Industry Profile with Jeremy from Never Summer.

Posted on Thursday 4th August, 2011 Times Viewed: 5956
Hi Jeremy, thanks for agreeing to a short interview with GONEboarding. I know you’re busy designing advertisements, the consumer brochure and the entire 2012/13 line, so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
Firstly, please tell us a little about yourself and how you got involved in the snowboarding industry and subsequently became Creative/Marketing Director at Never Summer.

I grew up just outside of Seattle, Washington where I always loved drawing, painting, playing drums, skiing, rallying around on my BMX bike and basically causing a ruckus like any kid. Fast forward years later I had switched to snowboarding and had graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design. However I initially went to school for a Fine Arts degree, not having a clear idea what graphic design was…album covers, snow and skate graphics, tee shirts, kitten calendars, all things I had loved haha…but school opened my eyes and I soon learned I needed to switch my focus. A couple of years later I got the itch to move away from Washington and my software industry job so I took out a map, put pins on 10 areas I’d like to live and it came down to Denver, Colorado. Sunny weather, tons of ski resorts and the possibility of an art career within snowboarding were my goals. A few years and a couple of interviews later, NS brought me in despite my lame jokes and inhere­nt dorkiness.

What does your role as Creative/Marketing Director entail? What’s your average day like?

My job is to oversee all brand identity, graphics, website, marketing, events and team. To be more specific I design the smallest art projects to the largest including all snowboard graphics, logos, ads for magazines, clothing, stickers, warranty cards, you name it. I’m also heavily involved in NS’s marketing in general, social media strategy, tradeshows, video premiers, so on and so forth.­ My average day fortunately is to work alongside both hilarious and talented individuals like our sales manager Gags, Vince in Product development, our International Sales Manager Tony, Micah, Jason, team manager Micah, our new marketing guy Chris and mad illustrator Sam who kicks out the insane drawings you’re used to seeing on NS decks. I also like to tease the interns as much as possible, you know, to keep ‘em in line! Seriously though, the Never Summer team is exactly that…no big heads, no rock stars…we are passionate about snowboarding and putting out the best snowboard product in the world, period. My desk sits 10 feet from the factory door so having the ability to make graphic changes at a moments notice, have our print crew bust out updated graphics without sending it to China, is a beautiful thing and a rarity in this industry.

What are the inspirations behind your board graphics?

It sounds cliché but it really comes from everywhere. I love music and listen to a lot of it while I work so I’ll pick up ideas from song lyrics whether it be death metal, indie, pop or hip hop. Reading, travelling, following fashion, big cities, little towns, electronics, clouds…who knows. One of my favorite art quotes is “eat the world with your eyes” so I try to do that as much as possible. I have a weakness for Twinkies and Kit Kat’s too so I eat those as well. It happens.

Can you pick a favourite board graphic from your designs?

I don’t necessarily have a favourite but I generally like the Evo/Revolver model’s graphics since I can get a little more buck on those. Plus working with Sam’s hand drawn art is really fun because he’s so talented. But if I had to pick one I’d say the 11/12 Evo with zombie’s walking from downtown Denver toward the viewer. Check out all the gory detail when our website is up in September. Shoot, who doesn’t like zombies??

Click to view full image

Cheeky one, but can we have a sneak peak at some 2012/13 designs you’re working on? If not, what can we expect?

Yeah right! Nah, I’m really excited about where we’re going for 12/13 and I hope that current NS fans and newer ones are just as amped as we are. If the buyer’s aren’t happy, we’re not happy.

Can you see any trends in snowboard graphics? What do you expect to see in the future?

You know, I do follow trends and I enjoy forecasting colors, patterns and themes...but Never Summer has such a particular look that riders have come to expect and desire that we don’t necessarily strive to ride the hottest “right now” wave. That’s not to say we don’t delve into trends at all, you’ll definitely see some current popular themes alongside classic NS imagery for 11/12.

In your eyes are there any standout graphics from the other snowboard brands?

Oh for sure. There are several talented art directors, graphic designers, illustrators and photographers within the industry so it would be pretty egocentric to say otherwise. But rather than call out some newer ones, I’d like to give props to the artwork in general from snowboarding’s infancy during the late 80’s/early 90’s…everything was so new, graphics were simple, raw and punk. A lot of awesome, silly crap that no one would want to do now!

Do you know much about the UK snowboard scene?

Not as much I’d like. I’ve become friends with some of the UK riders that have come to the U.S to live and compete over the years – the coolest rippers. I am very aware that rider’s are repping hard in the UK which is rad!

The employee's custom boards were something special. Have you taken any influence from any of their designs?

I’m always amazed at everyone’s creations as they’re totally unique to each personality. But that individuality makes them less marketable to the general NS buyer or they could just be a production nightmare. For instance, a factory employee recently made a killer, intricate Colorado flag base graphic that I would love to use – but it has too many pieces. And excessive pieces increases labour time, which would drive up the cost beyond what we would want to ask of the consumer. A topsheet graphic another employee made had bloody body parts on it…it was rad and pretty heavy metal, but if we mass produced ‘er, I don’t think moms and dads would be snatching it up at Christmas time!


The collaboration with The G, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation was a great idea and one of my personal favourite Never Summer graphics. How much fun did you have with this?

The project was a blast and I definitely felt honoured to be a part of it. The fact that they chose to work with us and produce snowboards rather than take the standard commemorative pistol for their deployment, was pretty cool. And if you could see our email trail back and forth, get an idea of how gracious and excited these guys were to be working with us…it was just awesome. It’s a true testament that no matter what you do, or where you are, whether it be in the blistering heat in Iraq or in your local neighbourhood, that we’re all snowboarders loving the same activity with our friends. As a designer it was fun taking on a project that was outside the Never Summer realm, but also challenging to create something that they can be proud of. Our sales manager Gags and marketing guy Chris (formerly of the U.S. Navy) attended their unit’s Welcome Home ceremony upon their return in May. Sounds like they were super happy with the results of our collaboration.

Click to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full image

The graphics have a strong brand identity, often linking to Never Summer's Colorado roots. Is this the most important consideration you make when designing a graphic?

I wouldn’t say it’s the most important overall but it definitely comes into play. Boards like the Heritage are for those wanting a quality deck with Colorado driven graphics. Like I mentioned earlier, we do have the Denver skyline on the Evo & Revolver freestyle models. But on the other hand, our boards are made to be ridden by shredders worldwide, so the overall graphic appeal should be attractive, but we’re not trying to hit people over the head with the Colorado theme. I think we’d like to get the point across that we’re an independent board company proud to be based in Colorado, but that our office/factory location translates into building the best and most technically advanced boards in the world.

Several other manufacturers like to stir up controversy with their playboy style graphics or use of bad language. What do you make of this?

I think to each their own. I’ve seen plenty of “edgy” graphics over the years that from an art standpoint, were actually executed very well. If it works for that particular company’s business model, then cool. From day one, Never Summer has never gone that route and that’s great too…just not our deal. And if we started throwing babes and cursing all over our graphics, I’m pretty sure most would think we’d lost our marbles! We know who we are, where we come from and are proud of that. Every board company should feel the same way about themselves.

You can follow Never Summer through their website, facebook and twitter
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