Interview with 2009.2010 G3 Ski Graphic Designer

Cam Andrews, an independent graphic designer from Vancouver, was tasked with the job of designing G3’s 2009.2010 ski graphics. Here are some bits of a question and answer session I had with Cam this fall in retrospect to his experience designing G3 ski graphics.

  1. How did you get into graphic design and why? My love or appreciation for graphic design started around 1982. I had a great collection of gig posters from local Vancouver and International punk bands that covered my walls and I just loved the simple graphic images, photocopied and cut up in 1 or 2 colour. It is a look and style that still influences me to this day even with the computer being the main tool I use.  I really got into design in 1989 while rowing at the U of Washington. Me and a couple of friends started silk screening t-shirts in our basement for local bands that we sold at regattas around the country. At that point I stopped studying rocks (geology) and switched to the School of Art and got a BFA in Design and a BA in Photography.
  1. What was your initial response when G3 asked you to work on ski graphics? Totally psyched!  It’s a rare opportunity for a designer to step into a job and already have a history with the client from a consumer perspective and to essentially be your own target audience that you are trying to reach. While you need to not be totally myopic in your vision it is a strong platform from which you can create concepts from. And to be able to ski on my own skis, that is going to be pretty cool.
  1. Where do you gather your general design inspiration from? How about for the G3 ski graphics? Inspiration comes from many places. I always try to have a pen and some paper on me. In a lot of my work I try and create a narrative or a short story for a specific project. There are many ways to visualize that story, so I will usually research as much as I can about the subject via online Google Image searches, going to the library and trolling through books and bookstores. Once that information is all swimming around in my head, I could be sitting on a bench between shifts playing hockey and the idea comes to me - usually when I least expect it. The G3 skis had a starting point with the name and the attitude or the behaviour of the ski that was provided. For the all-mountain skis I focused on the one ski that I had the most traction with early on ( Rapid Transit ) and used it set the look/style for the other skis in that group. For the Fat series the common thread was a black background and wanting to play off of Fire and Water as the visuals for the El Hombre and Tonic. And with the ZenOxide, the idea came fast to use the Zen Enzo  symbol and the "O" for oxygen but the execution of the actual symbol on the ski took a collaboration with my friend Jim Cummins (aka I, Braineater) who is a really great painter. He painted over 200 circles for me with a Summi brush until we got just the right one.
  1. What is your favourite graphic in the 2009.2010 line-up? Ha, that’s a tough one. As complete skis it would be the Rapid Transit, the image on the tail of the ski is from the alley right behind my studio by Victory Square and the font used for the name is a custom font that I made from lettering on a piece of scrap metal from a Boeing airplane. I also like the story of the workers/commuters getting out of the city and heading to the hills leaving that world behind. That visual came to me walking down that very same alley while heading out for lunch one Friday and watching workers just bustling along the streets. I went back and photographed the alley and that became the basis for the whole ski. It also then created the foundation for the visual approach to the other two skis in that series.
  1. What was the biggest challenge in the project? I think the biggest challenge was trying to get that visual story to work in the dimensions of the physical ski surface. It is completely unnatural. There is very little real estate to begin with and then you have to factor in where the binding will sit and what it will cover. It’s not a new problem. In fact, it has gotten easier for designers as skis have gotten fatter, however it gave me more respect for whoever had to do the graphics on the first pair of skis I owned and left me hoping for a resurgence of the Mono Ski!
  1. Give us some details about your own design company, please.  CaJe Creative Group is a boutique Design and Photography studio that was opened in 1997 with my partner Jessica Bushey.  We provide visual solutions for marketing, branding and exhibits for a diverse clientele. Some of our clients have included G3, Amnesty International, Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Rio Tinto Alcan Dragon Boat Festival, BC Sports Hall of Fame and the Museum of Vancouver (Velocity Exhibit). You can check out both our Commercial and Fine Art work at www.cajecreative.com.

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