Shelby Bicycle Museum design “behind-the-scenes”
Now that the Shelby Bicycle Museum is officially installed and open to the public, I thought it might be interesting to pull back the curtain on a few of the “whys” behind the visuals I designed.
Why does the Shelby Bicycle Museum logo look like that?
After trying several different logos directions, I found myself clicking through images of old metal Shelby bicycle head badges. Why not use those as inspiration? The resulting logo design suggests a bicycle head badge from the heyday of the Shelby Cycle Co.
Why the big picture of Clarence “Whippet” Wagner?
What better way to be pulled into history than to stand next to a life-size photo taken about 100 years ago? Some things change, and some things stay pretty much the same. That image seemed to have a nice combination of both. At that large size, and with Clarence’s ‘Spirit of Shelby’ sign, it serves as a nice welcome to the museum for all ages.
Why all the non-bicycle dates and events?
“An exhibition is a room with a plot.” – I learned this phrase from Pentagram, an international design firm. It helped frame my approach, in hopes the exhibit would feel more like a story, and not just a bunch of people, dates, and objects from long ago.
The non-Shelby, non-bicycle tidbits provide context, to show how events in the town and the rest of the world affected each other. As early as the late 1800s, Shelby was connected to the national and even global economy.
Why scannable QR codes?
Creating an exhibit of mostly printed graphics creates a few challenges. First, how do you present things like long in-depth articles, or video clips? Second, how do you keep the content updated?
The QR codes help solve those problems.
- Pointing a smartphone camera at a QR Code gives you the option to scan the code.
- Each code points to a specific web page address.
- Each page can hold in-depth information, or links to other resources, or albums of photos, or video or sound clips.
- Each page can be added to or updated at any time.
- Whoever scans a QR Code always sees the latest version of the page. It’s like anyone calling one phone number that plays a message, but the message can be updated any time.
The QR Codes will help keep the museum fresher, richer, and extend the useful life of the printed graphics.
Why ‘Started in Shelby’?
History is not just what happened long ago, disconnected from today. History is what we are making now, because today’s events are tomorrow’s history.
We were able to highlight some things that were started in Shelby. There are countless more, large and small. From families that settled here, to school projects, to businesses and organizations, to traditions and friendships, “Started in Shelby” is not just something that happened. It’s something that’s happening, and will continue as long as the town and people of Shelby are around.
This developed into the idea of…
“Started in Shelby: a legacy of entrepreneurial spirit.”
- A phrase to connect the bicycle museum history with the present and future.
- A logo that incorporates three of Shelby’s most successful historic entrepreneurship ventures – light bulbs, seamless tubes, and bicycles.
- A possible ‘Started in Shelby’ entrepreneurial spirit award, for both adult and youth initiatives.
- A symbol for local pride, with ‘Started in Shelby’ printed items as a way to raise awareness and funds for a future permanent home for the bicycle museum. The phrase connects not just to Shelby business history, but also to anyone who was born in Shelby, who graduated school here, who was married here, who started a club or a tradition, or had any kind of beginning here.
Why was I drawn to this project?
My great-great grandfather was Joseph Seltzer. I grew up visiting my grandparents at their home overlooking Seltzer park, but never knowing much about my family history and connection to the community. Something about making bicycles, but that was about it. My curiosity was piqued in 2019 when my great grandfather John Seltzer was inducted into the Shelby High School Hall of Distinction. After the ceremony, Christina Drain gave an impromptu tour of the new Justice Center and brought up the idea for this bicycle museum. It felt like something I needed to do.
Working on the exhibits for the Shelby Bicycle Museum turned out to be a real blessing. In the process of reading, research, and design, I have learned so much about my own family, about the history of Shelby, about life 100 years ago, and about the entrepreneurial spirit that fuels much of our great country. I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to work on this project. I hope people enjoy browsing through the displays as much as I enjoyed making them.
How can you help support our museum?
• Join our society! Even if you aren’t living close by, you can still participate. We have members from Shelby to California! You don’t have to be a Shelby collector either. The “Tuby” made seamless tubing for many bicycles of the era. See our membership page to join.
• Loan or donate items to the museum. Loaned items can be returned at any time. Donations may be tax deductible as we are a 501(c)3. Anything that illustrates the history of the bicycle companies is acceptable.
Thank you for your interest in Shelby bicycles and in preserving the memory of a vital part of Shelby’s history.