Wednesday, 2 October 2013


At the start of the session we were put into small groups. We then were asked to compose a group list of ten things that we were successful in last year.

10 Things that were Successful... Group 3 List

  1. Successfully learned to screen-print.
  2. Learned to work in a group.
  3. Started to recognise and develop mt own graphic style.
  4. A Brief history of... brief was successful, quality of work was high.
  5. Gained confidence in presenting.
  6. Gained confidence in delivering constructive feedback.
  7. Improved work ethic and consistency.
  8. Started applying design theory to work.
  9. Learned to use software to a higher standard.
  10. Ability to generate ideas/resolutions quickly.

We then refined and revised the list as a class;

10 Things that were Successful... Class List  

  1. Ability to apply knowledge learned in practical skills workshops.
  2. Ability to give constructive feedback.
  3. Confidence when presenting to a group.
  4. The ability to learn and work independently.
  5.  Research/ Development.
  6. Understanding time management.
  7. Working in a group or with specialists.
  8. Self confidence/Motivation.
  9. A deeper understanding of the theory and context behind design.
  10. Developed an understanding of style and personal taste.

10 Things that I will need to be successful this year.

  1. Confidence when presenting to an audience.
  2. Design vocabulary - I want to vastly increase my design related vocabulary so that I can communicate my ideas in a more professional manner.  
  3. Practical skills - I want to develop my knowledge and further my experience with various print processes such as; screen-printing, letter press and etchings.
  4. Time management - I want to improve the organisation of my projects and how I progress through the brief.
  5. Ideas generation - I want to improve my ideas generation by spending more time generating ideas to create a more diverse range of initial concepts. 
  6. Communication - I want to improve my ability to communicate ideas and concepts within a group.
  7. Software knowledge - I want to improve my knowledge of the adobe software to help improve the aesthetic quality of my work and the time in which I complete it in.
  8. Research - I want to improve my research by looking less at internet sources of information and focus on primary sources.
  9. Design theory - I want to further my personal research into design theories to help improve my design practice and the functionality of my work.

After lunch we took turns to present our summer brief presentations to the group. Each person had five minutes to present their work after which the other members of the group had a minute to write constructive feedback.  

Below are the feedback notes that I received.

After everyone had finished presenting we reviewed the feedback we had been given by each member of the group. Then as a class we discussed the different types of feedback that could be received, some comments made were useful, some could be useful and other comments simply gave an ego boost. 

Which Feedback is Useful?

  • Maybe do less history. (the majority of my presentation was history related)
  • Would have been interesting to know other things about the sport - tricks/video.
  • Cover both modern and historical information.
  • Could have ranged the look of the slides.

Which feedback could be useful?

  • Good links made to graphic design.
  • Engaging use of facts - interesting to know the boards were originally screen-printed.
  • Could have brought in physical props.

Which feedback is good for the ego?

  • In depth research, good understanding of topic.
  • Good links to graphic design made.
  • Confident speaker.
  • Good historical and contextual knowledge.
  • Good use of imagery to support information.
  • Engaging presentation.
  • Good chronological history supported with imagery.

After discussing how to improve our feedback we picked out three objectives that would have helped improve our Summer Briefs.


  • Vary the information communicated in the presentation, don't focus too heavily on a specific piece of research.
  • Range the look of the slides to make the presentation more visually engaging.
  • Vary my sources more, don't rely too heavily on internet based information.

Monday, 30 September 2013



I started my final research topic by first looking at what a skateboard is. Below I sketched out a diagram showing  the different parts of a skateboard.


The skateboard, deck, or board are all phrases that refer to the piece of wood that is stood on while skating and performing tricks.


Griptape is a sandpaper like sheet with sticky adhesive on the opposite side. Griptape is stuck to the top of the board to create a rough, grippy surface, this helps the skater to control the skateboard when cruising or performing tricks.  


Trucks are attached to the bottom of the skateboard using nuts and bolts. Trucks hold various uses such as, holding the wheels, helping the skateboard turn and allowing the skateboarder to perform grinds. 


Firstly, bearings are placed inside the wheels to help them spin and maintain speed while being skated. After the bearings have been placed in each wheel a pair can be fixed to either side of the truck. 

Next, I researched into the historical evolution of skateboarding from surfing. 


All information has been taken from a book called 'Dysfunctional' by Aaron Rose.  I noted down the most relevant points made on each page, highlighting points of interest and importance.

