Should you choose a plain helmet or a helmet with badass graphics?
Wearing a Helmet
For some, wearing a helmet is an existential dilemma (freedom of expression and all that); for others, it's a no-brainer. Some states mandate motorcycle helmet use, so you don't have to think about these things. States that don't require helmets have higher rates of motorcycle accident fatalities and serious accident-related head injuries.
Most bikers have a helmet (probably more than one) - even if they don't wear it much. When buying a helmet, pick one that offers you the kind of protection that suites how you ride. This usually means shelling out some cash for some top-quality head-protection gear.
Helmet Graphics vs. One Solid Color
So, now you have a full-face helmet, open-face retro style or beanie-style helmet. The next question is whether you want a helmet with graphics or you prefer a single, solid color?
One of our customers owns a store with a huge display wall filled with more than 500 custom motorcycle helmets. Every type of helmet you can imagine - coming in a range of graphics and helmet models - is on that wall.
Turns out, when it comes to the "best" motorcycle helmet out there, our customer's bestselling helmets are solid black. Around 70% of the helmets he ends up selling are solid black - maybe to decorate with decals for a truly custom look. Those pre-styled, cool graphic helmets make up the other 30% (and add a lot of artistic edge to his wall display).
Lethal Threat Custom Motorcycle Helmets
For the 30% of you out there who gravitate toward wild, crazy and original helmet designs, Lethal Threat can help you out. We design wicked-looking graphics and art for helmet companies around the world.
Clients furnish us with the helmet shell and/or a digital template of every helmet angle so we can lay the art out around helmet vents, visors, bolts and other fittings. The "soul" and riding style of the helmet owner is important too. For example, a motocross helmet will usually feature colorful, loud graphics, while a retro open face helmet will highlight a more hand-drawn, distressed-style design.
How to Design Cool Motorcycle Helmets
Some helmet companies just tell us to design something "cool," leaving the core ideas up to us. Other clients have specific ideas they're after. Either way, it is usually a back-and-forth process until the client is satisfied.
One of the most difficult design requests we get is flames because there are many different ways to render flames - from hot rod-style to realistic-looking fire and more. Also, we build our graphics on a computer screen, meaning these graphics (including flames) need to curve and look awesome when printed as waterslide decals. This foresight means they look perfect hand-installed on the curved helmet.
Motorcycle Helmet Decals
All helmet graphics start out as decals. Decals are cut into sections, then puzzle-fitted by hand onto the helmet to create the full graphic. Once the graphics are in place, the helmet is sprayed with multiple coats of clear lacquer paint to seal in the decals - giving the helmet a glass-like finish.
If your heart desires a hand-painted helmet (as opposed to using decals), the first step is finding a creative artist who knows how to paint helmets.
Pick an artist whose style of art really appeals to you. Geography shouldn't limit your search. You can mail your helmet to them or give the painter the make and model of the helmet you like, letting them pick it up locally (of course, you'll be paying for it).
Most of the time, you will have to supply the artist with a helmet (with no graphics on it) for an artistic or urbanpaint job. Find examples of paint jobs you like online. Give your chosen artist as much style direction as possible to get a custom-painted helmet that you'll be proud to show off.
Before any graphics are painted onto your retro motorcycle helmet (or another style), choose the base color and overall look. Do you want a metal flake look, shiny glimmer, matte finish, rusted antique or metal plate look? The options are seemingly endless.
And what do you want to be painted on your helmet? Does a skull motorcycle helmet appeal to your sense of style? Or do you want a cool saying scrawled across the surface - or perhaps some dangerous-looking racing stripes running down the middle of the helmet? Design ideas are only limited by your imagination. You can even get different designs painted on different sides of your helmet. A great paint job on a helmet can turn it from something ho-hum into an attention-grabbing piece of art.
So, as you can see, you can find lots of options when it comes to helmet graphics. Our advice is to choose a helmet that speaks to your inner rebel - and, of course, protects your noggin while you ride.