Industry Profile: K2 Graphic Designer Jered Garrison

02 Sep, 2008

Industry Profile: K2 Graphic Designer Jered Garrison

Shay: What is your job title?

Jered: Graphic Designer for K2 Snowboards.

Shay: Did your parents question your job choice?

Jered: Haha! Not one bit, but I spent many years before that preparing them for the worst. I was a high school drop out, so when I decided to go back to school for art they didn’t question that. They questioned whether or not this was another one of my scams to get money out of them.

Shay: What was your first set up?

Jered: A hetzel snow skate!

Shay: What is your current set up?

Jered: Mostly I ride a Jibpan 156, or a Believer 159 this year. Formula bindings, and our Darko Access boot.

Shay: What was your first job?

Jered: Shit, I can’t even remember. I did construction labor for a friends dad in 8th grade. I think that may have been my first legit job. Does robbing vending machines for money count as a first job?

Shay: What’s a great day of snowboarding to you?

Jered: Chill. Check. Wreck! As long as it’s fun! I’m gonna go with the token answer on this one too…A deep pow day! There needs to be a couple of beers in there somewhere too.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

Ruby Bowl Hip, Crested Butte Backcountry. I’m not gonna tell you how much fun snowmobiling in Gunnison County is.

Shay: Who are your influences?

Jered: That’s a loaded question…Too many. They change a lot too. In snowboarding my influences were a lot of the originals. Craig Kelly, Damien Sanders, Terje, Jamie Lynn, Peter Line, Ingmar Backman and they still are. Nowadays it changes. Mostly I’m just into riders that keep doing it better and better. I don’t need to see the same shit year after year. Also riders who are bringing something to the sport, a lot of riders are pushing limits and that’s bringing to the sport physically, but I’m into riders that are bringing some personality with it as well. Half the time you read an interview with a kid who’s doing double corks and spin to win shit and it’s a lame interview…boring. Oh, I almost forgot about Devun, he’s the shit!

As far as art influences, same thing artist’s who keep pushing, and aren’t afraid to put themselves out there, and take some chances. People may not like it, but they also may not understand it, or be ready for it, which I think is usually the case. As long as it has heart and integrity, I’m influenced by it. There are a couple designers/artists out there that I will always look too for inspiration, Stefan Sagmeister, Dali, David Carson, Art Chantry, and Derek Hess. You can only refer to them so much, so mostly I’m on the web searching for the new, checking art openings, going to art spaces, cruising ally’s for graffiti, or whatever. I like to see it all and then forget it all. That way it sorta lets my imagination and short term memory take over and put my own spin on what I’m doing.

Shay: How long have you been snowboarding?

Jered: About 16 years? I made the switch from skiing as soon as I got the chance.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

We spent all day building this thing in the Oregon Backcountry, and just couldn’t get enough speed to make anything of it. It pretty much sucked, but it happens.

Shay: How many days do you get to ride a year?

Jered: Never count ’em. Used to be easily over a 100, year after year, but I grew up in Steamboat Springs, CO. and had a mountain in my backyard. Unfortunately, now it’s grown up time and I can’t blow things off to go shred anymore. I usually go at least one weekend day if not both. Fortunately there are a couple mountains right outside of Seattle that offer night riding which we hit up a lot after work. We also have days or events that get us out of the office and onto the hill during the week. I’d say I got 30-50 days in this season.

Shay: What is your role at K2 as the Graphic Designer?

Jered: Mostly I handle all our print campaigns, ads, P.O.P, Marketing Collateral, Packaging, but I also handle the web design, apparel and accessory design. The ads alone are enough to keep me busy.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

This is the most recent ad I’ve done. It’s our ECO Conscious Ad featuring the man himself, Louie Fountain. I really wanted to stoke him out on this one and he had sent a few pics of his daughters, so I put them in there where I could to give it a little more of a personal touch for his ad.

Shay: Do you work with men’s and women’s products/branding/print, what varies between the two in design aspects?

Jered: Haha….ummm, rarely do I work on women’s stuff. We have a girl around here that handles that side of things quite well (Thanks Jessie!). She doesn’t need me helping, cause I’ll only fuck it up. It’s hard working on women’s stuff though when I do. Apparently when I put myself into their shoes and design what I’d like to see if I was a girl, it’s not what girls really want to see. As a designer though, sometimes I’m forced to figure it out.

Shay: Is designing a collaborative effort?

Jered: Yes. Ten fold. It’s a collaboration with marketing, engineering, the printers, artists, and most importantly, the other designers. Some designers seem to think they don’t need to collaborate, but really after a while I’ve noticed all their stuff starts to look the same. You need outside influences to criticize, hate, and point out what you’re overlooking, etc…The problem with this is narrowing it down to what really matters. Other departments seem to think they are art directors sometimes, and can really send the product/campaign aesthetics south real quick if you’re not selective in how you apply all the “constructive criticism” your getting.

Shay: How do you select the materials involved in the designs?

Jered: Constant research, trending and imagination. The brain never turns off. Sometimes I see a shoe in a store with an insane fabric texture on it that might be cool for a boot. Snap off a pic of it and see if the engineers can find the fabric on the open market. Basically anything I see that I’m visually interested in, no matter what it is, I ask myself how I could apply it to a project, and add it to my cache for later use. I’ve even ripped emblems off expensive cars cause I thought the laser etching style would make a great badge piece for a binding. This morning I was in a coffee shop and was drawn to one of the interior design elements they had hanging. The idea could easily become a P.O.P project next season that we could do in house and inexpensive. Inexpensive is going to be the key word to getting the print room to become team players in my little game on this one if it happens.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

When the crew and I went to Europe last year, we took a little train ride over to Prague for a few days to check it out, and there was this giant clock tower right in the middle of square downtown where we were staying. This was the elevator shaft area from the top. I like this photo. It’s crazy looking. Almost like an H.R. Giger painting.

Shay: Do you receive input from the pro riders?

Jered: Absolutely! Their opinion is always welcome here. After all they are the face of the brand in this industry.

Shay: What programs do you use as a graphic designer?

Jered: My hands and the entire Adobe Creative Suite Package. No reason for anything else now that they’ve added Macromedia’s Flash and Dreamweaver. Final Cut Pro for editing projects.

Shay: How many products do you help design a year?

Jered: In one way or another everything in our mens line, but mostly my focus is on Print and the Ad campaigns. There are only 3 of us here running this shit, and we all have our focus points, but we all pitch in where needed when work loads get outta hand. It’s definitely a team effort.

Shay: Will you walk us through the steps taken behind the designs?

Jered: Brain storming to get a concept. Depending on the project this could be the whole Marketing and Design crew bouncing ideas off each other, or as simple as a few minutes of research. Next is real research, and then presenting verbal and visual examples to a group in a low key meeting around the couches. This has been known to go on for weeks for bigger projects such as ad campaigns and catalog designs. Once we’re all agreed, I start working on the layout and art, and that’s pretty much trial and error experimentation process. As a designer, this is the fun part. Then come the editing process, which has also been known to go on for days. Once everything has been OK’d, I start the production session, formatting, color correcting, and basically putting in the finishing touches before I send the file off to where ever it happens to be going. The smaller side pop up projects that come around a couple times a day is when it gets confusing and pace picks up. The deadlines on these are sometimes so tight there isn’t even time to think about it, just charge in with reckless abandon and make it the best you can make it in a few hours.

Shay: Do you do any research for what consumers are looking for in designs?
Jered: Yep! We call it trending, and I’m pretty sure every company in the industry dedicates at least one trip a year to this. The trick is trying to figure out where to go and where to look once you’re there. Basically everything you’re seeing at that point that you think is cool and want to apply to a project, won’t hit the consumer market for another 2 years. The trick is figuring out what the consumer will want in 2 years. That’s a question we ask ourselves everyday, and these trips are set up to spark some creativity. That’s where taking chances comes into play, and you take what you’ve seen, build on it, and turn it into something relevant to K2 Snowboards.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

I think this shot was taken right after my friend Ryan smashed my sled into a tree. It was the first thing that happened on the first shuttle up the zone, after our 12 hr drive to Whistler. We hadn’t even made it there yet. We just wanted to stop at this little zone outside of town and get a few turns in before dark. Luckily it was all body damage and not engine and we still got to make those turns.