  • 3000BC - Peruvian ruins which date back over 5000 years feature carvings of men riding waves while standing on 'Caballitos', which are small boats made from bundles of bound up reeds.
  • The aforementioned graphic portrays the oldest known surviving reference to surfing.
  • 525BC - It is believed that the Kanaka Maoli (the ancestors of the Hawaiians) brought the activity of surfing with them when they arrived in Archipelago over 2500 years ago.
  • 1863 - The first practical four wheeled roller skate is invented by James Plimpton of the USA.
  • 1907 - Railroad tycoon Henry Huntington imports Hawaiian beach boy George Freeth to California to demonstrate the sport of surfing. Thousands flocked to witness Freeth's aquatic antics.   
  • 1918 - 48 - Someone broke the apple box off the front of his apple box skate scooter and started a new trend.

  • 1926 - Thomas Edward Blake studies and measures the few remaining boards in the Honolulu Hawaii museum. Blake eventually recreated a 16' surfboard that apparently used to belong to legendary rider Chief Paki.
  • 1932 - Los Angeles surfing enthusiast Meyers Butte produces the first commercial surfboards.
  • 1939 - The streamlined all steel, three wheel scooter skate debutes in Chicago toy stores. Due to poor design most of the scooters ended up in the rubbish pile.
  • 1941 - Santa Monica life guard Tom Blake releases a new hollow box board through the Los Angeles Ladder Company, the board was the first on the market  to have a tail-fin.
  • 1952 - Dale 'The Hawk' Velzy, a Dutch woodworker, commissioned the creation of a round laminate logo to be fiber glassed on top of his boards. Echos of Dale's graphic style are visible in surf and skate graphics for the next four decades. 
Velzy's Graphic.

  • 1958 - The first skateboards start to appear, the general consensus was that they could be used to cursing out the oceans flat spells. Newspapers printed stories on the vast number of school children making skateboards in their wood working classes.
  • 1961 - Derrick 'Skipperboy' Engblom makes custom skateboards for profit in his Santa Monica garage. In later years Engblom served as the Makaha team manager and founded legendary skate companys 'Zephyr' and 'Santa Monica Airlines'.
  • 1962 - legions of urban types adopt the skateboard into everyday life. Since commercial boards are unavailable skaters use anything they can get their hands to use for a deck.
  • 1963 - Surfboard company skate brands were the first to use skate graphics. Since the skateboard was born out of surfing the boards design remained beach orientated.Soon multi-laminate hardwoods prevailed labeled with the logos of their builder.
  • 1963 - Larry Stevenson, publisher of 'Surf Guide' magazine actively sells Makaha Skateboards, the leading brand of a new industry. Stevenson also patents the kicktail at the end of the decade and spends the next 20 years trying to collect royalties for it.

  • 1964 - Various celebrities are seen riding skateboards in an attempt to maintain their youthful images.
  • Dean Torrance records skateboard sounds and uses them in the international hit song 'Sidewalk Surfing'. This is the first exposure of skateboard influenced music.
  • The first issue of 'Skateboarder' appears. The magazine focuses on slalom and freestyle skateboarding.
  • Triumph records release the LP 'The Challengers Go Sidewalk Surfing'. The advertising campaign in skateboarder consists of hand drawn adds by Rick Griffin.
  • 1965 - With jumps in technology the 27' Hobie Vita Pact Competition model is sold at Macy's in New York City. The molded fiberglass unit had a herring bone textured deck, integral reinforcement beams and a simulated adhesive vinyl mock wood stringer. 
  • The international skateboard Championships are held at the 10,000 seater La Palma Stadium in California. It is covered by three TV networks.
  • San Diego skater Pat McGee is on the cover of 'Life' magazine.
  • The Eiffel tower is declared off limits to skateboarders. 
  • Skateboarder magazine ceases publication due to lack of interest.
  • With skateboarding officially a thing of the past skaters focus on skating different terrain. The trend towards short boards in surfing is echoed in the skateboard world.
  • New moves are created such as; side slips, controlled drifts and 180-plus cutbacks.

