Tour de France: Team logos and jerseys

Graphic design in the Tour de France, part 1

Tour de France 2011 logo and jersey

Le Tour de France logo and maillot jaune (yellow jersey).

Graphic design in the Tour de France

The Tour de france. 22 Teams, each with 9 riders. Each rider gets a free helmet, free glasses, jerseys, bibs, socks, shoes and rides on a free bike with a frame, saddle, pedals, wheels and tubes, all of which is provided by sponsors. Each sponsor is hoping to get as much media attention as possible during the Tour de France, which is broadcasted in over 190 countries.

Each sponsor is represented by a logo, which appears on the riders’ jerseys and bicycles. The size of the logo depends on the amount of money provided by the sponsor.

Most of the teams during the Tour de France are UCI World Tour teams, which means they’re competing in de most important races on earth. Some of the major sponsors provide millions of Dollars and Euros. Do high budgets result in good design?

Some team jerseys are a mess, they’re just plastered with logos. Other teams, like AG2R La Mondiale, Garmin-Cervélo and Leopard Trek, managed to find a design agency that created a consistent corporate identity for the team.

We’ve seen high quality design in the Tour de France before, but only sporadically. I don’t know if it’s a trend, but graphic design appears to play a more important role than ever before. This year’s peloton is possibly the best designed of all time.

Tour de France 2011 AG2R La Mondiale logo and jersey

AG2R LA MONDIALE Pro Cycling team (UCI World Tour team)
AG2R La Mondiale is a France-based insurance company.

AG2R-La Mondiale has the same logo and jerseys as last year. The corporate identity of the team and sponsor were designed by Dutch design agency Studio Dumbar Rotterdam in 2009. Everything AG2R-La Mondiale is designed instead of plastered with company logos. A consistent corporate identity, one of the best during this year’s Tour de France and definitely an improvement over the old AG2R identity.

Tour de France 2011 BMC Racing Team logo and jersey

BMC Racing Team (UCI World Tour team)
BMC is a Switzerland-based bicycle frame manufacturer.

Bicycle Manufacturing Company. Wow, that’s a great name for a bicycle manufacturing company. I’m not sure what to think of their logo. It looks kind of mountainbikish. Every time I see this logo I keep wondering why the designer decided to add the two appendices. Perhaps just because BMC “doesn’t believe in all that conventional stuff.”

Tour de France 2011 Cofidis logo and jersey

Equipe COFIDIS (UCI Professional Continental team)
Cofidis is a money-lending company.

If you lend money from Cofidis the sun starts shining. That’s the message and they get it across with a little help from MS Paint.
This is – hands down – the worst logo in the Tour de France. The jersey looks pretty awful too, like it’s ‘designed’ using MS Word. The team looks awful and they know it. No wonder they haven’t won a single stage yet.

Tour de France 2011 Euskaltel-Euskadi logo and jersey

Euskaltel is a Basque telecom company, Euskadi is the name of the Basque cycling foundation.

Like Lampre and Rabobank Euskaltel has been present in the Tour de France for over a decade. We’re so familiar with their orange jerseys it isn’t even necessary anymore to print a logo on it. Euskaltel’s logo features some typical telephone-company-typography. The Euskadi logo is quite mediocre; it doesn’t leave an impression. At all.

Tour de France 2011 FDJ logo and jersey

FDJ Française des Jeux (UCI Professional Continental team)
Française des Jeux is the name of the French national lottery.

Despite the use of gradients the new logo looks better than the old Française des Jeux logo. When seen from a helicopter, their jerseys look very similar to other teams, which makes this team only visible in a breakaway or during close-ups.

Tour de France 2011 HTC Highroad logo and jersey

HTC-High Road (UCI World Tour team)
HTC Corporation is a Taiwanese manufacturer of smartphones. High Road Sports is the management company of team manager Bob Stapleton.

No, this team is not from Jamaica. The color scheme is a mix of HTC’s green/black and Highroad’s yellow colors. Awful. But not as awful as Highroad’s logo. It looks like a carpet factory from the 1970s. At the moment Mr. Stapleton is looking fo a new sponsor. This might be the right time to start looking for a new logo designer as well.

Tour de France 2011 Katusha logo and jersey

KATUSHA (UCI World Tour team)
Unlike other teams Katusha isn’t named after a sponsor.

