• PrintMag

Inside the World of Board Graphics

I first met Robynne Raye and Mike Strassburger of Modern Dog Design when I interviewed them after their first book, 20 Years of Poster Art, came out in 2008. I have subsequently had the pleasure of getting to know them personally and professionally, and had the opportunity to work on their second book, Inside the World of Board Graphics: Skate, Surf, Snow, which came out this month. I interviewed several of the designers featured in the book, including brothers Tom and Andy Lohner, better known as the Loslohbros. I asked Robynne to answer a few questions about putting the book together.

Remember snowboarding – compared to skateboarding and surfing – is a mainstream Olympic sport. The public perception is that the industry is self-made, but snowboarding has changed a lot since the 80s. It’s a billion dollar industry and has been for quite some time. I actually preferred working with them when we had low budgets because they were willing to take more risks. Once the bean counters got involved, that all changed.

Can you share the story of how Modern Dog got its first commission for K2? Long story short, K2 thought we were someone else. We found out a few years later when they got drunk at a party and told us the morning we called they thought we were someone else. But we put Modern Dog in a position of opportunity and worked for K2 from August 1989 – December 2000. We witnessed what happens when a trend explodes and a lot of money starts pouring in. In the early days K2 allowed us to have fun and do some crazy stuff. They are one of the reasons my company is here today.

As a result of this book, you ended up teaching a class in board design this last summer. Can you tell me more about that? The Cornish College of the Arts summer program is in second year so it was new for me too, though I have been teaching college-level design classes there for 11 years. I had five students between the ages of 15 and 17. Each student got two blank boards, and over the course of six classes made deck art out of collage, spray paint and stencils. I love getting my hands dirty so I made one too. Modern Dog designer Shogo Ota helped out as well.

Will there be a second edition of Inside the World of Board Graphics? That’s not a question I want to think about right now. If anyone reading this has ever approached a project of this size they will understand why.