Hades Skateboards I hold quite close to me. It was my original dive into graphic design and branding. This was the very first company I started back in 2005. Hades Skateboards started with a napkin drawing while ponied up at a bar and hanging out with some friends in Lake Tahoe. Printing companies couldn't print the images I had came up with and hand drawn on paper, I needed digital files to print my designs, so I went to the community college in South Lake Tahoe (LTCC) to learn the Adobe Creative Suite (CS2 at the time) and bring my ideas to fruition. Hades Skateboards taught me quite a bit in the field of design and branding. I still get quite a few people at the skatepark who remember this brand and the logo, even though the company only lasted until 2011. It had a great run, I met a lot of amazing people, and Hades launched my career into graphic design and visual identity branding.
Scope of Work:
Branding and Identity Design
Graphic Design for Skateboards & Apparel
Catalog and Brochure Layout
I wanted to reflect an image to skaters that this was a skateboard company reminiscent of the attitude of skateboard companies back in the 80's and early 90's. Skateboarding was punk rock with a DIY attitude, it was underground, alternative lifestyle. With Hades, I wanted to bring back the darker side of skateboard graphics that companies such as Alva, Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta and so many others did in that era. Back then, Skateboarding used a lot of skulls, zombies, dragons and edgier types of imagery on the boards and in the late 90's through the early 2000's, when I launched Hades, skate graphics started getting a bit more "tame" if you will. Companies like Alien Workshop, Plan B, Blind and Element had gotten away from that style and relied heavier in simple style logo graphics on their boards. I wanted to give skaters something that when you first saw the logo, you knew this wasn't going to be a light hearted skate company, but rather reflected a more hard-core edge. I wanted the people who would buy my line of skate products to be into punk rock, heavy metal, and dark clothes, hoodlums that partied like there was no tomorrow....and that is exactly what happened.
The graphics were such a fun part of developing this company, I knew that if Hades was to be a success, that the designs would have to stand off the wall of boards at any skateshop that carries the Hades brand. I wanted to have imagery that catered to my demographic, I knew this wasn't going to be a company for just anyone, it was going to be a company for my people. The reception went really well and skateshop owners loved the brand and how I was pulling energy from the 80's style and bringing that look back to the skate wall. In the midst of other companies that had a more family friendly feel, Hades stood out the the sore thumb I wanted it to be.
At the time, I had no formal training in graphic design, Hades Skateboards had a definite DIY (Do It Yourself) mentality to it. I wanted the magazine ads to reflect a certain "cut and paste" feel, my design style for this company stood out in the skateboard industry as I was winging it and flying by the seat of my pants. I took ads out in Lowcard, Thrasher and Concussion skateboard magazines and it seemed to work, the response was great, so I just kept running with it. The demise of Hades came at the expense of the economy falling and skate shops tightened their budgets and only continued to carry some of the larger, more established brands like Element, Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta, etc. This was a fun company to run and it gave me a lot of the tools that I still use today in my design style. Who knows, maybe one day I'll get it back up and running again.