This might be great design in Russia, but in my book it’s not. It’s a mess and it just doesn’t work. It all becomes grey instead of black and white. The lack of contrast makes it hard to read the team’s name. The team doesn’t stand out in the peloton, among other teams with red or blue jerseys.

Tour de France 2011 Lampre logo and jersey

LAMPRE (UCI World Tour team)
The team is sponsored by LAMPRE, an Italian manufacturer of prefinished steel sheet materials and ISD, a Ukrainian steel manufacturer.

A manufacturer of something masculine as steel products using feminine colors like pink and purple? That may sound unlikely, but they’ve been using the same color scheme since 1990, but only for the cycling team; the colors of the LAMPRE Group are red and grey.

Tour de France 2011 Liquigas Cannondale logo and jersey

Liquigas is a provider of liquified gas products in Italy, Cannondale is an American bicycle manufacturing company.

Liquigas + Cannondale. Two wordmarks that aren’t very recognizable. It’s the green color that makes this team stand out in the peloton. For some reason it’s also one of the more invisible teams during the Tour de France.

Tour de France 2011 Movistar logo and jersey

MOVISTAR (UCI World Tour team)
The title sponsor is the Spanish mobile telephone company Telefónica, with the team riding under the name of the company’s brand Movistar.

When you look at the Movistar logo you immediately know it’s a telephone company. Which is an accomplishment. They kept the jersey quite minimalistic. The logo is bright and large, but the dark blue background makes the riders quite invisible in the peloton during this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France 2011 Omega Pharma Lotto logo and jersey

OMEGA PHARMA – LOTTO (UCI World Tour team)
Omega Pharma is a Belgian Pharmaceutical company. Lotto is the name of the Belgian national lottery.

I didn’t like the Omega Pharma Lotto jerseys at first, but they grew on me. It’s kind of weird: it looks good on the more elegant riders like Gilbert and Vanendert, but looks awful when Greipel wears it. Too many logos on this shirt, which doesn’t work: the 7 logos above Omega Pharma become just a grey blur. The Lotto logo is an awkward one, not particularly beautiful, but it does its job well: it’s instantly recognizable.

Tour de France 2011 Astana logo and jersey

Pro Team ASTANA (UCI World Tour team)
The team is sponsored by the Astana group, a coalition of state-owned companies from Kazakhstan and named after its capital city Astana.

The design and colors of the logo and jersey are based on the flag of Kazakhstan. It makes the team stand out from the crowd. I’m not a fan of turquoise though. I’m not a fan of the turquoise/yellow color combination either.

Tour de France 2011 Quickstep logo and jersey

QUICKSTEP Cycling team (UCI World Tour team)
The sponsor Quick Step is a manufacturer of laminate flooring.

Amateur hour. When text is too large to fit in a box, there a few options: a) reduce the size of the type b) choose a condensed version of the typeface.
In this case the designer went for the second option (Futura Condensed Extra Bold), but the text still didn’t fit in the oval shape. The quite amateurish solution: adjusting the width of the letters to 75%.

If you look closely you’ll notice they made a ‘mistake’ on Chavanel’s French national champion jersey: the logo on his chest is set in a 100%-width-version of Futura Condensed Extra Bold.

Tour de France 2011 Quickstep logo and jersey

RABOBANK Cycling team (UCI World Tour team)
The team’s title sponsor Rabobank is a Dutch bank.

I don’t know much about the psychology of colors, but orange and blue just doesn’t seem right for a bank. I’m not very fond of their logo and jersey either. Both look dated.

Tour de France 2011 Saur-Sojasun logo and jersey

SAUR-SOJASUN (UCI Professional Continental team)
Saur is a large company that’s involved in all kinds of infrastructure projects. Sojasun is a manufacturer of soy-based products.

I feel sorry for the designer of this jersey. It’s impossible to create something good of an awful logo like Saur’s. Riders of Continental teams may be professional or amateur, which explains why Continental teams often are sponsored by relatively small companies with even smaller budgets for graphic design. Hands down the worst designed jerseys in this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France 2011 Saxo Bank Sungard logo and jersey

The team is sponsored by Saxo Bank, a Danish investment bank, and Sungard, a software company.

This is a mystery. I don’t have a clue why the team has a sabre-toothed logo. Perhaps it’s meant to be the tip of the eagles wing (team manager Bjarne Riis’ nickname was The Eagle from Herning). Both the Saxo Bank and Sungard logos are quite boring, which makes the team jerseys almost invisible in the peloton. So far it hasn’t been easy to spot Contador during the Tour de France broadcasts.

