and who we are a company.

I’m excited about this brochure because the 2012 brochure was so different from what we’ve done before.  And the 2013 will be that much different again.  And this year it’s two separate pieces:  a brochure and a catalogue.


  • Deadline:  First copies to retailers on 20 September.  Goes to printer on 11 September.
  • Format: 60-pages; perfect bound.
  • Crew:
    • Design:  Rob and Skunk
    • Text:  John Lewis is the managing editor.  We’re likely to have about 25 writers.
    • Photography:  Probably Natalia Boltukhova and Skunk.  Probably a few other images we’ll sources from others like Matt O’Keefe.
    • Printer:  Likely the same one as 2012 – and a number of other years, too.


  • Deadline:  First copies to retailers on 20 September.  Goes to printer on 11 September.
  • Format:  24-pages; saddle stitched.
  • Crew:
    • Design:  Rob and Skunk
    • Text:  Karl Borne
    • Photography:  Skunk.
    • Printer:  Likely the same one as 2012 – and a number of other years, too.

Some article quotes; names withheld to protect the innocent.  Read the brochure to find out who wrote what:

Quote #6:  ”Seven is a place where, in the midst of a frantic workday, a particularly beautiful frame can bring everyone together for a few minutes.”

Quote #5:  “Seven is a place where, in the midst of a frantic workday, a particularly beautiful frame can bring everyone together for a few minutes.”

Quote #4:   “What have I learned from my years as a gear hound? Well, once the shine comes off and after you give up on cleaning every bit of dirt from between your cogs, the best bike is the one you ride the most and think about the least.”

Quote #3:   “The majority of the good feelings we have from the ride came from the tremendous amount of ground covered, over the type of terrain that made you feel that the bike was the greatest invention ever conceived.”

Quote #2:  “The bicycle is not magical, but to me it seems pretty darn close. And as I watch the 2-wheel commuter parade on the main road, I am heartened to see that my neighbours agree.”

Quote #1:  “I quickly realized that what I loved most about racing was riding. I didn’t care about winning or watts. Freedom. That’s what is was all about. Two-wheeled independence, unfettered, anywhere, everywhere.”

Here’s the timeline in reverse:

October 9  |  We’re wrapping up the brochure.  No, really.  Keep finding typos.   Fixing some bylines.  Tuning some photos.  Nitpicking about grammar.  When is a book complete?  It’s never complete.  It’s never perfect.  That’s why deadlines are so helpful.  And the best deadlines are externally imposed.  In Seven’s case, Interbike is our self-imposed deadline.  About mid September.  We missed that deadline by a few dozen hours of work but I decided to let it slide because getting is right was more important than getting it to Interbike.  Time will tell if I was correct.  Now the new deadline is looming.  And we’re going to meet that one.

September 18  |  Brochure for Seven.  I’m a broken record.  Working on proofing all the text – with Karl B.’s help.  Working with Skunk on more page designs.  And photography.  Another couple photo shoots tomorrow.  Even if it’s raining.  Feeling tired and very good about how everything is coming together.  I also spent time on the catalogue today.  I’ve got a first draft of that complete.  Hoping to have it ready for the printer within 10 business days of the brochure going to the printer.  Sounds reasonable tonight.

September 17  |  Worked a bit with John to finalize 99% of the copy.  I’m sure there will be additional changes soon.  Worked on some photo ideas.  Took a couple test photos.  Agonized over the cover and back cover.  I think we’ve come up with the brochure name.  Going to sleep on it and see if it holds together.

September 15  |  Worked a couple hours on the brochure.  We’re at the point where we’re dealing with design details.  Font point size.  Color details.  However, there’s still a lot of photography and layout work left.  I save that for weekdays with Skunk.

September 14  |  Wrapping up all the text today – just about.  About 16,000 words in total – thanks to John L.  Still a lot of photos to take.  Lots of page layout to complete.  And printer logistics to manage.  Sending this to the printer on Thursday.  Not too far off the original deadline of  Tuesday.

September 13  |  Getting to the part where I’m agonizing over photos.  So many good once from which to choose.  It’s like having a bag of candy.

I wish I could write.  John L. is killing me.  Patrick Brady’s piece for the Brochure is really strong.  Pretty much everyone that’s contributing to the brochure put together great pieces.  I’ll be dragging this piece backwards, as I so often do.  I’m surrounded by writers.  How did that happen?

September 11  |  Brochure text:  We’ve – read John L. has – got about 17,000 of the words in the right order.  Only another 13,000 or so left to go.  Starting to do fine tuning on grammar edits.

September 10  |  Natalia sent processed images from the Seven Cycles brochure photo shoot.  She shot well over 700 images.  She sent us a couple hundred.  We’re trying to narrow it down to about 50; too many from which to choose.  Great images!

September 10  |  Brochure deadline looming.  Actually we’ve missed the “to printer” deadline.  It’ll be worth it though.  We’ve got about 30 of the 60 pages laid out.  Cover and back cover images just about right.  about 4,000 of the 30,000 words ready.  Lots of work left to do in the next couple days.

September 5  |  Brochure, brochure, brochure.  More pages designed.  More focused on text right now.  John L. managing 90% of the words.  I’m destroying the other 10%.

September 4  |  About a week to go for printing deadline – actually it’s less than that.  I can’t get my head around it at 9:30 pm right now. We’re tweaking the colorways; cooling them down a bit; and, of course, making them a bit more complicated.  Trying to figure out how we’re going to get all the photography completed on time.  I estimate that we’ve got 230 image placeholders.  We’ve got about 30 confirmed images.  Only 200 more to go.  That’s 90% complete, right?  I can’t even ponder the writing portion; I’m thankful that John L. is on it.

