As a graphic artist, it always amazes me that there are design opportunities everywhere that I turn. Last summer, my sweet friend Heather connected me – through the power of “word of mouth referral” – with Michelle Salt, a Canadian Paralympic Snowboarder. Michelle needed a designer for her 2018 Paralympic race board – and after discussing a concept that I presented to her, she offered me the job. What an honor – I never in my life imagined I would have a snowboard design that would be seen on the slopes at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games!
“She was in a life-threatening motorcycle accident June 27, 2011 that left her on life support for 7 days, broke numerous bones, having to endure many surgeries and in the end, lost her right leg above the knee. She is now a National team athlete for the Canada Snowboard para-team and also working towards making the National para-cycling team. She was selected in February 2014 to compete in the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia and upon competing, became the first Female Canadian Paralympic Snowboarder. She is currently reigned National Champion in Canada and in January 2015, made her first World Cup Podium on home turf at Big White finishing 3rd.” (source)
Such an inspiration, right?
I really wanted there to be immense meaning behind the snowboard design, so that when she looks down at the snowboard while training and competing, she will see personal inspiration to keep her motivated.
Metaphorically speaking, the word “salt” has many meanings – and since it’s Michelle’s last name, I decided to pull meaning from it and create the design around salt crystals. She also said that she likes “Bears, Maple Leafs, mountains.. anything Canadian really”, so I made sure to take this into consideration.
Here is a look at the concept board that I created – it includes references to salt, bright red coloring, and a maple leaf embedded into a salt crystal.
Salt thrives in many forms.
After reviewing, Michelle decided that #2 was her fav! This was a super tight deadline, so after applying all of the sponsor logos to the center, I had to make sure that the bindings were not going to cover any of the important parts of the design – something I had not accounted for in the beginning…
This is the final design, with her name/logo in white at the tip of the board and the sponsors in the center.
I love how it turned out, and of course, it was such an honor to have this opportunity.
A few months after the snowboard was completed, I am able to see it in action through her posts on social media.
Here is the finished snowboard design, applied to her custom board:
So now, of course, I now am a follower of Michelle. (And yes, so excited to see my design at such an amazing event…) But even more, I am inspired by Michelle and all that she represents.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games will begin on March 8, and from what it says here, NBC will be broadcasting “94 hours on television, which nearly doubles the coverage of Sochi 2014” – (source) – that is so exciting!
We wil be rooting for you, Michelle!