Creating presence through snowboarding
Visual identity, UI design, film
ATV is a group of close friends from Milton Keynes, united through the love for snowboarding who document the adventures that surrounded their snowboard life.
ATV required design for all their digital assets including a website, in order to promote their group and sell their videos. The challenge was in how to forge a path as the first snowboard crew in the UK and communicate it to as many people as possible. This was important for the group as with more exposure, more companies would be aware and therefore there would be more sponsorship opportunities.
Users & audience
The target users for this brand were primarily other snowboarders, they were of a diverse age range and had a preference for inclusivity, bold colours and modern typefaces. The secondary target users for this brand were brand representatives who held the keys to sponsorship for the group. They had a preference for impact, clarity and the bigger picture.
ATV was founded by two friends and I, as we all loved snowboarding we wanted to follow a career in it. Myself and my two friends knew it would be easier to gain sponsorship together, as opposed to individually. We knew that creating a brand based non a crew mentality that others could relate to would give us presence and as a result become noticed by the various brand representatives. I placed myself as its Creative Director, looking after the visual identity and all the digital assets required, including our web presence.
The first step to creating presence for a group of snowboarders was to create a brand that would represent the idea behind it. After running a workshop with the original founders, we came upon the word alternative because the snow we rode on was halfway between a dry slope and the real substance that falls from the sky. After being inspired by a French crew called SGK, who we happened upon while out in France, we decided to shorten alternative to ATV. One of the founding members decided to use the typeface Stencil, as this would be the easiest to replicate in print design. We made our own stencils from old cereal packets. After landing on a logo, we proceeded to print it on everything we touched while snowboarding, this included stickers, patches, clothing, snowboards and more. In terms of colour palette, we landed on black and white, because both colours go with every other colour, communicating a strong and present image.
I designed all the UI design for the group, predominantly this was concentrated around the website. Originally, this included a basic HTML/CSS site, however, as the group’s presence grew, we knew each website had to be better and following the major brands, we launched a new website every year. After the HTML site came a flash site and we used the same technology for at least three years in order to display our videos. At this point, if YouTube or Vimeo existed then we would’ve hosted the videos there. Beyond the website we used basic motion graphics to create an animation that could be sent via mobile in order to drive traffic to the website, this greatly helped with communicating presence.
The main communication of the group and their ethos was through continual video, made available for the fan base to view and download. This required filming, which I helped to record. After each session, one of the core members of the group; Tom Elliott (acommonfuture.com) would capture the footage and edit all the video footage into periodic releases in order to help brand presence. Eventually we filmed a full-length video and continued until we had released three major snowboard videos and negotiated with the local shops to sell DVDs.
During my time snowboarding and designing with my friends we created the brand identity and I created multiple flash websites. We also created our own clothing and found a way to market ourselves through many channels to help promote the crew. This included imagery, animation and marketing across the snowboard industry. I also supported as a second filmer and helped edit some of the films we made. Through all this practically all the group became sponsored, appearing in many articles across the industry’s magazines, receiving free product and exponentially growing the groups exposure. We were among the first crew to release a video in a world where camera phones were yet to exist. We ran many events and even took snow from the local ice rink in order to go ride handrails in the summer. We set a benchmark for many to follow and some of the crew ended up with full time jobs they are still working within the industry. Inevitably, we became the very brand representatives we were trying to impress.