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Quiksilver Pro artwork

David Carson design collaboration

With the intimidating talent featured on this site, it's not often we're truly humbled. But when COTW featured artist George Bates shared with us a project he'd collaborated on with David Carson, we naturally jumped at the opportunity to run a feature and ask some questions…

David Carson, the designer famously quoted as the man who "changed the public face of graphic design" was commissioned to art direct and work on creative concepts for the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York and later, the 2011 Quiksilver Pro France. To achieve a broad range of concepts and styles David collaborated with New York designers/artists/illustrators; George Bates, Michael Lotenero and Justin Kauffmann.

Exhibited here (click the image above for slideshow) are the explorative concepts, illustrations, collages, idents and designs that made up the project. Of course, like with any creative project not everything was used, but it all contributed to the end product(s).

The brief

David Carson (DC): The brief was to come up with a look and feel for the Quiksilver NY Pro surf contest. A big deal, as something of this scale had never been attempted for an ASP pro surfing contest. It was left very open, other than to say they were currently using "stains and texture" in their ads.


DC: I knew I wanted to use art, and not only rely on photography. Having been a huge fan of George's work for years, and the stuff we did for BIG magazine, he was my first choice. I really didn't have much to give him, so we worked on the actual words and some photos I had of a team rider; Dane Reynolds.

George just kept sending me stuff and I kept tearing it apart, and using what he sent as new design elements. I ended up presenting over 100 ideas to Quiksilver, most of it involving George Bates' art in one way or another. Two top Quiksilver folks told me it was the "best presentation of work they ever saw" presented at Quiksilver.

Both George and I being surfers helped a lot. It was a great project, and the Quiksilver people were great to work with.

New York to France

DC: The head of the Quiksilver Pro in France saw the NYC work, and immediately contacted me to see if I was interested in working on his project. Helloooooo. I jumped. He told me the only requirement he wanted was that it beat the work I had done for NYC :) …There is a nice little rivalry between the different Quiksilver headquarters around the world :)

So George and I basically started up again, he sending me letters and words and me mucking with them and adding them to different photos or art. Justin Kauffmann and Michael Lotenero also contributed to the presentations. Justin's work can be seen on the merchandise for the NYC event. The NYC approach was very gritty. The French wanted something more in the tradition of old paintings from the Biarritz area.

Working with George…

DC: George was amazing to work with, so many solutions and variations. We both went a little crazy I think, but it was certainly a labor of love, and we were both stoked to be working with Quiksilver on such huge projects. Ultimately very little of the work we did for NYC was used, for reasons I'm still not totally clear on, but for France, George's painting and type is all over that event!

Above: David also used bits of George's hand drawn type for three surf film festival posters in Spain, an exhibition in Portugal, a cover for The Portland Mercury, and some cover ideas for Monster Magazine.

George Bates shares his thoughts on the project…

George Bates (GB): I think the results are pretty cool, inspiring stuff! I was mostly in the dark about the specifics and scope of the project, which was actually really refreshing after just finishing a few projects that had very specific and narrow parameters. David gave me a very minimal brief and had some specific requests in terms of text needed and overarching themes (e.g. surf NYC, surf France, beach breaks, perfect A frames…), but most of it was just sending him experiments and playing with type treatments, then David put his transformative magic on it, similar to the last time we worked together on the BIG MAGAZINE Surf Issue.

I find these [Quiksilver Pro] images to be really inspiring with such fresh, unexpected, incorporation of the images and text. I just love the stuff he did. Really cool with quite an impact.

Above: BIG MAGAZINE Surf Issue that George and David previously collaborated on.

Location, location

GB: The NYC stuff was a no brainer as this is where I surf/live and the energy of the place and a lifetime of surfing was easy to filter into the work but the French stuff took a bit more research and "dreaming of destination" sort of process. In the end we wound up doing a traditional painting for the French pro event and it was another inspiring/unexpected turn as the direction wound up moving toward old travel posters from the region. It's really cool! Funny, I had to ask someone to show me exactly where the Spanish mountains would end on the horizon and the proper direction of the waves for the final painting! I can't wait to travel to the region someday and see how closely it lives up to my dreaming/painting/drawing of it.

Quiksilver Pro New York design explorations

Above are some explorations for the identity and typography, and below are just some of the collaborative explorations done for the design and art direction.

Introducing the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York

The Quiksilver Pro New York is the first-ever ASP World Title Race stop on the east coast of the United States and boasts an unprecedented $1million dollar prize purse. Quiksilver will be bringing a world-class roster of athletes to New York City for two weeks of demos, films, parties, music concerts and art exhibits that represent the best of surf, skate and snowboarding cultures.

Quiksilver Pro France design explorations

Above are some explorations for the identity and typography, and below are just some of the collaborative explorations done for the design and art direction.


We hope you liked the ideas presented here.

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