August 31  |  Natalia Boltukhova was behind the camera; lots of people in front of, and in the way of, the camera.  It all started with a 7am ride and ended with a 7pm beer at Seven Cycles.  She took well over 700 photos.

August 30  |  Skunk completed the first full layout of the brochure.  60 pages plus the cover.  Still a lot of holes in text and images.  However, for the first time I can get an overall feel for the piece – and see all the work left to do.

August 29  |  We’ve got more page layouts done.  Skunk took the first cover photo test shots.  I think we’re very close.  Similar in some ways to the 2012 cover – but completely different.

August 28  |   In high gear on this.  John, Skunk, and others helping.  Skunk and I are working on colorways, a three page layout system, and first draft of the catalogue supplement.  The Book is 60+ pages.  The catalogue is 20 pages, at the moment.  That’s a lot of pages considering that Seven’s brochure is typcially 34-38 pages.  Trying to organize the big photoshoot with Natalia.  Looks like Friday.  Too many people to pull together.

August 24  |  I’m sure I sound like a broken record but we’re putting in lots of hours every day at this point.  Today it was finalizing page size, working on interior design, color palette, cover design.  We also worked on a second draft of the bike catalogue.

August 22  |  John has staged the 30+ articles we’re writing.  We’ve got 10 people from outside Seven writing pieces.  Coolness.  John L. is employing his magazine editing skills – at least some of them; he has many more publishing skills not yet employed; what we’re doing is a lot easier than what he used to have to do.  Photo-shoots scheduled.  Cover ideas worked out.  Layout tests about to happen – tomorrow.  First mock up made by end of this week.

August 21  |  We’ve got a nearly impossible deadline.  Actually the deadline isn’t the problem; my management of the months coming up to that deadline is the problem.  On the positive side we’ve got all the elements in place; on the negativeland we’ve got about two and a half weeks to wrap it up.  Oh boo hoo.

John L. is managing the words.  Skunk is managing the layout and printing prep.  I’m “managing” the other parts.  This includes the “catalogue” and the “book.”  We have about 30 pieces to write with only about one third of the drafting completed.  For better or worse we’ve got about a dozen people helping with the writing; I think that will have been worth it.  We’ll see if John agrees at the end of this month; he’s the one herding the cats.  We’ve got about two-thirds of the photography completed.  Again some outside help with that.

I’m very excited about the design of the book.  I worked a cover concept this evening.  The overall size of the book is still in question but we’ll have that wrapped up by week end – thanks to Skunk.  Buckle up with Mario Andretti.

August 13  |  Project mission agreed upon.  Put together a format that might work well.  Skunk is already compiling a set of images and imagery.  I’ve done a draft of messaging.  We’ve got a second round list of people we’re asking for involvement from.  Lists are too long.  We’re in whittle down mode right now.

August 7  |  Two page designs have gone “live” this week.  So far the feedback has been good.  We’ve got a couple more page systems going live over the next few days.  The mobile versions of the site are now working, too.  That’s a pain but important.  The site seems to work across all the platforms we could test.

August 3  |  Had a big 2013 brochure meeting this afternoon.  Shared my proposed plan.  We’ll see what people think after they sleep over the weekend.  I’m up for it.  Skunk’s on board.  John seems ready to roll.  A few others look to be on board.  It’s okay if not everyone is.  Dissent is descent.

July 31  |  Everyday we’re moving a bit farther along on this.  I’m pulling together some of Seven Cycles old technical manuals for reference material.  As I mentioned before, because this is actually two project – not including the website – I’m working on them both, in tandem.  On of the “brochures” is just about done already.

July 28  |  Worked on brochure project a bit.  Iterated the list of contributors.  Too many; whittling it down.  How many pages can we afford to do?

July 26  |  Deep in it now.  And, situation coming to a head.  On both fronts:

  • 2012 brochure about to run out and we only need a very small run to get us through to 2013.
  • 2013 brochure is way behind.  July disappeared.  We can make up the time.  Printed target is early September.  Now having group meetings on finalizing direction and starting – and iterating – content.

July 5  |  Iterated content ideas.  We’ve still go too many ideas on the map.  First group meeting happening next week.  Usually we have the entire office – and some production people – participate in content development.  This year is no different other than we’re calling in a few outsiders, too.  To help broaden the view of the brochure.  Fun in fast gear.

June 27:  Worked on a content outline.  We’ve already got about 50 pages worth of content planned; unfortunately the brochure is likely to be less than 40-pages.  John L. is pushing this project forward.  I also looked at some ways that the 2013 website will overlap – and more often – be divergent from the brochure.  Both projects are intertwined and separate.  Cleaved is the word I’m looking for.

June 15:  Got some more buy in to the new brochure direction today.  Not sure we’re going to be able to pull it all together in time for printing on August 1, but we’ll figure it out.  This is going to be the most collaborative brochure yet.  Did I mention that it’s actually going to be two brochures?

June 8:  I’ve been getting a few printing quotes; our current printer did a great job so we’re likely to continue with them.  We’re thinking about printing it in a different way – part of the departure from the past; that’s the main reason for getting quotes so early.  An important part of the brochure – more important than past years – are the inserts and how we approach them.  They are playing a more important role than ever before.  And well worth it.

May 29:  Jennifer had a great idea that’s perfect for the current direction of the 13 brochure.  I don’t want to spill the idea.  It will be rocking.

May 22:  The poster project is informing – just a bit – the direction of the 13 brochure.

April 14:  We’ve already got a couple environmental photo-shoots that are forming the backbone of the style and feel.

March 21:  I worked on a first draft of the brochure intent and design.  I’m glad we’re pushing the 2012 a lot farther for 2013.  It’s going to be a radical departure, yet again.

March 2, 2012:  We’ve officially begun the 2013 brochure.  We’re just about on schedule.  Typically we start in March or April – sometimes May…

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