When she’s not producing visual graphics for the team, Rally Cycling art director Emily Saint.Onge can often be found doing something outdoors with her daughter and husband. In this week’s Things With interview, you’ll hear about her growing love of cycling and the life-changing decision that took her away from veterinary medicine and ultimately led her to the team.
I love being part of a team. Before joining Rally Cycling, I was just about aware of the Tour de France, but I had almost no knowledge besides that. Now I love watching the team and following the races. You get to know the riders and you’re so happy for them because you know they’re talented and they deserve success. Basically, I’m a big fan of my own team!
I’m not afraid to make mistakes. It’s easy to get stressed when we have a lot of deadlines, but I’ve learned not to rush projects. Instead, I know I can communicate to the team if I need help or a little more time to finish something off. The work atmosphere is really positive and everyone is encouraged to speak openly and honestly, we say what’s on our minds.
I produce visual graphics for the team. These graphics range from jersey design, helmets, vehicle wraps, website design, posters, social media graphics, monthly social dashboard reports, pitch decks for potential sponsors, sales docs with Rally Health, etc. There are so many different projects that come up, and some that are very unique.
One of my favorite projects is the custom bikes we make in support of UHCCF. We layout the designs, I do most everything in Adobe Illustrator, and then we send them off to Brad Galvin who is an amazing painter. We’ve done a whole series based on the personalities of the previous UHCCF grant recipients, like the Jackson Pollock bike inspired by a kid who wanted to be an artist.
I’ve always enjoyed recreational activities like hiking, running, camping, and fishing. I’m from the Crosslake area in Minnesota and grew up going camping and scuba diving with my Dad and brothers. Then in high school, I took quite a few scuba diving classes through PSEO and tried ice diving for a new experience. I was simply wanting to try new things and push my boundaries.
I studied veterinary medicine before switching my major in College. I’ve always loved animals and from about fourth grade I had my whole career mapped out, including where I wanted to go to college. But I was almost done with my undergraduate degree when I rediscovered my childhood love for art and design.
I took a painting class in college just to de-stress. I was doing a lot of science and math-based classes and I needed a little variety in my day-to-day schedule. Then I found that I was really good at it, and not only that, I felt part of a community. There was this moment when I realized I was heading for the wrong career. For my whole life I’d had this direction, this goal, but I made the decision to change to design and I don’t regret it!
Making the change was a bit of an ordeal. I was stressed out because I only had a semester left of my undergraduate and I didn’t want to start over. It was a weird time too because I got into a longboarding accident and my right hand, my dominant hand, was in a cast, making it difficult to write notes and take tests. But that helped me decide to cancel my classes and I ended up taking a break before starting my graphic design courses the next semester.
I’ve worked for Circuit Sport for nearly six years. I was a design intern for YMCA before and was looking for something more substantial. I was interested in sports and fitness-related jobs and Circuit Sport had posted a position for a designer on LinkedIn. I was contacted by Sam Wiebe the same day I applied and was interviewed a week later. We met at a coffee shop and he hired me on the spot.
The team jersey is one of the big jobs for the fall. We come up with different ideas and then work with our title partner on a final design. We have to be conscientious and stick with their brand guidelines, but we like to give them a simple version and then maybe a more bold look. Oftentimes, cycling jerseys are very basic and we want to be a little more eye-catching. So this year we’ve got our classic white logos over what we’re calling geodes, the little rectangle color blocks on the kit.
The team has more clout than when I started. We’ve kept growing as a company and our following has increased with that. We have an amazing creative and social outlook that stands out among other cycling teams. We like to come up with ideas for new content and graphics to keep Rally Cycling’s fans up to date.
I finally bought my first road bike after a campaign we did with Rally Health. As a collaborative effort we researched and found scholarly articles on why cycling is so good for you. So that’s when I started riding to work, saving on gas, just being outside. At one point I was riding roughly 20 miles roundtrip on steep hills. I wasn’t used to road bikes before and I loved it!
The best thing about this job is the people I work with. I’m surrounded by really wonderful and talented people at Rally Cycling, both staff and athletes. It’s super helpful to work in a supportive environment where we can all share our passions.
For more Things With interviews, visit the team’s Q&A section.