If you’re a snowboarding enthusiast with an eye for design, training as a snowboard designer is ideal. A surge in snowboard demand has consequently increased the quest for snowboard designers, making this niche pretty lucrative. You might be wondering how to become a snowboard designer yourself.
Here are 6 essential steps to becoming a successful snowboard designer:
- Hone your passion for snowboarding.
- Sharpen your creativity.
- Acquire the necessary knowledge and skills.
- Create a portfolio.
- Reach out to potential employers or clients.
- Overdeliver on any project you undertake.
Snowboard design is a bit of a struggle, but the good thing is that it eventually pays off. In this article, I’ll explain how to become a snowboard graphic designer.
Firstly, you might be wondering what makes me qualified to give you advice on this topic?
Well, believe it or not… I’ve dabbled in snowboard design myself over the years. During my lengthily experience in the snowboarding industry (almost two-decades!) I’ve had nearly every snowboarding job in the book.
This includes the incredible opportunity to design snowboards and snowboarding accessories. I absolutely loved it!
So I decided to share the inside scoop on how to become a snowboard designer.
1. Hone Your Passion for Snowboarding.
To be truly successful in anything you do, you need to love it. In other words, you cannot truly succeed while doing something that you hate.
As a snowboard designer, you need to be enthusiastic about snowboarding. Moreover, if you are a snowboarder yourself, you’ll have a better understanding of the design process.
You may now be asking why you need to love snowboarding to become a good snowboard designer.
Well, maybe you’ve heard the saying, ‘He who wears the shoe knows where it pinches.
If you are a snowboarder or love the sport, you will be able to design a snowboard with the customer’s needs in mind.
Having the client’s requirements in mind helps you design a snowboard for a particular target group. In addition, you need to picture the winter and snowy slopes clearly in your imagination. With this, your creativity will be at its ultimate peak (get it… like mountain peak).
2. Sharpen Your Creativity.
As a designer, you should be imaginative. Aside from education and training, any form of design requires top-notch creativity. Graphic design, which you’ll mainly apply to design snowboards, requires that you’re more creative than educated.
Now I’m not saying that you don’t need any education to be a successful snowboard designer—but there’s no denying that the best performer is often the most creative. Therefore, you’ll need an eye for color and a sense of balance and proportion.
Snowboard graphic design is quite competitive. You’ll need to stand out with your approach. Education and training will help you identify your graphic design style, but your creativity will inspire you to succeed and beat others in the industry.
3. Acquire the Necessary Knowledge and Skills.
Snowboard design falls under the category of commercial and industrial design. Therefore, snowboard designers combine art, business, and engineering to create quality snowboards.
As part of the training, you can enroll for a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, architecture, or engineering. While in school, you will cover units like design principles, sketching, computer-aided design, and some units in engineering.
In addition, it would help if you possess the sketching ability and understand the technical aspect of a snowboard.
Institutions that offer courses in commercial and industrial design include post-secondary colleges, universities, and private institutions with programs in art and design.
But note… degrees are not necessary.
4. Create a Portfolio.
After gathering the required skills, you now want people to recognize you as a qualified snowboard designer.
A viable portfolio will help you attract as many clients as possible. Moreover, an impressive skill set will catch the eyes of potential employers and clients.
A precise but attractive portfolio will work wonders compared to a very detailed one. As such, you should only include your most stellar projects in your portfolio. In addition, you can attach photos of you working on some of the projects. This will boost credibility and represent your design expertise.
Ensure that potential employers or clients know what you stand for. As such, make a clear, concise document that is well organized but has enough depth to show your capabilities as a snowboard designer. Also, include a mission statement and the core values you stand for.
More importantly, don’t forget to keep updating your portfolio from time to time! Designs fall out of fashion pretty quickly in the commercial world.
5. Reach Out to Potential Employers or Clients.
After making a portfolio, you now want potential employers and clients to find you. Therefore, you should actively market your skills.
If your focus is to be employed, list the employers you would like to work for and send them your portfolio. Remember to let your passion shine through when getting in touch with them!
Here are some of the strategies you can utilize to market yourself:
i) Develop a Personal Brand.
Employers will use your brand to gain their first impression of you. Therefore, ensure that your brand portrays your skills and personality. Also, if you use social media for marketing, be sure to remain consistent and present on all social media sites.
Developing a clear personal brand can lead to all kinds of opportunities… including setting up your own business and doing freelance work.
ii) Maintain a Strong Online Presence.
Market yourself by showcasing your work online. For example, you can post the best snowboards you have designed.
If looking for employment, you can also share your resume and cover letter online for potential employers and hiring managers to view. On social media, share articles containing emerging issues in the industry and follow professionals and companies you are interested in.
Identify events that companies that you are interested in working for are planning to attend. Show up.
Exchange contacts with people that are well established in the industry and learn from them. Soon, you’ll develop friendships in the industry, increasing your chances of securing a job.
iv) Take Other Snowboarding Jobs.
Maybe working in marketing, sales or the shop front isn’t exactly your dream job… but it gets your foot in the door! Become immersed in the industry and expand your contacts.
Remember, very few people are able to land their ultimate job right away. Don’t lose hope if it takes some grind to get there!
6. Overdeliver on Any Project You Undertake.
After securing your first employer or client, it’s best to exceed their expectations by delivering an out-of-the-ordinary snowboard design. If you’re an in-house designer, make sure you report to work on time!
Most importantly, respect your seniors and the rules and regulations of the organization.
However, if you are a freelance designer and wish to be your own boss, develop your entrepreneurial skills. Overdelivering can allow you to later increase prices and even upsell your other services. For example, try offering to design other items for them.
Importantly, when you finally get your first client, ensure that you understand their needs and meet them sufficiently.
Remember, if you do an excellent job for your first client, they will refer more clients to you. Word of mouth is a powerful tool in the design industry!
7. Become An Artist In Your Own Right.
An alternative route that many snowboard designers have taken is to simply make a name for themselves as artists. By building a following and a portfolio of artwork (be it on canvas or through graphic design) you can increase your credibility.
Snowboard companies may then reach out to you with commissions… even if you’re not formally a “snowboard designer”.
A great example of this comes from mountain-loving artist Quincy Quigg. He’s a multi-talented artist who impressed the bosses at Lib Tech and has since featured on a host of their snowboards. Respect.
Snowboard design is a lucrative career.
Unfortunately… there’s no simple route into the industry.
Be flexible. Be creative. Immerse yourself in snowboarding culture. Join the snowboarding community and take whatever snowboard related jobs you can find.
Consider becoming a snowboard rep or working for your favorite snowboard company. You can then start to expand your contacts and discover your options for getting your artwork discovered.
Good luck out there!