Shay: K2 uses themes across the snowboards, bindings and boots…what is the reason behind that?
Jered: It’s a sales thing. Packaging. Once they buy the board, why not grab the bindings that go with the board perfectly as well? And the boots that fit perfectly into those bindings. We usually only do that on our lower end products that make their way to Big Box stores, and the higher end products get packaged too sometimes, but really a more experienced rider is going to know what they want and how it performs before they see it and are less persuaded by a package deal.
Shay: When selecting colors, do you work with colors for the whole line or pick colors by model?
Jered: Select them by model, but we have had a pretty universal neon base theme going for all our boards lately.

Shay: What is your favorite thing you have designed at K2?
Jered: I’d have to say the ad campaign I’ve been working on this year is my favorite design collective so far. Each one is unique and specific to the rider, and I’ve been able to evolve these things as I go. Really I think it’d be easier to answer this question if I could pick the ones I hate. I’ll remember those forever. The good ones only seem to stick around mentally for a little bit.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

This was in the elevator going up to the top of tower. I don’t know why everyone was looking down, but concave mirror on the ceiling looked more interesting to me.

Shay: What are you working on now?

Jered: The Ad campaign and our website. It’s about to go live at the end of the week, and all the last minute changes and add ons have been trickling in all week. We’re about to kick into catalog gear any day now too. Those are my big projects right now. I’m not gonna get into all the side projects that come in hourly. Basically this time of year it’s boards, ads, and marketing planning for 09.10. Once we figure that out, we start creating the catalog.
Shay: Prior to K2, what other jobs/companies have you worked at?
Jered: I worked for WWSRA building all their marketing campaign collateral for a few years, but it wasn’t a full time gig. I don’t even think I got paid the first year. I did side projects all the time for anyone. Once I got to my senior year of college I got an internship at Baxa Design Studios (Thanks! You guys rock!), a medical supplies co., and then was hired at K2 a month or so after I graduated. I got lucky, but I also worked hard for it. In 2006 a friend of mine and myself launched an apparel company that is finally starting to pick up speed.

Shay: Tell us about the apparel company?

Jered: My buddy and I started Attus Apparel in 2006. He’s a friend I met at CMC, and we’ve been bro’s ever since. He moved back home to take over his dad’s car dealership after school. After he had enough of that, he approached me with an idea he had and he needed an artist. It didn’t take much to convince me, and we’ve been taking shots at anybody and everybody ever since. It’s not a snow/skate/surf apparel line, we started it for those of us who love that type of thing and had to grow up and get jobs in the city or corporate world. It’s our way of staying unprofessional in a professional world. We love it. If we ever have an idea, we just do it! We don’t care who we offend or piss off, and people seem to like it! We really have no budget for this thing, but along the way we’ve met a ton of people who have been more than willing to help us out for a couple of shirts. Somehow within the first 6 months of our launch we landed ourselves in the New York Times style section, and it’s been picking up steam ever since.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

The Broken Hearted Skateboard – Aww F&%$ it’s broke by Attus Apparel

Shay: What’s your average day like at work?

Jered: I come in early. The half hour to hour of silence before the storm seems to set my day in better direction. Set my mood music and cruise the internet, check Myspace, see who’s on ichat and shoot the shit. This usually doesn’t happen till the afternoon though. Collect my thoughts and hit the grind. When I hit a slump, I go out to the warehouse and skate the ramp or shoot hoop for a bit. A lot of time is spent cracking jokes. We have a bar in our office that the average Friday centers around. The average day would be kinda boring to an outsider, but something interesting seems to happen on a daily basis. A lot of staring at computer screens for hours on end. Sometimes an outburst of frustration, cussing, and the occasional thrown object. The photo shoots, the trips we go on, events we throw, and sometimes the meetings are where it gets fun for everyone!

Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working at K2?

Jered: K2 used to be on Vashon Island which was cool except you were a slave to ferry boat schedule. Not many people can say their office was on an island. Going to Germany and Prague was an awesome trip! SIA is always fun, cause you get to see all your friends. Kamp K2 was probably the most memorable though. That was so much fun! I went on vacation right after that too so I got to keep the party rolling! The yearly trips to New York seem to always have some good things go down. I don’t know, there’s a lot to remember and it all happens so fast. Once one thing is done, it’s like “Ok. What’s next?” And it keeps getting better and better.

Shay: How is working for K2 (any cool work events, work environment, job perks)?

