With all this talk of snowboards and all the new snow up in Tahoe, I thought it would be a good time to post about these Armada skis I did a couple years back that have just recently been released. In November of 2006, Armada asked me to design the 2009 AR6 line (there is a relatively long period that separates the design phase and end product in the production cycles of most snowboard / ski manufacturers). Based on the timeline and budget, we decided I’d deliver 2 reference designs which would be extrapolated by in-house designers to fill the 5 versions of the AR6 line. I believe Mackel Vaugn put together the final designs based on what I turned in. The top image (orange, very top) shows the early tests I showed Armada to illustrate what I was going for. Skis are an interesting form factor to design for; you have these two narrow canvases and you sort of have to choose whether to treat them as a whole or individually. Based on the very wide design of the AR6′s I decided to try and tie the two skis together to feel more like one large design across a canvas.
After some meetings with Armada about the tests I had sent in, we decided to stick with the basic forms for the final versions but bring up the overall color and variation of the designs. The results were the final two reference designs (directly above), I delivered the PSD files along with various image collateral and they worked those into final five ski designs. I’ve done a couple ski projects and all my snowboard projects this way. It’s an interesting process, handing off the design and later being surprised by what they end up looking like (the bottoms were a surprise too, only designed the tops). The whole thing reminds me of layer tennis, sort of like a design remix. You can see all the final versions of the AR6 at Armada’s site and you can see some in action in this video review. These are out now, you can check Armada’s dealer list if you want to pick up a pair. I did the 2010 AR6 line as well so you should start seeing those out next fall. Here’s Armada’s product video for the 2009 AR6: