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Gregory Thorne is a communications designer working in bicycle and apparel design. His work has appeared at craft beer and cycling festival Gears and Beers, and he designed the Cycling Tips Cape Epic kit, also made with Rapha Custom.

What brought about your Rapha Custom kit?

I was inspired by the relationship between person and pavement.

The main pattern is inspired by Volcanic basalt, better known as bluestone. It’s used to build foundations, pavements and cobbled laneways throughout Melbourne. When it’s cut and polished, it has a beautiful, intricate quality.

The overlaid design represents street maps, tram lines, and surveyor’s marks spray painted on the ground. The dots are inspired by the Tenji Blocks used by the visually impaired to navigate – when weathered and worn they create a code-like pattern I couldn’t ignore.

How was the design put together?

I started by building a cache of photos with different examples of bluestone, where I looked for patterns, textures and blemishes.

Bluestone comes in a range of hues. I found that utilising a multi point gradient allowed me to represent this across each piece of the kit, going from black to grey to blue to green.

The typography was sketched then made into a vector graphic using Illustrator. All the elements were brought together in the Rapha Custom design tool.

Tell us a bit about the design process?

I try to approach each project like a problem solving exercise. I think this is where art differs from design: Art is about inner expression and emotion, where design as a practise is about creating something that solves a problem and conveys a narrative without too much explanation.

I usually design digitally when creating patterns and textures for garments, however I really wanted to see how far I could explore different mediums to tell an interesting story.

What does cycling mean to you?

Cycling is essential to most parts of my life. I train and race, commute by bike, and my work is in the cycling industry. I feel very privileged to be able to follow a career path that allows me to merge my two greatest passions, cycling and design.

Cycling as a pastime and a sport gives me mental and emotional balance. It also drives a need to create meaningful and worthwhile design that positively affects people’s lives and experiences, on and off the bike.

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