By: Lisa Slagle, Founder & Creative Director
What does this mean for creativity within the outdoor industry?
It means we get to go outside and draw.
We’ve had more and more companies (even bigger companies) surprise us by requesting hand-drawn artwork for their apparel, package design, and newsfeeds.
It turns out that consumers like to see the pencil smudges and imperfect line work that the human hand produces when drawing in the field with real art supplies on real paper.
We later bring our drawings into computer programs to add typography and logos, but there is something refreshingly genuine about sitting outside and drawing. It’s gritty, less polished, and a bit messy, just like our adventures.
Instead of shiny, perfect lines that we digitally draw on a gridded artboard in a computer, we get to show the human element of an actual handcrafted piece of art. It’s easier to connect with as a consumer. It feels way more personal, approachable, and relatable. We predict that this design trend will only increase for the next few years because consumers are indeed sick of the illusion of perfection.
Digital drawing, of course, still has its place in the creative industry— it always will— only now we get the opportunity to use our clients’ products to physically get to a location and draw in the field, relying again on skills and intuition and less on commercialism. The overlap is beautiful.
We utilize this strategy for our clients’ social accounts, too. We’ve been capturing less polished images, more dirt, more pain, more shitty campfire meals and less novelty. Social engagement rates are wildly increasing across our accounts. We always keep in mind there is a difference between celebrating mediocrity and celebrating imperfection— quality is still paramount. Professionalism can’t be cast aside in the name of grit. We still bring the nice cameras and mind our framing and lighting.
There is a parallel in the heart of the adventurer and the mind of the artist. A lot of times, artists are afraid to publish what isn’t perfect. So instead, they publish nothing, paralyzed by fear of imperfection. Nothing will ever be perfect. From a painting to a backpacking trip to a line down a ridge on a mountain bike. Don’t fear imperfection. People connect with flaws. You don’t have to look like a model while you’re pulling chunks of skin off your blistered heels.
In the outdoor industry, we have been collectively putting the mouse down, and going outside to explore our creativity. Something about the journey being the destination.