Sunday, November 22, 2009


Folders! Most of the Fall 10 line is finished. Josh is having me work on items that might or might not make the line. There was talk about adding school folders to the line so Josh had a few ideas that he had me CAD up. The top folder is a three ring binder that has a separate organizer. The bottom folder is just your normal school folder. On Wednesday me and Josh met with a vendor (American Joe) to have a prototype made up of the 3 ring. I guess Element will decide on if it will make it to the line up depending on how its received. So far Zumies is the only store that's expressed interest.
I also worked on a back pack and finalizing the CAD on the headphones this week. The headphones are a new product to Josh and Element, so its been fun to be involved so closely on the process of having them made. I spent most of my time calling out every possible design element that I could. A little research went into headphone construction and vocabulary. Hopefully this will make the building process easier for the manufacture. I have to say that I'm not super excited about some of the design elements that Josh had me do. I think the sherpa fur lined headband is a little over the top, but it will be fun to see a working product. For the most part the internship has been about drawing up a working CAD and not so much about design. I'm a little disappointed to find out that most designs come from knocking off other products and copying colorways that are "IN" for the season. I think for ultimate design freedom a designer will need to take on their own company. There's a fine line in producing innovated fun design and being marketable I fun.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

11/10/09 - 11/11/09

I got to work on a SMU for Hawaii this week. They were looking for some flat billed/rounded trucker hats that had graphics from old t-shirts that were made for them last season. So there wasn't much creativity needed putting these together. The client called out everything that they were wanting. Its a good learning process to make these tech packs though. I had the opportunity to go with Josh to visit a few hat vendors in the area. We stopped by New Era and a company called PDI to either pick up some samples they made or to talk about projects in the works. It was good to see what these vendors were looking for from our end. It made more sense to see why we need to call certain things out on the tech pack.
I also worked on putting a CAD together for another backpack/hip pack. It looks like an over sized hip pack that has a pocket that contains the other half, turning it
into a backpack. I'm not sure this will fly but its a fun new design to see.
On Wednesday I did another CAD for a backpack. I took an old CAD that I put together and added elements from a different backpack. This was a little bit challenging because I usually have a prototype to work from or pictures of all angles to work from. This time I had to use my imagination to figure out what the sides and back of the pack looked like since I only had a front view picture to work from. I'm curious to see if the pack will turn out. I felt that the dimensions were a little tight for the layout I was given. Josh asked me to keep the sizing, as well as a few features of the old pack the same which made a few spots of the pack fill to close.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


The two big projects I worked on on Tuesday are the pack and beanie. It was fun to work on the pack because its actually a bag I own. Something I got prior to this internship. I guess it was a pack that was put together before Josh worked with Element and there was no CAD available, so that's why I drew it up. I was able to offer some feedback on the pack that might be changed. The bag has always had these to metal clasp that when not attached clink together when you walk. Its always bugged me and now we can change that for future production. The beanie was fun to work on too. Its the first time I've worked on a beanie. Its amazing how much you can learn about a product (or how much you never realized) when you have to design it.
Wednesday I worked on the headphones again. I measured the dimensions, called out specs and played with a different colorway. By the end of the day we had something to send off to the manufacture. I also worked on two colorways for a hat.
In the design area at Element they post up the products that are approved for the season. This gives everyone in the department an idea of what the line is looking like. Its fun to see the accessories section come together. About a fourth of whats posted I had a hand in helping design. I think it will be cool to see this stuff out in the market come next fall.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Helped with belts this week.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It must of been a long week because for the life of me I can't remember what I did on Tuesday. I know that Josh showed me a few things about beanies. I think that I worked on a few colorways for one of the backpacks in the fall 10 line up. I'm not positive that they were a big hit with Josh. I'm still trying to figure out the look that is the Element company look. On Wednesday I fixed a few things on the backpacks and then moved onto something new. Josh asked me to come up with a cad for some Element headphones. The picture attached is what I ended up with. I'm pretty excited about the end result and I think that Josh liked it as well. I guess I'll see how it was taken by the higher ups come next week.