  • 1969 - Skateboarding progresses into a total underground phase. Backyard pool sessions begin to gain popularity. 
  • Representational expression drifts into the acid-splashed psychedelic variety. Artist Rick Griffin gains a global following. Jimmy Phillips emerges as an original talent.
  •  In the Summer of '69 the first dogtown boards were painted.
  • The motif found popularity with up an coming artists in the surf skate hood. Kevin Ancell, Wes Humpston, and the Kaiser brothers expanded and extended the glyph over the succeeding decades
  • 1972 - Leucadian surfer Frank Nasworthy takes note of the urethane roller rink wheels and adapts them for skateboarding.
  • 1973 - Nasworthy is in business and delivers his urethane wheels to all surf shops intelligent enough to recognize a good deal.
  • 1974 - The press and general public are calling skateboarding the latest fad. The law calls it illegal, and the skaters call it a renaissance.
  • 1975 -  'Skateboarder' magazine resumes publication. 
  • The Bahne Cadillac Contest is held in Del Mar and brings together a vast range of skaters with varying styles, among them are the Z-Boys.

Rick griffin was a regular contributor to the skateboard industry.

  • 1976 - Sublimated four-colour photographic half-toned images are released. The fiberglass matrix 'Surfer' magazine cover montage is a good example of this style.
  • The application of silk-screened pressure-sensitive vinyl decals creates a visual atmosphere similar to the billboards of NASCAR.
  • Pool riding is now an established sport within itself.
  • Guy Grundy sets a speed of 50.3mph for the Guinness book of world records.
  • Sam Puccio wins the Signal Hill Speed Trials by going 54mph.
  • Skate parks can now be found nationwide.
  • Vans designs the worlds first skateboard shoe.
  • 'Skateboarder' magazine goes monthly.
  • 1978 - Dave Hackett, the Albas, Dennis Martinez form the nucleus of the New Wave.
  • The sport reaches a new derangement as 'artist' Leroy Nieman rips off a Paul Hoffman taken by Warren Bolster and turns it into a plastic coated serving mat for burger king. 

  • 1978 - Steve rocco pulls off handplants on street curbs, but fails to gain much recognition due to his social stature. Rocco goes on to form SMA Rocco Division, which beget 'Blind' which in turn became 'World Industries'. These upstart companies thrived and helped shape the direction of the sport.
  • 1979 - The mainstream media wrote skateboarding off, allowing the movement to get back to business. A collection of skate brands poped up into the void created.
  • Floridian amateur skater Alan Gelfand gains the attention of the skate world with his ollie pops and no-handed aerials.
  • Duane Peters upsets the expectations of the media fed skate world  by proving anyone can win a professional competition. The days of 'one star' dominated competitions seems to be over.
  • Jay adams, an original member of the z-boys skateboarding team and 'original seed' of the sport gives his final interview and 'quits skating officially'.
Jay Adams circa 1975

  • 1980 - Surfing, one an influence of skateboarding, is now copying. Concrete-created moves are now the 'big' hits in professional surfing.
  • After declining sales 'Skateboarder' magazine becomes 'Active now' in an attempt to attract a larger audience. Offended skateboard manufacturers call a meeting with their publishers due to Action Now's ignorance towards skateboarding.
  • Fausto Vitello angrily leaves the meeting vowing to fund his own skateboarding magazine  'Thrasher' magazine is a reality one month later. 
  • 1982 - Offended skateboard manufacturers Peggy Cozens and Larry Balma start 'Transworld Skateboarding' magazine in protest over an independent Trucks ad, featured in 'Thrasher', which showed a naked under-age model.

  • 1983 - Funded with proceeds for appearing as a high jumping, skateboarding Ronald McDonald in a TV advert, Jim O'Mahonney founds a skate/sure museum in Santa Barbara California.
  • 1984 - Neil Blender bursts onto the scene entering contests and riding for Christ-centered corporation G&S. Starts doing graphics for skateboard company 'Alien Workshop'
  • Brand new t-shirts are rigorously cut and marked with ink pens, indicating that the staid control of corporate graphics is obsolete. 

