Inkwell Helmets are a series of one-of-a-kind, hand-painted and vinyl-printed designs for cyclists of all styles, personalities, and fashion sensibilities.
The helmets are CPSC-certified, ASTM-compliant (which means they’re totally safe to wear). The designs are created with acrylics, archival ink, and vinyl then treated with a non-toxic, non-corrosive, water-resistant polyurethane sealer to prevent chipping and scratching.
Every design is in-studio created in New York by the company founder Danielle Baskin.
Over 400 miles of bike lanes have been created in New York City to date. The advent of bike share makes it clear that New York City streets will increasingly be shared by bikes and automobiles.
Cycling is exploding in popularity right now, and it’s not just unique to New York. In cities like Portland, Atlanta, Austin, San Francisco, London, Munich, and Copenhagen (to name a few) more urban dwellers are turning on to cycling, be they commuters, recreational, or occasional cyclists.
As cycling becomes more inclusive, the products of the industry should reflect this expanding consumer base. The current state of bicycle helmets does not. As important as these objects are to wear, the majority of helmets in the sporting goods industry are unfashionable and can unfortunately turn cyclists off to the idea of wearing one. Inkwell Helmets is working to change that.
We all make choices about how we dress or what art to hang on our walls, Inkwell Helmets believes that such choices should also be made with the helmet; it’s an object you wear and see every day. Yet, this is nearly impossible to do on a mass-produced level. Factories require minimums of designs, often by the thousands, and the designs have creative limits because of pixel warping from the machines that make them.
Inkwell Helmets is a design company based in New York that specializes in unique, whimsical, and stylish hand-painted bicycle helmets. Founder, Danielle Baskin, is an art director, painter, and sculptor. She started painting helmets after finally deciding to wear a helmet while commuting by bike in the city.
Most of the helmets she found were drab and bulky, and the same helmet options were in every store. In a flash of inspiration, she bought a blank helmet and treated it like a canvas, painting a blue sky with clouds and sealed it with a glossy varnish to emulate the light of the sun.
With her intention to camouflage her helmet with her surroundings, she ended up mastering helmet painting. This inspired a dozen more designs. The collection began by painting helmets for friends, then gradually turned into a business after the helmets started garnering attention when worn by cyclists in the street and at intersections.
Since starting her hand-painted and customized helmet company, her work has been featured in several publications including The New York Times and Wired. Inkwell Helmets are sold at 12 retailers around the world including the Brooklyn Museum.
Using the combination of hand- and vinyl-painting, her new line of bicycle helmets seeks to turn these artworks into an affordable, practical, everyday design object. She hopes to inspire people to wear a helmet.
1. Dark Gray With Saturns 2. Faded Blue with Anchors 3. Turquoise & Tan Gradient with Butterflies 4. Light Blue with Scientific Fish Illustrations 5. Blue and White Floral Toile 6. Speckled Green with Helicopters and Pterodactyls 7. Black with Lightning 8. Faded Purple with Phases of the Moon 9. Off-white and Pink with Palm Trees 10. Coral with Paper Cranes 11. Tan with Burgundy Stripes 12. Dark Turquoise with Televisions 13. Speckled Yellow with Kittens & Yarn 14. Light Pink With Cats 15. Mint Green With Planes
• Helmets are safety-certified multi-sport helmets. They are approved CPSC 16CFR PART 1203 Standard for cycling and ASTM F1492-2009 Standard for skateboarding, inline skating, and scooters.
• Paint, vinyl, and polyurethane are certified AP non-toxic and UV-protected.
• All materials used to decorate the helmets are manufactured in the USA.
• The varnish is water and scratch-resistant and UV-protected. You can wear the helmet in all types of weather or seasons (but don’t leave it out in the rain overnight).
• Features 11 cooling vents.
• Designed to fit comfortably in a range of sizes. S/M fits head sizes 21”-22.75” L/XL fits head sizes 23” -24.75”.
• Helmets come with adjustable foam padding. If the helmet doesn’t fit, returns and exchanges are possible.*
The product will get scuffs, slight chips, and marks as any object would. But the paint will not peel off. The best way to take care of your Inkwell Helmet is to occasionally wipe it clean with a damp cloth, or be careful with it.
These are truly one-of-a-kind designs. This is the first batch of vinyl printed helmets Inkwell Helmets is creating. You can look forward to new designs every few months.
Inkwell Helmets doesn’t include its own branding on the helmet. Instead of our company name, to retain its bespoke feel among the sporting goods, each design has Danielle’s minuscule signature on the base.
I’m developing my helmet making process to lower the prices and increase production volume. Initial costs include: a roll of vinyl, a vinyl plotter, ink, gel mediums, high quality paint and varnishes, a heat gun, a modern printer, a bulk order of blank helmets, and storage space.
I’m relying on your support to get the manufacturing rolling. These helmets will eventually retail for $75, all of our supporters will receive helmets at discounted prices, and our early bird supporters will receive an even greater discount.
All of our supporters will also be the first ones to set the trend of wearing these cool helmets! If you’re not in the market for a helmet, I have other awesome products to send you, like hand-painted LED valve caps or original artwork.
Currently Inkwell Helmets is a one-person company working in a limited scale out of a studio in New York. I’m seeking your support through Crowd Supply to help my company grow, bring these unique items to market, get them on more heads, and convince more cyclists to wear their helmet!
With quality paint and materials, blank helmets in stock, and technical talent, Danielle will be able to make any helmets ordered from the vinyl-printed series in 30 days. Danielle has established a great relationship with CPSC-certified helmet supplier, Seven Star Sports.
She has an array of design ideas, and the drive to create, but she’s waiting to churn these out until she receives financial support to begin production. When the campaign ends, the series of 15 design options will be made to order for each backer.
Slight variations will occur helmet to helmet, in color hue and in composition, as these will all be done by hand in her studio in New York (meaning it’s one-of-a-kind). Helmets that have custom requests and are fully hand-painted will take 60-90 days to create and ship.
Inkwell Helmets is dedicated to creating the most awesome-as-possible designs for your bike helmets in a way that’s affordable and practical for all cyclists. I’ve figured out a way to create cool, trendy, and colorful graphics efficiently without the restrictions of mass-production. My goal is to have prices in line with that of similar styles of helmets in the market, while still offering something completely different: a portable work of art.
Working with vinyl poses several challenges. It has to be done carefully and meticulously. This includes color-matching vinyl with acrylic paint, treating the vinyl with a series of gels and mediums to ensure UV-protection and water-resistance, designing the initial vinyl patterns in Illustrator and Photoshop, and running the entirety of the business as a solo operation.
This will involve an investment in products, resources, and time to create the initial helmets to perfect the process. Creating vinyl helmets with custom logos will require significant time tweaking the logo to make sure it works nicely on a curved surface. The first batch of my helmets made with vinyl.
The process will be slow at first. Reprints and repaints may be necessary. This ensures that each helmet that leaves my studio is high quality work and has the same level of durability as my previous designs created over the last three years. Once I’m over the learning curve with this new production process and master the materials, the process will become speedier.