Vocabulary: Jacquard - the name stems from the inventor of a certain loom. It refers to the technique the loom produces.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I was only able to work on Tues this week. I've been feeling a little under the weather. I thought that I'd be working on the pack cads today that I started last week but Josh had a few other things for me to work on. There were a few SMU's he had me work on. First I needed to change a few design details on the Puerto Rico backpacks I worked on last week. Nothing that big, just a few tweaks. After getting that file squared away I worked on two hat SMU's. One for Tilly's and another for The Buckle. It was a new process for me, a little different than working with backpacks. I had to think about how the printing would line up with the panels and bill along with other embroidery applications. I also had to design with the client in mind. The target customer for Tilly's is different than one for The Buckle. Josh helped me nail down some designs to play with and by the end of the day I had about 5 designs for each SMU to show.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

10/06/09 - 10/07/09

This week was pretty much about the Puerto Rico SMU packs. I spent both days working on multiple designs and colorways for 2 different sized packs. The larger backpack was, for the most part, an allover print with a large "tree" logo applique on the top half and some sort of Element logo on the bottom pocket. I played around with colors and the allover print to come up with maybe 5 different designs with 3 colorways each. The smaller packs consisted of a logo placement with a screen print design. Again I came up with about 5 different designs with 3 colorways each. After finishing the designs I printed up what I had and then sat down with Josh to evaluate what I had come up with.
Josh was pretty up front with what I had. It was nice to get honest feedback. He said that I might be guilty with a common problem with most new designers and that was over designing. About half of my designs were scratched due to over designing. The other half needed to be to be changed due to improper logo usage or color tweaks. So back to the drawing board! I followed Joshes suggestions and by the end of Wednesday we had about 20 backpack designs to show the client. It will be fun to hear the feed back from the client. Attached is one of the backpacks that was initially over designed as well as having an old logo that couldn't be used...but I liked it and thought I'd show it.

Vocabulary: Tech Pack, a.k.a. Cad - A file (usually .ai) that details the design, specs, and colors of a certain product.
Matrix - A file (excel) that has a run down of the products dimensions, notions, fabric and other information needed to make product.

Monday, October 5, 2009

9/29/09 - 9/30/09

Another 2 days this week. Tuesday Josh approached me and told me that there was a SMU* that needed to made for their client in Puerto Rico. I guess they have a client that buys a good size supply of product every year for Puerto Rico. Josh gave me 2 backpacks that fit the price point and told me to design a similar pack and then come up with a few design options on that pack. Creative freedom! Creative freedom is a little harder than I thought. Ha! It took me most of the day to come up with a pack design. I haven't ever designed something on Illustrator that needed to be produced in 3D later. It was a little hard to visualize the design. I drew the front view first and then realized it couldn't be made as I started drawing the side view. I'm sure with practice that will be easier to see. A backpack, after all, is basically just a bunch of different shaped squares. At the end of the day I had the pack done and also had 2 basic designs in the works. Nothing I was that excited about, but a good start.
Wednesday I went in hoping to get some feed back on what I started the day before but Josh was out, having a personal day. As I arrived I was able to talk a little with Paul. Paul is the shoe designer at Element. I have an interest in shoe design so it was nice to pick his brain a little. He mentioned that he had a background in industrial/product design. The thing he pointed out was kind of what I was talking about in my earlier blog... understanding the manufactures process for making the shoe. Paul let me look at shoe he designed and gave me a few websites to check out that he liked. Good stuff.
I ended up working with Heather most of the day. She had me work on the girls backpacks for the SMU for Puerto Rico. She was a lot more structured with what she wanted than Josh was. Josh just said go for it while Heather gave me two already designed packs to work with. She also directed me towards a bunch of graphics to use on the packs as well as certain colors she wanted to see them in. It was actually a helpful process. She gave good feedback about the stuff I produced and pointed out that SMU designing is a little different than normal products designed for Element. SMU is designed for a customer with their needs in mind vs. my own creativity.

Vocabulary: SMU (Special Make Up or Special Mark Up) - a product produced for a specific customer, independent of the normal line produced.

9/22/09 -9/23/09

I worked twice this week. Tuesday I worked with Heather in the morning. She needed a little help getting some revisions done for Kathy's approval. The revisions were all with the Summer 10 backpack line. I worked on those until after lunch where I then did my first sketch up of a backpack for Josh. I titled this design pack 1 because I'm not sure how they pick names for their new designs. I also knew Josh would have me doing 2 more designs the next day (pack 2&3). I enjoyed doing these 3 designs. I used Illustrator for the designs. I'm finding that a strong understanding of this program is key to this job. I don't know if I understand the processes used in making the products but by using Illustrator I can conceptualize the design, which might be more important at this point. I think to better understand the process of making a product I'd need to visit the manufacture...and I don't plan on visiting China soon. This brings up an important point though, I think its a good idea to have a close working relationship with the manufacturer to understand the limits on the design process. Limits mostly meaning the price to produce it. Most things can be produced but not always at a cost effective price. Understanding that the more you embellish your design the more it will cost and this plays a part in the market you might be targeting. Not many "skaters" will pay over a $100 for a backpack. 3 important factors to consider, 1. keeping in mind the budget while designing. 2. understanding what you're designing will cost. 3. Knowing the manufacturer, their limits and cost.
Anyways, back to my week. I guess on Wednesday I worked on the other 2 packs. I also did a basic outline for a beanie. At the end of the day Josh had me work with some labels. I was giving a bunch of packets that included approved label designs that had attached sew outs of those label. What I did was attach the sew out to a print out of the label. These print outs were then going to another manufacturer for competitive pricing. Its always good to look for the best deal! Before leaving that night Josh let me grab a few shirts from the sample been. Hook Up! Thanks Josh.

