The Apple Pencil is changing Rapha’s design workflow

If you’ve been looking for cycle clothing, chances are you’ve seen some of Rapha’s items. Rapha isn’t just a utilitarian clothing company and focuses on design to make cycle clothing a bit more sylish. And interestingly, Rapha’s head of design Alex Valdman has become a big Apple Pencil advocate.

Apple has jumped on this opportunity to produce a good-looking short film about Valdman and Rapha in general. And it’s interesting to see how a peripheral device like the Apple Pencil can affect the workflows of non-tech companies.

With many items produced in the U.K. and Italy, Rapha isn’t the cheapest brand for cycle clothing. But it doesn’t want to be. Instead, the company is focusing on style.

I’d describe Rapha clothes as colorful, minimalistic designs that respect the tradition and heritage of decades of cycle clothing. The company also relies a lot on geometric patterns with tasteful lines, triangles and other shapes.

“Before iPad Pro and Apple Pencil, I had so many notebooks floating around,” Rapha’s head of design Alex Valdman told me. “One in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, work, totes, back packs, a mini one in my wallet. You get the picture. Always a notebook at arms reach.”

But Valdman’s workflow changed quite a lot with the iPad Pro. Like any other computer, it’s much easier to share a drawing once it’s just a file on your iPad Pro or laptop. Valdman went one step further and ditched all of his notebooks even for the very early sketches.

“I’m gate-keeping over 800 options in the collection times 3 overlapping seasons, 200 emails a day in the inbox, designing, getting inspired and turning that into a direction, meetings, reports, a new house to design and all the personal stuff like booking travel, music, bills, etc,” he told me. “There’s only one object that can help me get that organized, communicate creative and fit into a Musette bag. iPad Pro puts your entire life in the palm of your hand.”

And of course, Valdman shares his designs with his team who are also using iPads to collaborate on new designs. Valdman told me he mostly uses Procreate, a few Adobe apps and Goodnotes for his drawings. While I don’t have any compelling reason to use the Apple Pencil, I find it quite interesting to see how it could have a big impact on people who draw every day for a living.