  • 1989 - Mike Folmer, a former professional skateboarder, curates an exhibit of historic skateboards, skate related artwork and media at the Santa Ana Museum. 
  • 1990 - The first full colour, full length, silk-screened boards are released by 'Think'. The Mike Santarossa model depicted a treatment of 'Dali's Wife' by Amanda Haggerty. 
  • Mark Gonzales and Steve Rocco, two of the principle partners in Blind Industries, produce a photographic sublimation of macaroni cheese on their newest Gonz model. 
  • A Danny Way shotgun and shells pictorial board was released a short time after by another Rocco related company.
  • 1993 - Keith Cochrane of Think sponsors Danny Boy O'Connor of the group House of Pain. The musicians signature model is graphically your basic barb and shamrocks presentation. The model is banned in Britain because of its obvious references to the IRA.
  • 1994 -  The Consumer Product Safety Commission Report is released, stating skateboarding is 20x safer that football injury wise.
  • 1995 - Thrasher celebrates 15 years of publication and is one of the longest running skateboard magazines.
  • 1996 - The much ballyhooed 'Speak' Magazine debuts, created by David Carson and Neil Feineman. 
The Gonz, Macaroni Cheese deck.

  • 1996 - Speaking to LA radio station 97.1 Quentin Tarantino quotes the films of Tony Alva as a profound influence on his career. 
  • Following a two year long process the public skatepark at Temecula California opens. Designed by Kevin Thatcher the concourse is the most extreme public terrain offering ever.
  • California Assemblyman Bill Morrow attempts to pass bill AB2357, declaring skateboarding as a hazardous recreational activity.
  • NBC sports analyist Dick Enberg covers Tony Hawk and nine other skaters' demonstrations during the closing ceremonies of the Atlanta Winter Olympic Games. 
  • The broadcast marks the peak of skating's exposure to the world.
  • 1997 - A 1963 Makaha Phil model in seven point original condition is offered for sale at $375 in the San Onofre Surf Shop during the grand summer sale. 

  • 1997 - A pen and ink drawing by Rick Griffin originally executed for 'Skateboarder' magazine sells at auction for thousands.
  • The ESPN Extreme Games are held at Mariner's Point in San Diego, California.
  • Chris senn, defending world and Extreme Games champion was quoted saying " is pointless to try to judge skateboarding because it cannot be done."
  • The influence of skateboarding upon surfing was made more obvious as repeat champion Tudor and US Open competitor World Champion Kelly Slater each have pro skate models as well as their signature surfboards.
  • DC shoes arranges a secret stunt session for the worlds highest air. Transworld skateboarding magazine were onsite to record the events. Despite tight security Dan Stuart sneaked on set and got images of the whole event, selling the images to Thrasher magazine who managed to release them before Transworld. 
  • Danny Way bomb dropped from the helicopter and sticks some huge airs. 

  • 1998 - The integration of skate imagery into mainstream cooperate society is prevalent  the Venture flying 'V' logo has been turned out by Kawasaki and the 'Have You Seen Him Animal Chin' campaign has been co-opted by Nissan. 
  • California Governor Pete Wilson signs the Assembly Bill into law, officially declaring skateboarding to be a hazardous activity. 
  • In an Alan Seymour Pacific Coast Collectible Audition, Dale Smith sells the same Hobie 36" mahogany laminate for $1100. Scores of surf collectors shift their focus towards the sidewalk.


Next, I reviewed the historical information collected for my initial research, noting down my personal points of interest. Below are the three points that I want to research into further.

  • The Z-Boys & Dogtown
  • Rick Griffin - Artist
  • The evolution of the skateboard deck


The complete Zephyr team.

The Z-Boy Story

In 1971 a fourteen year old Nathan Pratt got a job as the clean up boy at the Zephyr surf shop in Santa Monica under the tutelage of shop co-founder Skip Engblom. He would go to the shop after school every day and over the next six years became an apprentice surfboard maker and the founding member of the junior surf team which would become the Z-BOYS. Other top young surfers, including Jay Adams, Chris Cahill and Allen Sarlo joined the team. They were a rough and tumble group of teenagers from the "wrong side of the tracks" who made the surf shop their home away from home.

Far from the multi-billion dollar industry that of today, surfing in the '70's was a renegade sport that was frowned upon by mainstream society. Considered drop-outs and losers, the surf community became a sub-culture all its own with distinct rules and pecking orders. Pratt, Adams, Sarlo and the other young surfers also were avid skateboarders. 

IN 1972 top Hawaiian designer Ben Aipa came to California for the World Championships and brought with him a revolutionary young surfer named Larry Bertlemann. Bertlemann had a low slung style that was completely innovative and phenomenally radical, especially his cutback, the Bertlemann cutback. 

