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Elijah Quinones, 16, aspires to be a graphic designer.
“Anything you can imagine, you can create with graphic design,” he said.
As a junior in Warren Tech’s graphic design program, Quinones is one of almost 90 students getting a head start on his career by participating in Never Summer’s student snowboard design contest.
Never Summer Industries, one of Colorado’s oldest snowboard companies, is teaming up with students at Warren Tech for the fifth year to bring them real-world insight into the design field.
The contest came about when graphic design instructors Pete Cunis and Scot Odendahl wanted to incorporate a client project into the curriculum for first and second year students. Initially, they pitched it as a regular snowboard design project on a standard template, printing them out on paper and sending them to Never Summer to pick their favorites.
But after speaking with Vince Sanders, chairman of the board at Never Summer, he offered to put the winners on actual snowboards.
For the first three years, students made prints and they were dropped them off at the snowboard facility. At the end of that third year, and with some discussion with Never Summer, the decision was made to print their designs larger and have students present their work directly to people from Never Summer.
In February each year, five people from Never Summer come to Warren Tech for the day to have students from present their designs and concepts directly. From there, the top 10 designs are chosen and posed on Never Summer social media for voting. The social media communities choose a popular design winner and the Never Summer staff chooses a factory favorite. Winners are announced in late March.
“The possibility that any of our students can receive a snowboard or long board with their artwork on it is not something that even most college students or professionals can experience,” Cunis said. “At Warren Tech, we are fortunate to provide our students with projects that challenge their creativity and result in actually finished formats. Our students are creating not just designs, but creating work that will eventually be produced in real format.”
To kick of the design contest and get their creative juices flowing, graphic design students toured the Denver-based shop Nov. 1.
The factory tour helps students see the production process and discuss design aspects and requirements.
“It was pretty sweet just seeing the many people doing all this work for other people,” Quinones said. “I think that’s really cool.”
Quinones has already started working on the concept for his board design. He plans to incorporate a wind map of Alaska into his design as a tribute to his brother, who recently moved there.
“We’re continually blown away with the programs at Warren Tech and the art their students produce,” Sanders said. “It’s not like the trade school you think of with auto shop. They have everything there. It’s a get place for kids to get a jump start.”
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