BRANDON SPENT his youth requesting stickers from the skate and Snow brands whose logos he loved (meanwhile racking up his folks long-distance bill). Brandon now helps build those brands as a designer, picture maker and Creative Director working out of Kansas City.
A LOT OF PEOPLE ASSOCIATE YOU WITH ACTION SPORT DESIGN. DESCRIBE HOW YOU GOT YOUR START DESIGNING FOR THAT NICHE.
I knew I wanted my work to somehow involve action sports, so as soon as I could I moved to the mountains to try and go to school and start a snowboarding career—neither really quite happened. However, what did work was meeting some amazing people and we started a snow/skate brand. I was already doing some design for a few clients but this was where I really saw how passion colliding with craft could really get my brain going. So through that projects’ connections and experience is what led to opportunities with other industry brands, but mostly small projects at first. I had moved back to Kansas city and was working full time so that limited the work and upkeep on those relationships, so I knew I needed to make a change if I wanted to focus on that type of work. I had been working with my buds at ridefourever/studio skate supply on their site and some initial skateboard branding and we were talking about collaborating on a more permanent basis and it matched up and the rest is history.
IF YOU COULD MOONLIGHT AS ANOTHER PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Maybe a train engineer. It always sounded like a great way to see the country and have time to think away from the everyday crazy-ness.
YOUR DAILY NUMBERS PROJECT WAS A HUGE UNDERTAKING. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO TAKE ON A PROJECT LIKE THAT? WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM IT?
Since my PROJECTS SPAN from branding & illustration to front end web coding, production is my boss a lot of times… ha. So I wanted to do something that allowed creation everyday, no matter what I had on the plate, but I knew it had to be simple. Concepting subject matter each day would make it too time consuming for me, so I happened to be talking to my sister who is an accountant, which half joking suggested doing numbers. The thought stuck with me so I honed in on a simple set of rules to govern the project and jumped in.
I truly feel my consciousness changed through this project—I learned to look at numbers less as type and more as form. Good or bad my brain more effectively honed in on positive and negative spaces which has really changed the way I evaluate and consume creative. I’ve been designing for about 15 years and over time, as silly as it sounds, blame it on deadlines or starting as a web guy, but I had essentially stopped sketching. I re-learned to trust my sketchbook and sketching abilities as a way to move through ideas and pick a road and end where it did. Sometimes I wound up on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere at a creepy old house. Sometimes I didn’t.
“EVERY SPORT HAS ITS OWN RULES OR LACK THERE OF,
SO IT’S PRETTY INTERESTING TO WORK EVERYTHING INTO ONE BRAND.”
YOU ARE A PARTNER AT RIDEFOUREVER SKATE SHOP. DESCRIBE THE PROCESS IN CREATING A LOCALLY OWNED SKATE SHOP.
I am. Honestly the fellas I partnered with did most of the hard work in the setup, I came on later to help them with the creative side of the business. There are a lot of working pieces with building an action sports retailer that spans multiple sports and multiple distribution channels. Every sport has its own set of rules or lack thereof, so it’s pretty interesting to work everything into one brand. I would say the key part of the process is making sure everything we do adds to the local culture and integrates with the brands who serve it.
“THE KEY PART OF THE
PROCESS IS MAKING SURE EVERYTHING WE DO ADDS TO THE LOCAL CULTURE & INTEGRATES WITH THE BRANDS WHO SERVE IT.”
ARE YOU FROM KANSAS CITY? HOW HAS KANSAS CITY IMPACTED YOUR CREATIVITY?
Yep I was Born in KC, moved west for a bit but pretty much been here all along. I love the history and textures of the city, its always had a realness about it that really inspires me. I make an effort to work this feeling into what I create. The Kansas City community is really supportive—its small enough that people feed off each others energy, you really sense it. To me, KC has always felt like more of a collaborative than a competitive community, which makes it easy to work from here.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST RISK YOU HAVE TAKEN THUS FAR IN YOUR CAREER?
I think leaving 10 years OF interactive experience, which was always a point of difference for me as a designer, was my biggest risk. I knew I had to do it, but jumping back into more of a general graphic designer role when there are so many amazing folks focused already definitely made me lose some sleep for sure.
“TO ME, KC HAS ALWAYS
FELT LIKE MORE OF A COLLABORATIVE THAN A COMPETITIVE COMMUNITY.”
WHAT ARE YOU MOST EXCITED ABOUT THESE DAYS?
I have to say new experiences, really getting to know people and life more. I’m a pretty single focus kind of fella, so snowboarding and design have been pretty much it for me in years past so I have found myself getting inspired by everything especially when I’m with the family its really refreshing seeing life through kids.
WHAT IS IN YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE THAT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO WATCH?
I am more of a HULU man right now—I’m trying to re-watch LOST and stay up on Gotham. Although if I did have Netflix, re-watching Walking Dead would be high on that list.
UNIQUE TO KANSAS CITY, WHAT IS ONE LOCAL RESTAURANT, STORE, OR SPACE YOU LOVE?
I’ll have to go with something coffee, but Man thats tough. I’m not sure I can narrow it to one, the scene in kc right now it just incredible! If I have to narrow it down, I would have to say Blackdog Coffeehouse is my go to when I’m running around with the ridefourever crew. The toast they have there will blow your mind… so good and I love their house coffee for my go to brew.