The Z-Boys were immediately taken with this radical style and began copying it in both surfing and most uniquely, skateboarding. They would ride the streets and school banks of West Los Angeles imitating their favorite surfers and inventing moves of their own on banked walls of asphalt. They developed a driving low slung style that was completely different from the common standup style of trick skateboarding. As they skated with each other, every day would become a contest to see who could do the most radical move. This was a pack of alpha teenage boys who did not take kindly to being second best. 

In 1975, Adams, Cahill, Pratt, Sarlo and crew went to Engblom and asked to set up a skate team separate from the surf team. Engblom agreed and soon the skate team grew with all the top local skaters including Bob Biniak, Paul Constantineau, Jim Muir, Peggy Oki, Shogo Kubo and Wentzle Ruml. Engblom would coach them and insisted on high performance and good style. You had to go big and do it with style.

The Z-BOYS debuted at the Del Mar Nationals in March 1975. The first major skateboard contest since the original skateboard haydays of the mid 1960's. The first Z-BOY to compete was also the youngest and most naturally gifted, Jay Adams. In the span of his three minute freestyle routine, young Adams shattered the preexisting norms of the skateboarding world with radical moves and an aggressive style that had never been seen before. The judges did not even have a reference for creating a score and the contest was thrown into an uproar. Adams was backed up by eleven more Z-BOY performances that left the existing standards of the skateboard establishment in a trash heap. The revolution had begun and as Nathan Pratt put it "Skateboarding would never be the same again".

At the end of the day, half of all the finalists were members of the Z-BOY crew. In the girls division, Peggy Oki, devastated the competition and the other girls complained to the judges. The judges' response was that she was better than most of the boys too.
From Del Mar the Z-BOYS went on to expand their moves on the banks of the many schools in the hills of West Los Angeles area most notably Bellagio, Revere, Mar Vista, Brentwood and Kenter. There was a terrible drought and many swimming pools were drained. The Z-BOY crew took their surf style of skating to the pools and started hitting the coping. One day at a pool in Santa Monica they started hitting the coping so hard that they were flying out of the pool, getting air and then landing back in the pool. Aerial skateboarding had been invented. 

After the stunning Z-BOY success at Del Mar the media started following the every move of the Z-BOYS. They snuck into backyards to ride empty pools and partied with rock stars. They pushed the limits and invented new moves everyday. Most involved was local photo journalist Craig Stecyk who wrote and photographed a series of want became known as the Dogtown articles for Skateboarder Magazine that immortalized the Z-BOY lifestyle. The body of photography by C.R. Stecyk III still stands as skateboarding's finest.

Fame and fortune followed with three of the top four places on the Skateboard Readers Poll being occupied by a Z-BOY. However, as all of the Z-BOYS developed into superstars it was hard to keep the team together. Big money was being thrown at the teenagers and team members starting splitting off. At the end Allen Sarlo and Nathan Pratt were the last Z-BOYs left. Sarlo went off to follow his dream of being on the pro surf tour. Pratt took over the Zephyr space, opened his own surf/skate shop and starting shaping Horizons West surfboards in 1977. 

Like a comet, the Z-BOY era was a time that burned so bright and so hot that it had to explode. But in doing so, the Z-BOYS spread their influence even wider creating the modern extreme sports movement. Twelve teenagers who hung out in the Santa Monica/Venice neighborhood of Ocean Park who just wanted to surf and skate, they had no idea that they would start a revolution. Considered the most influential skateboard team in history, the Z-BOY movement continues to this day as an expression of performance, innovation and style. 


Craig Stecyk Photograph

This video shows the original Zephyr team skating a disused pool and the famous school banks.


I decided to focus on the photographs taken by Craig Stecky, as these present the best insight into the dog town era. Stecky was one of the few photographers lucky enough follow and capture a lot of the action taking place throughout the Z-boy movement, therefore his photos provide a timeless look in to the exclusive dog town sessions.

dogtown zephyr surf team jeff ho
Dogtown’s legendary Zephyr surf team with c0-founder and designer Jeff Ho far right.

Tony Alva testing the laws of motion.
A young Tony Alva 

Paul Cullen ripping.

Craig Stecyk, Jay Adams, Northridge, California, ca. 1973, Courtesy of the artist © C.R. Stecyk


Rick Griffin is an American artists and illustrator hailing from California. He is best known for his work produced for the surf and skateboard industries but also found success creating colourful psychedelic style art.

Huichol Indian by Rick Griffin

Below is an informative video giving a brief insight into Griffins life and work.

