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Does anybody know if this is fully custom or based on an existing script font?
many thanks in advance,
Custom lettering by Nick Cooke.
Here it is on my website.
Some alternatives for those who, like me, don't have the talent of Nick Cooke: Damion, Milk, Drop, Susa
thanks for the awesome suggestions Ryuk
I'm the co-founder and former Creative Director of Rapha. I designed the logo in 2004 and then worked on final refinements with Nick. I created the concept, got the design about 95% of the way there, and then Nick added some beautiful touches: the overall authentic 'signature-like' realism and the lovely indent in the cap 'R'.
The letterforms were originally based on commercial hand-lettering that I found on the side of a 1950s (-ish) Citroen H-Van support vehicle in a French book about the Tour de France. The distinctive open shape of the 'p' was the first thing I really liked about it, although the original 'p' had a rather nasty squared off descender, which we rounded off to create a more 'ink-like' appearance.
I can't remember what the original lettering read (I'm still trying to find a copy of the original picture), although it did have the descender/ascender relationship of the final logo, but didn't include an 'R' or an 'h', which I drew from scratch.
The logo is paired with Trade Gothic, which was also inspired by the H-van... a lot of European commercial graphics of that period had the 'signature + condensed sans' combination. Despite the fact that it's actually an American typeface it just seemed to fit the slightly nostalgic '1950s European supermarket graphics' feel I was aiming for, whilst also being very functional.
I came up with the phrase 'Performance Roadwear' as a placeholder - something to balance the logo. It just sounded like a slightly pompous piece of marketing copy, the sort of thing a European sportswear brand would use. Looking back on it though, it was really important as it immediately established both our technical credentials and also our focus on road cycling. Often those instinctive things do actually hold up intellectually.
Incidentally, one of the reasons we originally chose the name Rapha was for the way it looked in a script. I did a few mock-ups of various possible brand names and 'Rapha' just looked good, even in crappy standard Edwardian Script type stuff. Rare perhaps to choose the name based on how it looked, but satisfying for someone with a background in design.
Nick did an amazing job at refining the concept and turning it from a good piece of work into a great piece of work, thanks Nick.
I found the original image, it's from a book called 'Le Tour de France Intime' by Philippe Brunel.
Thank you for writing up that interesting testimonial.
And it strikes me that somebody should teach a class (or give a conference presentation) on how to choose a company name based on the appeal of letterforms!