Tour de France 2011 Saxo Bank Sungard logo and jersey

SKY Procycling (UCI World Tour team)
The team is sponsored by British Sky Broadcasting, the largest pay-TV broadcaster in the United Kingdom.

Team Sky rides with special Rainforest Rescue Tour de France jerseys, to help save 1 billion trees. The jerseys still look great. Those dark jerseys are becoming a trend in the peloton and I love it. Very sophisticated. One of the best looking teams in the peloton during this year’s Tour de France.

The Sky identity was designed by Wolff Olins, The Sky Pro Cycling identity was designed by London-based design and advertising agency Andtidote.

Tour de France 2011 Europcar logo and jersey

Team EUROPCAR (UCI Professional Continental team)
The team’s title sponsor Europcar is a Paris-based car rental company.

There’s not much to say about this design. It’s all mediocre. Not good, not bad either. A typical Continental team jersey, which looks kind of cheap due to the dark green/black color combination. It looks good on ‘rockstar’ Rolland though, next to Voeckler’s yellow jersey.

Tour de France 2011 Garmin Cervelo logo and jersey

Team GARMIN-CERVELO (UCI World Tour team)
Garmin, a maker of global positioning devices (GPS), Cervélo is a bicycle manufacturer.

The Garmin-Cervélo team rides with special Tour de France jerseys, “specifically designed to keep you cool during the hottest summer months.” I prefer the normal, black version the team used during the team time trial. The white jersey looks kind of messy, and the names of the sponsors are harder to read. Still a better design than many other teams though.

Both the regular Garmin-Cervélo Team Kit and Garmin-Cervélo 2011 Tour de France Kit were designed and produced by Italian cycling clothing manufacturer Castelli.

Tour de France 2011 Leopard Trek logo and jersey

Team LEOPARD – TREK (UCI World Tour team)
Trek is a bicycle manufacturer.

The entire Leopard Trek identity was designed by Belgian/French Minale Design Strategy. Everything looks great: from the website, the team bus to their bikes and bottles. Consistent and classy, but not very adventurous.

Tour de France 2011 Leopard Trek logo and jersey

Team RADIOSHACK (UCI World Tour team)
The team is sponsored by the RadioShack Corporation, which is an American franchise of electronics retail stores in the United States, as well as parts of Europe, South America and Africa.

During the last day of last year’s Tour de France the Radioshack team members started the stage in a special Livestrong “28” jersey. I loved it’s minimalistic, classy design and hoped the 2011 version of the team jersey would have a similar design. The new jersey is a disappointment. I’ve seen it in all the spring classics and the Giro d’Italia and I still can’t get used to it. Its cheap looking design is just not for winners. No wonder they keep crashing during this year’s Tour de France.

Tour de France 2011 Leopard Trek logo and jersey

VACANSOLEIL-DCM Pro cycyling team (UCI World Tour team)
The team’s title sponsor Vacansoleil is a European company which organizes luxury camping holidays. DCM is a Belgian farm supply company.

This year the Vacansoleil-DCM team got promoted from Continental team to World Tour team but their logo and jersey stayed the same. Nine logos are plastered across the front of the jerseys, which is a bit too much. The DCM logo doesn’t help either. The Vacansoleil logo looks dated and a tad weird, with the modified V, A’s and O. Johnny Hoogerland looked much better in the polka dot jersey.

Graphic design in the Tour de France

01) Team logos and jerseys + 02) Bicycle manufacturer logos + 03) Bicycle components manufacturer logos + 04) Saddle and pedal logos + 05) Wheels and tires logos + 06) Helmets and glasses logos + 07) Shoes and clothing logos

  1. Chris Dawson says:

    Re AG2R-La Mondiale: I agree that the jersey design is well done, but the team’s brown shorts are an abomination. Worse is that they’re not really brown–depending on the lighting and the TV you’re viewing, they look like the riders’ moms used too much bleach and overwashed black shorts. As a whole, the kit is terrible.

  2. Bemmy says:

    I like the designs, need lots of ideas…

  3. Julian says:

    AG2R La Mondial brown shorts look fantastic in real life, & yes I have to admit I didn’t like them initially. Lets face it anything has got to be better if it gets us away from the apparent preference in the pro peleton for black!