Vocabulary: PU - polyurethane. I feel like I should of known this one but I didn't.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I went into Element this morning to sit in on their little seasonal directional meeting. It was a good opportunity to see how the company comes up with a general direction for the season. The season most departments are working on is Fall of 2010. The only department that is a little different is the shoe department. I guess it takes longer to produce shoes so they are almost a year ahead. I'm not really sure if I'm at liberty to discuss all that went on today. I don't want to divulge any information I shouldn't. It was just nice to see the thought and research invested into the vision they have for the season. I got to meet Johnny (the pres) and Kim (vice pres). After the meeting I cruised up to a local basketball court to watch the final game between the Element design group and the Billabong warehouse group. Element slaughtered!


Today was a little better than my first day. Again I don't know why. I think I just got more of a feeling of the creative process today. It wasn't just making small changes on already existing files.
When I first arrived the receptionist (Genevieve) informed me that Josh wouldn't be in today and that I was to report to Heather Gibby (women's accessories designer). Heather seemed a little shocked but after a few minutes she came up with something for me to work on.
She had a few pictures of a backpack that she wanted redrawn in Illustrator. Once I was done with that I could come up with a few colorways* for that pack. She also wanted me to look around on the internet for some girls backpacks that I thought were cute. I don't know if I would recognize a cute backpack but I told her I'd give it a try.
Redrawing the pack was a little difficult. I'm not use to translating something to the computer to scale. I feel pretty confident in my Illustrator knowledge but this project took me a little while, most of the day in fact. It all worked out in the end though. Heather had to leave around noon so there wasn't any other assignments for that afternoon. By the end of the day I had everything requested, where it done right or wrong I'll have to wait and see. I had the pack redrawn with two colorways and also I had a few pictures of other packs I found on the internet.

*colorway - the color scheme of a certain product. One product could have many possible colorways.


First day! Maybe not what I thought it would be. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, perhaps I got the feeling that this is just another computer job, not as "hands on" as I might of expected.
When I first arrived I met with the HR lady over at Billabong and signed a few release forms and received a sign in number for keeping track of my hours. I then met up with Josh and he showed me around the place a little and got me situated on a computer. Most of the design process takes place with Adobe Illustrator. Josh had me open a few files to get an idea of what a finished design looks like. There seems to be 3, maybe 4, different types of file names for one product, depending on what stage its in. I'm still a little unclear on the differences but the names I'm getting for the files are Tech Pack, Matrix, Cads, and then maybe a basic sketch up. There's sub files sometimes attached that give examples of patterns at scale. Anyways, as I learn more about the differences I'll be sure to make a note of it. Josh had me open and work with some hat designs.
For lunch Josh showed me around Irvine a little and then we ate at a Peruvian food place, first time and pretty good. I got to know Josh a little better. He has background in graphic design, has been working with Element for about 3 years and has a 5 month old baby. I get the feeling that he will be a good mentor for this Internship.
After lunch one of Elements team riders, Levi Brown came in looking to have a hat made up. Josh introduced me and we talked about what kind of hat he was looking for. Josh then had me play with some sizing of an Element logo for the hat. The finished product should be pretty killer. Before taking off I played around with a belt design.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I met with Kathy Nolan, Josh Riessen, and Heather Gibby today to discuss the opportunity of working in the accessories department with Element. We reviewed my portfolio and things look good for me to start interning next week. I liked the "vibe" I got from meeting with the above mentioned people as well as the environment. There's a feeling of family and respect which is a breath of fresh air. I'm sure I will learn a lot with this company. I can't wait to start!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Internship Form

I turned in my Internship acceptance form today. Listed in the form(pictured) are 3 different objectives I hope to address in my blog while working with Element.