I will be developing a new ski brand with a focus on environmental awareness. In developing this brand, my central focus will be designing a collection of ten ski graphics that explore the relationship between winter sports and the environment, acknowledging ski graphics as works of art in their own right, while exploring new media and techniques.
Over the last century surface temperatures have risen 1.4 degrees F. In the past 60 years, the east coast lost 15% of snowpack, and by 2100 it is estimated that only 4 of 14 ski resorts (in the east) will be economically viable. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, and the climate is changing (to name a few). To ski, you need snow, and for it to snow, it needs to be cold, so while these changes will undoubtedly affect everyone, they will affect the ski industry, and the ski community in a very specific way. With this knowledge, how can I target skiers with a message of change? How can I bring recognition to an audience that relies so heavily on the environment but in turn gives very little back? One that engages in a negative cycle of making snow, or buys into the unproductive life-cycle of a ski? Using skis as a canvas, I plan to use research on companies, organizations, and statistics to identify messages and create designs that highlight these issues, targeting an audience that has an inherent passion for the topic.
My entire life I have been surrounded by of skis and snowboards, intrigued by the designs that adorned the top. Snowboards boasted the coolest graphics and brightest colors, where skis, until fairly recently, did not live up in their design. It was in these moments of awareness that I began to see that I could use skis as a canvas to make art. The goal of this project is to create aesthetic and visually impactful skis that continue to progress design in this specific field. Where my project takes on a new responsibility is in using skis not only as a piece of equipment, but as a way to spread awareness about a topic that is so inherently relevant. Companies like Patagonia, who focuses on sustainability and their environmental impact, and organizations like Protect Our Winters, who brings together “a passionate crew of diehards, professional athletes and industry brands mobilizing the outdoor sports community to lead the charge towards positive climate action,” draw attention to necessary change. In merging messages like the ones they promote, ones developed from research, and inspired by others, with a new method of communication, there is an opportunity for a new awareness.
This project begins with a collection of ten cohesive, yet different, ski designs based on messages that will be informed by research. One of these final ten designs will get made into an actual pair of skis, ideally through collaboration with a smaller ski company. If impossible, I will use a pair of old skis and do the design through more accessible resources. These skis will then become part of a campaign for a brand of skis that I will create, and develop a brand identity and packaging for, that focuses on the relationship between the ski industry and the environment. This identity will be showcased in some sort of printed collateral, like a magazine, a book, or large prints, where research, visual identity, and products are brought together into one cohesive place. My fall back plan will to focus more on the ski design and less on the other design elements, designing only a collection of skis. Both projects I plan to exhibit in a gallery space.
Statistics from Powder Magazine: Deep: The Future of Skiing in America