Jered: All of the above! This year we threw an event, Kamp K2 at Mt. Baker. We rented out the Mountain for a 3 day shred fest and party. We rented over 60 RV’s and invited a ton of shop kids, our riders, media, bands, DJ’s and rallied for 3 days! It was insane 400 person private event. We had the Mtn to ourselves and it dumped the entire time. We were getting fresh tracks all day! Then at night there was skate contests on the ramp, bands, contests, and all the PBR you could drink. Not to mention we stocked all the RV’s with liquor. Best trip I’ve ever had. Although I did have to do my fair share of work. Gotta pay to play.

The work environment here is mellow and relaxed. The perks are what keeps any one working in the industry a reason to stay in the industry!Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

This isn’t even me, but the drunk guy on the left didn’t have a shoe, and he was bitching about it saying the bouncers stole it from him. Gordon wanted a pic with the dirty dude. The next night we saw him and he had found a shoe… he found a running shoe, and he was wearing the same outfit. Unfortunately he was even more drunk and beligerent, so we couldn’t get another pic of him. He was trying to fight everyone. Whistler, Telus Fest ’07

Shay: What experience/education did you have before getting the job?

Jered: I eventually got into a University (Colorado State U) and got my BFA in graphic design, and I had an internship that backed all that up with some experience. Other than that I would just pick up any job I could get making graphics for people. I even made business cards for a stripper once. It was awesome, she gave me all these naked pictures of herself for inspiration.

Shay: What’s the best park you’ve gotten from your job?

Jered: Travel, Snowboards, and a steady paycheck. I know that’s not a perk, but when you were broke before it somehow seems that way. Connections in the industry is a good perk too. Now I don’t spend all my money on buying gear and can spent it on other crap.

Shay: Any disadvantages of your job?

Jered: Sometimes the hours are grueling. Sleep deprivation is a definite disadvantage.

Shay: Do you try out other companies products?

Jered: Oh yea. For sure. Gotta know what we’re up against. It’s more important for the engineers than me, but I’m always scoping other companies graphics.

Shay: What’s the busiest time of year for you?

Jered: Summer and up to January when SIA hits. It’s when we do everything for the next season. There is a slight lull after SIA, but it doesn’t last long. It’s always busy.

Photo compliments of Jered Garrison

Taken a few weeks ago when I was driving back to Seattle from surfing. I took a different route than usual, cause that’s what I do, I like to explore. The light was awesome, so I pulled over and got a few. I forget what the name of this bay was, but it was on the way back from Longbeach, WA.

Shay: Education vs. Experience…which do you think is more important?

Jered: Experience! Some graphic jobs you need the BFA to get in the door, but if your portfolio shines and you have experience, especially in this industry, education will take a back seat. What education can teach you that experience won’t is why something is visually appealing. Some people can decipher that on their own, but only a few. Also there are a lot of rules in graphic design that you need to know, especially with the hierarchy of text, but if you’re motivated enough the internet can teach you all of that these days. I’m not going to say education isn’t important, but there are a lot of self taught designers, and that takes an above average amount of motivation.

Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to become a Graphic Designer?

Jered: Work hard. Work harder. Work even harder. Be persistent. One person might think your ideas are wack, but the next might think you’re a genius. Keep striving to make it better and better. There’s no limit to the imagination. I think a lot of starting designers need to start thinking of themselves as problem solvers as opposed to designers. I’ve slowly started to realize that every project comes with problems because there are so many variables in design, cost constraints, size constraints, availability of materials, all the sudden having to cram type into an image, ugly icons or elements that don’t lend themselves well to the current design, etc…but if you can hone in your problem solving skills and have a good relationship with other designers, you can usually find a way around these problems. Be persistent, one person may think your ideas suck, and the next may think they’re genius, just don’t let negative energy back you down. Keep pushing it, don’t just settle.

Shay: Final thoughts?

Jered: Take chances. They’re exciting! and go snowboarding as much as possible.

About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. Huckleberry Hart
    September 07, 2008

    yea jered. Bushels of berries for this guy.

  2. Gabe L'Heureux
    November 19, 2008

    Jared, you are a handsome SOB. And a fine American.

  3. Gabe L'Heureux
    November 19, 2008

    Jared, you are a handsome SOB. And a fine American.