Below are a selection of images displaying Griffin's skateboard related work. He is well known for producing his cartoon styled illustrations for magazines such as 'The Surfer' and 'Skateboarder'. However, Griffin also produced a selection of other graphic related work such as logos and advertisement designs.

Skateboard Bill by Rick Griffin

Rick Griffin: 'Cutter' skateboard artwork, 1988,
Cutter Skateboard Trucks logo design

B/W art, ink on paper
Ad artwork

Mock-up Ad artwork



Furthermore, I also looked at some of the posters Griffin produced for various music artists. A lot of the posters are typical of Griffin's psychedelic style, which is portrayed through his vivid colour choices and type. 

Jimi Hendrix 1969

Jimi Hendrix 1968


Finally, I want to focus on the changes that the skateboard deck underwent as the sport progressed. When skateboards were first surfacing they were usually lengths of 2x4 with roller skate wheels attached to them, in more modern times you can choose a deck in varying shapes, sizes and with different concaves.  I want to look at the progression of the skateboard deck, from its most primitive form to the technologically advanced decks that are available today.


The first ever skateboards originated from old box scooters, kids would remove the box section from the scooter essentially creating the worlds first skateboard.


metal skateboard wheels Top 5 Design Innovations in Skateboarding History

The first skateboards that appeared in shops were simply planks of wood with roller skate wheels and trucks attached. They were vary basic and no doubt very hard to ride.


The basic deck shape stays the same, with a simple flat plank of wood being used. Advances in the wheel department meant that people upgraded from the harsh metal wheels to clay ones, that probably weren't that much better.


There were vast improvements to the skateboard design in the 1970's. A tail was added to the deck which allowed skaters to perform more versatile tricks and polyurethane wheels were made commercially available vastly improving the smoothness and quality of the ride. Moreover, proper skateboard trucks were created and made commercially available.


In the 1980's skateboards became much wider, had the length of the tail extended and the length of the nose shortened. Moreover, rails were added to the underneath of the skateboard for tricks like the 'board-slide' that involved grinding.


The 1990's introduce another change in board shape, concave is added to the nose and tail and the decks are generally thinner in width and longer in length. With advances in technology and with the new deck shape skateboards became lighter and easier to flip. The shape of the skateboard deck has now stayed relatively unchanged over the past two decades.

Below is an infographic I found displaying the evolution of the skateboard. 

While researching into the evolution of the skateboard I discovered these interesting pictures taken for 'Life' magazine, they show the moment when the skateboarding craze first hit New York City in 1965.



After an in depth look at the evolution of the sport I wanted to take a more modern focus on skateboarding, looking at the skaters, skateparks and products that are pushing the culture forward.

David Gonzolas 


In the past decade, the skateboarding industry has seen the introduction of various phenomenally talented skateboarders. Their technical skills and innovative styles are light-years ahead of simple tricks originally created by the Z-boy  pushing the boundaries of what we previously thought possible forward. 

Below is a selection of my personal favorite skaters, who I believe to be some of the most progressive athletes 


Below is a video showcasing Davids talents.



In the days of Dogtown there were hardly any skateparks, so people found whatever they could to skate such as pools in peoples back gardens and various street obstacles. Since then there has been a steady increase of private and public skateparks. A private skatepark is usually privately owned and maintained, therefore to skate there participants must pay a fee. On the other hand, a public park is usually paid for and maintained by the local council and can therefore be free to anyone who wants to skate it. 

Private Skatepark - The Wearhouse, Leyland.

Public Skatepark - Radlands Plaza, Northampton 

Skateboarding has always had a D.I.Y ethic since its conception when young children made their own skateboards from 2x4 planks of wood. This is reflected through many aspects of modern skateboarding, one of them being handmade skate spots. These spots are usually made by a group of skateboarders on disused or wasteland, using simple materials such as cement and bricks. I personally find D.I.Y spots more impressive as there is much more creativity put into their production, often the spots will incorporate features the environment in which they are situated.  

Below are a selection of images of some D.I.Y spots from around the U.K, I asked some fellow skaters at Hyde Skatepark of the names and locations of some D.I.Y skate spots around the country, images of these were often easy to find on different blogs.

