Branding Case study—Maven Snowboards
Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesign, Muse
September 2011–April 2012
The Maven Snowboards brand was created to reach out to female athletes, a client base that is poorly represented in the extreme winter sports market. In extreme sports the majority of brands focus primarily on male athletes, and when they do show interest in female athletes, they provide far less than half of their products to them. Male snowboarders are provided with salaried sponsorship’s, endorsement deals, and recognition from top brands such as Burton, Quicksilver, and Volcom.
The way the industry represents these athletes needed to change, Mavens goal was to encourage women to confidently and actively participate in extreme sports with a femme focused brand that provides reliable product choices, respectable values, and a strong professional look.
There are a number of issues with the handling and portrayal of women in the extreme sports industry. Major brands such as Burton Snowboards and Quicksilver do include women as a market but don’t provide as much of a variety for women as they do for their male customers. On personal viewing of a number of brands websites, I found that products provided are on average 60% male focused and 40% female focused. Burton provides men with over 100 different hard goods including snowboards, bindings, and tools. Women are provided with only a total of 67. A brand like Roxy, a sub brand of Quicksilver, which is marketed as a brand for women, provides a significantly smaller variety of options. Women are provided with half the amount of products made for men by Quicksilver.
The portrayal of women in current brands is a major issue. Brands such as World Industries, 151, and Blind very often portray women as sexual objects, using naked or seductive models in their designs. Female professional riders feel threatened by this and will ultimately choose not to ride for these companies. Not only do brands handle female’s products differently but also professional sponsorships. When a male rider is sponsored, he receives a salary and large prizes in competitions. Female athletes that receive sponsorships often receive free clothing, riding equipment and promotional material with no salary. Even with a sponsorship, the brand very often hires models to promote their products instead of the athletes themselves. This is never the case when it comes to male athletes who promote their sponsored brand. This causes female athletes to feel like the industry doesn’t take them seriously. (Dirkson, 2002)
These problems need to be addressed because female participation in extreme sports is rapidly growing. From 2008-2010 there has been an increase of 35,000 women participating regularly in sports. On average there are women taking part in skiing and snowboarding at least once per week. (Active people survey, 2011) With such a large amount of females participating in the sport, women will be searching for product options to use and sponsorships that are available when they desire to compete professionally. If companies would consider not only focusing on the growing market of female boarders but show these female athletes in their ads, it will not only empower the women involved but encourage other women to confidently participate in the sport.
To establish a strong and competitive brand that addressed all the problems found, I planned out a long development process. Extensive research was conducted on the market to see what was available for woman at the time. I wanted to see how brands marketed to the chosen client base, this would help me determine what would allow this new identity to stand out, and how to successfully represent women in a confident and competitive manner.
The development of the brands logo and style was the main component of this project. Through mentor feedback provided by Vanessa Eckstein of Blok Design, I was advised and encouraged to spend more time in the planning phases before moving on to application. Vanessa inspired me to really think about what makes a brand, how values are determined, and overall how to create a strong and meaningful identity. 80% of my logged time on this project went into research and development of the logo.
Through careful planning and Art Direction from mentors at Blok Design a strong and eye-catching brand was created.
Overall Project Goal
To create a female extreme sports brand that successfully represents women in a confident and competitive manner.
Establish reason to care for and be interested in the company by including a strong visual identity system that can be accessed by customers and companies.
Be unique and show that the brand can be competitive by testing success at retail with eye-catching packaging.
Bold, Daring, Fearless, Natural, Elegant
Maven is a Yiddish word that describes someone who is an expert or a natural. This name was chosen to represent female snowboarders who are naturals at the sport, performing with amazing power and agility. Deer are strong and graceful; they have compact bodies and long powerful legs, are excellent jumpers, and have great agility. The deer is a perfect fit to represent female boarders and Maven because they both are graceful in their movements and perform with ease when faced with rugged terrain.
The various concepts for logo