A new, striking design that celebrates Black History Month joined the fleet of Portland’s Biketown bicycle rental service Friday.
The collage of traditional African fabric designs to reflect the multiple dimensions of the African diaspora was created by NIKE, Inc. Color Designer Marcellus Johnson, who also worked on the color and design elements for Nike’s Black History Month footwear that debuted in January.
An alum of Portland’s Pensole Footwear Design Academy and a member of Nike’s Black Employee and Friends Network, Johnson joined the company in 2015.
“Design and the arts let us tell our stories in authentic ways. For this bike wrap, I drew from Pan-African culture and used methods of print and collage relative to our journey, in a way that speaks to how we as a people can reimagine our future,” said Johnson.
Karol Collymore, a longtime Portland African-American leader who is now a senior manager for Nike’s Global Community Impact division, called the bike wrap design “an opportunity to reflect on our city’s creativity and rich African American culture, and to highlight our commitment to celebrating a diverse and inclusive Portland.”
The bikes are part of the Culture Collection, a new series of wraps rolling out across the year that celebrate some of the communities and cultures that make up the fabric of Portland.
The Nike Black Employee and Friends Network, part of Nike’s employee networks that collectively are called NikeUnited, led the design process for the Black History Month wrap. Future Culture Collection designs will be created in collaboration with other Nike employee networks.
A companion book for Biketown’s celebration of Black History Month, created by Scout Books, will include a map of select Portland-area, African American-owned businesses located near Biketown stations, plus images of the Black History Month bike wrap and a statement by Johnson.
NIKE, Inc. is the title sponsor for Biketown, the City of Portland’s bike share system that began in July 2016 as a means to make Portland a more physically active, vibrant and innovative city.