Industry Profile: Rome Designer Shawn Dumont
07 Sep, 2010
Job Title: Designer
Employer: Rome Snowboard Design Syndicate
Years on snow: 18
Days on snow: not a counter but around 40
Currently Riding: Postermania 58, Libertine boots and old 390’s
Currently I am: a pack a day smoker
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Shawn: I grew up in Wolfeboro NH on the north shore of Lake Winnipesauke. I went to college at Johnson State where I studied Figure Drawing and Print Making in the BFA program. I lived in Stowe for six years and just recently made the switch to Burlington where I live with my girlfriend Ali and our dog Buster.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Shawn: Snowboarding has really shaped my life. When I was young it was all I did,. I didn’t go straight to college after high school, instead I moved to Tahoe. When it was time to start college I went to Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat. When I decided to take my art a little more seriously I went to Johnson because it was close to Stowe VT. When I picked my classes, I always made sure to have my mornings free so I could ride. Snowboarding has always been a dominant part of my life.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Shawn: When I was in college I got a design internship at Rome. I worked my ass off, slept in the office many nights and made sure that anything they asked me to do was done right. I guess, I made some good product, because they kept hiring me back as a freelance designer. I learned so much from the fulltimers Paddock, Joel and EVH, in some ways that was my proper design education. When they decided to hire a new designer, I was the first person to send in a resume. When I went in for my interview I made up campaign buttons that said ‘Dumont For Design’ and ‘The Name You Know, The Face You Trust’ and handed them around the office. There was no way I was going to let them hire someone else for the job I had been doing freelance for so many years.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Shawn: When I was in college, a friend who worked at a screen printing shop got me an old six color press and belt dryer. I read a few books, figured it out and started sreenprinting t-shirts with friends. Now, as a full time designer, its very rare that I get into the studio and pull screens, but when I am working on a t-shirt graphic I fully understand what happens when I hand off my files to our t-shirt vendor. As I get better at what I do, my experience makes my job easier and in turn I spend less time trying to figure out how to make what I want and more time just making.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Rome and a description of the work you do?
Shawn: I’m the graphic designer for all softgoods categories. That means I design all the Outerwear, Bags, Gloves, Hoodies, Tees, Caps, Beanies, and Accessories for Rome. Its a small group of three designers so we all contribute in all aspects of Rome’s creative.
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Shawn: There is no average day at Rome, it depends on the time of year and what product I am working on. On any given day I could be creating a bag pattern, developing trims for outerwear, working on the color pallet, making a t-shirt graphic or getting a review out to the Syndicate. Its a pretty crazy cycle with some pretty gnarly timelines and if I miss one, shit starts to domino quick. I still put in late nights, but usually at home sketching.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Shawn: Any morning riding fast groomers with the crew at Stowe before work. The first time I saw a kid riding a board I designed on the hill was a really good feeling too.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Shawn: The biggest challenges within the snowboard industry reflect bigger cultural problems that effect us in a broader way than just snowboarding. How I see it effect snowboarding is, if a kid is brought up going to Walmart for everything then he or she probably won’t mind going to a large sports retailer to buy a snowboard. That same kid probably won’t care about whether the snowboard boots they buy are made by a snowboard company or some large sporting goods company trying to cash in on snowboarding. True snowboard companies, shops and consumers got to watch out for their own. As a designer, the implications for the corporate takeover of snowboarding means that all my graphics would have to take the soccer mom test, and that would suck. With that said, snowboarding is not the industry and its as fun today as it was the first time I strapped in, that won’t change.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Shawn: I think a good work ethic is more important than either education or experience. The one thing that great designers, great artists and great snowboarders all have in common is hard work. The good thing is, if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Shawn: If you take your work seriously and are nice to people, it might take some time but it’ll happen. You just have to put your time in and make some sacrifices. I think internships are key because nothing says sacrifice like working your ass off and not getting paid.
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