Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic – Technical Guide 2017

I was contacted late Sunday afternoon by Cycling Australia and asked if I could produce the Melbourne to Warrnambool Cycling Classic Technical Guide for 2017.

Sure thing I said.

I stayed tuned for some emails which provided logos (mostly large jpg’s), last year’s guide and text. I did not possess the Univers typeface much of the document was written in.  To keep costs down, rather than spent $35 for each of the 3 fonts I lacked, the Helvetica group was used instead.

After a couple of phone calls to discuss the minor details, I got started.

The most time-consuming part was setting up the page template.  From last year’s guide I was able to extract the images relating to maps, mocka and signage.  A few 2016 dates needed changing to 2017.  It had been a while since I’d used InDesign, so it was good to take it for a spin.

The main page needed some logos changed and the footer on all pages needed a 2016 changed to a 2017.  Blanking out the old logos using a white box in Illustrator allowed me to hide them and add the new ones, rather than fiddle with layer extraction.  Importing last year’s pdf into Illustrator and creating an art board around the footer and changing the year allowed me to import that into the InDesign template I created.

InDesign did not like me when I did my high quality pdf export – lots of images at the wrong resolution and using RBG, not CMYK, however the final result does the job and the print out renders well.

I could have charged for the “late notice, rush job” though waived this fee and charged standard rates.  Why was this?  I was a little rusty so could not produce my best work (though one can argue that could be the case with all rush jobs).

The winning rider image from 2016, I grabbed from Rob Gunstone’s Twitter post from last year and advised the Cycling Australia to double-check that the use of the image was approved by the photographer.

Excluding some cleanup, the project took me 8 hours.

This is v1a of the #M2W17 Technical guide (there might have been slight changes between this and the distributed file).

2017 M2W TechGuide v1.2a

2017 M2W TechGuide v1.2a #M2W17.


“Discount” Rates

This month I appear to have been working on the cheap.  Towards the start of the month, I conducted bicycle maintenance work for a friend of my house mate.  This involved changing overa cluster and chain, checking the gearing and fitting new handle bar tape. For this I charged 6 blocks of 220g Cadbury chocolate. 3x dream, 3x peppermint.

A couple of weeks ago, I designed an event flyer for $15 – the cost of race entry to the event.  I did that as I was feeling generous on the day of the request and had nothing better to do. The task was also good to learn a few more Illustrator techniques.

Towards the end of last month, I was approached by my cycling club to design a flyer for a safety initiative the began.  For this one, I gave the option of a no frills flyer for $250, or one where they get 3 versions and get to choose the winner for development for ~$600.  They went with the no frills version, and I got the signed contract and paper work back at the start of the week so worked on that one evening.  I’m not happy with a couple of design aspects of this one, so it’s into a drawer until the weekend when I can look at it with new eyes.

Last week I was contacted by an ex regarding designing some wedding wrapping to specification.  I did that over the course of two nights and learned how to use Illustrator to produce the style of graphics I wanted to use when I designed my World Track Championships poster last year.  This work borrowed heavily from the supplied artwork’s background, but they appear not to be unique so no copyright issues there (and if there are, Mr. Original Designer, let me know).  For the wrap, I asked for some chockies (either the aforementioned 22g blocks or a toblerone or two).

Today I was asked if a student working in a lab where they wear a t-shirt design of mine could have a digital file of the design for a promo.  For that, I have asked for payment in the form of a plug for the designer (me) and some chockies.  2018 update.  Nothing came of this of course.  That is why $$ rule.


I recently attended an information session on “movie and tv extras”

Last week I ventured out to “an information session” run by a talent agency.  They had advertised for extras on job boards recently and I figured it was worth a look.

Randomly distributed on the seats in a hired function room, were flyers containing lots of testimonials.  Always positive.  Always fairly light on information.

The session was run both both of the company’s principals.  Did this mean they had no staff to dedicate to running info sessions or they had no staff?  If no staff they must have been raking in the cash.

After an hour of saying what they did (provide extras for TV and movies in Melbourne only), showing lots of testimonials and quickly glossing over how for $295, we could register with them, of the 60 or so people in the room, about 40 signed up.

After the session I asked how soon I could expect a return on my investment. They could not given me any answers and given I am currently Government funded due to being unemployed, the $295 is not within my budget.

The cynical side of me thinks there were a few plants in the room who went up immediately to the guy with the ATM machine and eagerly handed over their money.  If so, a great use of their non speaking extra pool.

With a conservative 35 of those who attended the information session singing up, that netted the talent agency $10325 for an hour’s work.  Take away room hire (say $500) and the photography shoot for everyone’s online profile (say $150 per person, bulk deal), the agency still made a little under $5000.  If two of those sessions are run a week, even without their 20% commission on any extras they place, the two human agency would be raking in the cash.


Some People Do Not Even Try

In the mail today there was a flyer for a local coffee shop.  It consisted of a colour scan and some biro and a business logo.  You can see it below in it’s full wonder – the image is an unedited scan of the A4 “flyer”.  Talk about not trying!

Pissweak advert appearing in my physical mail box today

It’s the same standard as this crappy five minute photo manipulation I just whipped up as a comparison.

5 min crappy photomanipulation


Late Night Due to Rush Job

On Sunday afternoon I was contact by my cycling club’s Vice President regarding signage for next weekend’s Baw Baw Classic.  She wanted to have the artwork for some gantry signs made up and need it for the printers on Monday.

I agreed to do this as if things worked out well I would be able to say I had designed the signs and at least 200 people will see them, possibly more if the start of finish lines get on SBS as it has the last couple of years.

While driving back to my base in Melbourne, I was thinking about the work.  I had photos of the signs from the last couple of years so no problems designing something to emulate previous years.  My only concerns were that I would have to create a few of the sponsor logos from scratch.

I had already redrawn the Baw Baw Alpine Resort logo a few weeks back for incorporation into the race log and had a club logo and my business logo as ai files.  The race director was able to give me a pdf of her logo which opened us as a vector in Illustrator.  This left three logos to recreate: the Champion System logo, Deploy Traffic Management Systems and Wakefiled and Vogrig Lawyers.

I had cycling gear templates from Champion System so it was pretty straight forward to design their logo.  It differs from the provided logo, but matches the one used on the signs.

The Wakefeld logo was also fairly easy to recreate.  The black type was a standard Adobe system font.  I needed to trace the blue type as I could not identify it.  I was worried the “S” in lawyers was a bit wobbly, but looking at it 24 hours later, it looks acceptable.

The final logo for the traffic? management company posed the biggest challenge.  I was unable to identify the type, but after visually examining other fonts I determined it was probably Helvetica, but vertically stretched with some weird assed kerning applied.  The closet font to this on my computer was Arial. To get it to look like the font used I had to modify the tail on the “a”. The “g” I left as is.

Once I’d created the signs, I sent the ai file, with embedded logos, a pdf of the file and mockups to the VP.  I’ll take some happy snaps of the signs (assuming everything goes to plan) when they are in use on the weekend.

Okay, I’ve added photos of the signs in action.  This year, the LHS and RHS versions appear not to have been printed so the overhead sign is the same on both the left and the right.  The redrawn logos printed out very well.