We had just landed Vision Streetwear (Collective Licensing). The brand resonated well with the entire team (especially the skaters in the office), and the direction Collective Licensing wanted to take Vision was pretty rad. We wanted to nail this site.
But as always there was a catch – the deadline was ridiculous. We had just four weeks to develop a concept and make the magic happen – a tight timeline, to say the least.
No time to think. No time to hem and haw over color palettes. Situations like this force your creative team to go with their gut. It's all instinct. There's no time for long-winded meetings. No time for second-guessing. You get an idea, it feels right, and you run with it. And you don't look back.
Assets: What did we have? Not much.
We didn't have a killer skate team, so that ruled out a photo or video shoot. We didn't have product shots yet (we'd have to shoot that in-house). And, as you just learned, we didn't have much time.
What we did have, however, were some music videos and some filler skate shots - and we'd gain some cred as the skateboarding was shot at San Pedro's very own homegrown skate park. We also had some nice stills. Gritty, raw – pure skateboarding. The biggest thing we had going for us was an awesome, dare I say unheard-of suggestion from the client: "Keep it gritty. We like David Carson."
Clients don't say they like David Carson...ever. Let alone in the interactive world.
With the client’s aesthetic in mind, we wanted to do something inspired, something new. As we crunched through ideas (skating around the office for inspiration), we realized that one of the most iconic visuals in skateboarding doesn’t involve tricks. It's not a back-side smith down a 12 stair. It's not a McTwist. Skateboarding boils down to something as simple as a push. The push is skateboarding at its most fundamental – it's skateboarding's soul. If it, something so simple, looks wrong – it's all wrong.
Close your eyes. Picture the shot from behind, low, at wheel level, looking up at an extended leg. It's all shoe. It's all skateboarding.
It's so elemental that whether you skate or not you get it, and you want to be part of it. It defines a lifestyle (a key factor in the new brand direction). Vision was leaning more towards the lifestyle surrounding skateboarding rather than sticking to its staunchly skateboarder roots. They needed to communicate that Vision was back. The tag sums it up – "Legends Never Die."
So, there it was, the concept - "The Push." Just that simple, right?
There was a problem. We're in Denver, it was winter, and there was a blizzard the previous week!
"What's the difference? We'll shoot at an indoor skateboard park," chimed the gallery.
The only indoor skate park at the time was the “Vans” Park! That aside, if you skate – even if you have only pushed once – you realize that the idea of an indoor skate park isn’t the same. So much of the sport, so much of the lifestyle flies in the face of something so perfected. It's too polished. It's not raw. It doesn't feel right. It's not Vision.
Meanwhile, there was still a foot of snow on the damn ground, and we were down to three weeks.
So we decided to fly to Vegas. It’s always dry in Vegas, right? And, worst case, if something did go wrong we could at least drink and gamble our problems away.
Lift off. DIA faded in the distance. We had less than 48 hours in Vegas. The madness had begun.
We (Ian, Matt, James and I) arrived in Vegas to shoot 12 pairs of shoes with a camera we borrowed from Collective (our client). We figured three to five takes of each shoe in at least three locations would be perfect. To be safe, we’d keep the camera running between takes.
I pushed, James filmed, and Matt helped with the pushing when I simply couldn't take it anymore (I just recently had my collarbone bolted back together). Ian was there for support and his roulette bankroll – he'd soon have the responsibility of putting all of this together with designs and the magic of code.
Ten hours of pushing down, and day one was complete. We headed back to the room to transfer some video. Aside from some grime on the lens (it's gritty, so it works), we felt we were doing well, but we still decided to re-shoot the next day just in case. Then we hit the town – Vegas baby! I'll save the details for another time, but what I will say my creative brethren is that we did not disappoint – we hit the town hard that night!
Another long day
Being the consummate professionals we are, we cranked the next morning. A greasy breakfast, nine ibuprofen, and 2 pots of coffee later…that is. Anything for the concept ... right?
Another long day. We got the shots, got back on the plane, and with the desert behind us arrived back to a snow-covered Denver.
It was time to slice, dice, code, and launch.
I'll spare you the details...the labored descriptions about how long the hours were, how much hard work was done, how many lines of code written and the endless re-edits of video.
What was more interesting, to us anyway, was the process we were forced to take. When backed into a corner with a ridiculous deadline looming, designing something safe isn't always the best move. It's these types of projects that lead to something radical – something genuinely creative. Maybe even something that hasn't been done before.
It's these projects that provide the creative release that all teams need – these projects are exhausting sure, but they're also cathartic.
When I look back, I don't think "if we had the time, we could have done something better." With more time, we’d have been in the studio. We'd have had cameras on tracks with booms – you know, to "keep it smooth."
With more time, things would have been too perfect. Indoor skate park perfect. It's only when we leave our comfort zone behind that something real emerges. Why? Because it has to – sometimes there’s no other option. When creatives are allowed to be creative, they’re forced to go with their gut. And that’s when the "that's so cool" happens.
Did you notice that:
* When you’re waiting for the site to load, it brings in a new actively calculating statistic every time you click your mouse
* The shoes in the background video correspond to the product you’re looking at
* The Audi A8, "cuz that's how we roll, son."
* The Street Legends section. Who's the Next Legend? Is it you?
* Grind for Life
The Team (at the time of this project)
Ian Coyle - Creative / Technical Director
David Snyder - Senior Art Director
Matt Fajohn - Director of Account Services
James Deagle - Developer
About the Author, David Snyder
David Snyder is the Creative Director at FL2. At the time of the Vision Streetwear project, David was the acting Art Director for FL2, with Ian Coyle at the helm as FL2's Creative/Technical Director.
Ian is now the founder of Superheroes. FL2 is a high-end interactive design agency working with clients around the country. FL2 is based in Denver, CO.