My friend Jonathan has been working on getting me to put together a new design for a custom snowboard for myself. He found a local manufacturer named Revolution that offers a design your own snowboard option. In fact, I think the snowboard that I currently ride was manufactured by them. I don’t recall exactly, because the agency I worked for at the time (Studeo, Inc) gave it to me as a Christmas present back in 1997 or 1998. (All I had to do was pitch in $50 as I recall for bindings). Studeo had done some work for them, and in trade they got custom Studeo boards. I still ride that board, and will continue to ride it until I feel that I’m good enough to deserve a new one. (And perhaps the time has come, as I’m becoming a much better ‘boarder) In fact, it’s that ‘board that I’m clutching in one of my portfolio website pictures.
So what about snowboard design and snowboard art? I looked around to see what I could find…
Are Snowboard Designs Really That Ugly?
The last time Jon and I were on the slopes (last month, can you believe it? With all the new snow, we’re planning on going this month as well) I looked around to get a sense for some of the snowboard designs that were out there. And you know what I realized? Most snowboard designs suck. (Yes, IMHO they suck). I even kept my eye open at the Park City Annual Ski Swap, and then again when I was in local shops such as Pedersens Ski & Sport and Zumiez. Still most of what I found was pretty blah. It seems the popular thing to do on snowboards is put overlapping design elements, meshes of graphics and type, that from a distance create a bunch of design garbage. The best designs I found were the most simple ones – with large graphic elements or a simple color pallette. (The following are examples from Burton)
Good Design? (What threw up on the front of these?)
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Snowboard Design Contests
I blogged recently about a snowboard design contest, whose deadline has already come and gone. Before awarding some of the winners, they did post many of the entries. (I found a couple that I liked from their list.)
Here was the winner, a whitty commentary on the shape of the snowboard: (Designed by Mark Hernandez, a Creative Director out of Irving, Texas)
While looking around for other Snowboard manufacturers that will do custom boards I found Monson Boards that also offers a custom board option. It looks as though they offer a yearly contest called Design Your Ride in partnership with Kasei Sports, but I couldn’t find the details on it other than they print up 100 of each of the winners and offer them for sale on their website. Ride Snowboards just recently wrapped up their snowboard design contest called SBA5, you can view their previous winners for SBA4 on their website (Chiara Capellini 2 is my favorite).
As I’ve mentioned before, I think contests are a great way of promoting your design or illustration abilities.
My Snowboard Design
So what will I design? Probably something graphical, with a clear bright color palette, and interesting subject. I really like the colors of the smokestack board from Axia, while the subject is well, interesting. Maybe I’ll have something having to do with my brand (my signature Orange, my new logo, or perhaps… ?). And hopefully I’ll squeeze some time out of my hecktic freelance schedule to design it before the season is over… or perhaps at that point, I’ll have to blog about surf board design.