London design studio Carter Wong doesn’t produce books very often but when it does, they’re quirky and collectible. And bicycle based. The last one was a softback, called 1057, produced in 2000, and containing photos of the UK’s road symbol for a bicycle, the technical code name for which is 1057.
The latest title is A Cycling Lexicon, and it’s an A to Z of bicycle headbadges, most of them historic, some more modern such as the one for Bike Friday. Company co-founder Phil Carter is a bike nut and believes bicycle head badges are “graphic jewels.” In the book’s foreword, designer and global fashion retailer Sir Paul Smith – another bike nut – said bike head badges were "little pieces of art.”
The badges photographed for the book are from the collection of Jeff Conner, a biology professor at Michigan University.
Many of the badges feature symbols of freedom, speed and flight – with wings and birds clearly being an 1890s meme – and there are plenty of heraldic animals such as serpents and lions, too. And a heron, of course. (Raleigh has a beaky bird for its logo because the Bowden family crest featured a heron: Sir Frank Bowden bought a tiny bike company in the 1880s, a three-man craft bike builder based on Raleigh Street in Nottingham, and made it into a huge one).