FOZ tre flip at The Joint

Guy Jones wallride to fakie at The Joint
The 'Joint' D.I.Y skate spot - Leeds

Sheffield D.I.Y spot

Fox Bowl - London



D.I.Y Skatehouse - Lewes 

This video showcases the 'Set in Stone' project, set up by Emerica, Carhartt and Kingpin magazine. Teaming up they sent out builder crews and riders to various places all over Europe to help build D.I.Y spots. The video is a good example of the basic techniques used to create these spots and the quality of what can be achieved.


Firstly, skateboarding is a very free, creative sport and therefore attracts a lot of creatively minded people. In response to the audience attracted to skateboarding the industry relies heavily on aesthetically engaging products. For this reason, both the design and skateboard industries have always shared a close relationship. 

My next section of research will focus on the aesthetic side of skateboarding, concentrating on the graphic work created for various parts of the industry.


I collected images of skateboard graphics from books; 'Boards - The Art and Design of the Skateboard' and 'Dysfunctional', both books showcase a vast amount of skateboard graphics both past and present.

Images taken from the book; 'Boards'

These skateboard designs uitlizes photography rather than other more illustrative techniques. Using artwork like this has only become available since the introduction of heat-transfer graphic sheets.

Images taken from the book; 'Dysfunctional' 

Classic 60's style skateboard decks with simple silk screened graphics.

Wide pool boards like this were popular in the 80's.

I really like this series of deckss illustrated for 'Chocolate Skateboards', the consistent illustration style and its composition across six skateboards creates a really engaging set of boards.

Various skateboard designs on a modern shaped deck.



Neckface is an anonymous graffiti artist from California, America. He paints demonic creatures, in a lose, scratchy style. Neckface is also massively involved in the skateboard industry, producing illustrations for skateboards, t-shirts, magazines and tattoos. Due to his involvement with various skate companies Neckface's work has become a regular in the industry. 


Below is a short documentary hosted by Patrick O'Dell, named 'Epicly Later'd' the show usually focuses on the personal lives of professional skateboarders. However, due to Neckface's close relationship with various pro skaters and the skateboard industry the show decided to do a feature on him. The show is really interesting, and give an insight into Neckface's work and personality. 

Next, I looked at Neckface's work, as he is a practicing graffiti artist he doesn't have his own portfolio website, so I had to use various internet sources to find images of his work.

Neckface's style is made immediately obvious through his demonic like characters and phrases.     

Neckface's scratchy, demonic creatures are also utilized on his skateboard deck illustrations. 


French is a freelance artist and illustrator from Hampshire, England. The majority of French's work has been used within the skateboard industry, for either deck graphics or t-shirt designs. His intricacy and attention to detail is inspiring, each illustration resembles a complex wood-cut print, using fine lines to build up the texture and detail of each illustration.

French also owns his own skateboard company called 'Witchcraft', his dark, detailed illustrations really suit the occult style ethos of the company.

Below are some various illustrations taken from French's website.



Aaron Horkey is an artist and illustrator from Minnesota, America . Horkey's specialty lies within his ability to create exquisitely detailed illustrations and beautiful type. Due to the quality of his work Horkey's services are in high demand, some of his previous clients include skateboard companies 'Flip Skateboards' and 'Spitfire Wheels'.

horkey ryan 2

Below is a selection of Horkey's work that I found inspiring. One of the first things I came across was this laser cut skateboard design, the intricate illustration was captured perfectly by the laser cutter creating a captivating, aesthetically engaging design. 


Michael Sieben is a designer and illustrator based in Austin, Texas. Sieben's work has been featured in exhibitions around the world, in magazines such as Thrasher and throughout parts of the skateboard industry.

Thrasher Magazine Illustrations

Sieben worked for Thrasher Magazine as a staff writer and illustrator. Below are a few of the Illustrations he created while working there, their messy style is remnant of the 






Roger Skateboards

In 2009 Sieben started his own company with friend Stacy Lowery, Sieben is responsible for creating the company branding and skateboard graphics. I think the company aesthetic is very effective as the same illustrative style is consistent throughout both the company branding and skateboard designs.  



Its hard to specify a specific target audience when designing for a skateboard company as skateboarding has a following of over 18.5 million people. Naturally the demographic ranges drastically, 'The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' state that "The average age of skateboarders is between 13 and 14 and they participate in the sport on average 50.8 days in the year. 90% of them are male and 60% are under 15. "

According to these facts the majority of skateboarders in the UK are between the ages of 13 and 14.   

Finally, I watched this inspirational talk given by skateboard legend Rodney Mullen.