“I wanted to be a doctor, but my father forced me to follow the family footsteps into art.”

Patrick Dunne and I share a laugh as he quips about the cliché of family and careers; “Yeah, I wanted to be a doctor,” he tells me, “but my father forced me to follow the family footsteps into art.” Coming from a long bloodline of creatives, Patrick was raised in an environment that actively encouraged his creativity. Following in the footsteps of both his grandma and father who both attended art schools, he headed east out of LA to one of the states’ most prestigious art schools to get his design degree at the Rhode Island School of Design. 20 years on, as the lead graphic designer for boards, kites and accessories at Cabrinha Kiteboarding, he scratches his head as to somehow, as an adult, he has finally landed the dream job of his youth, designing graphics within the action sports industry.

When asked about his commercial work for Cabrinha, he confesses: “I definitely pour my soul into it as much as I can; the most fun products to design are the twin tips because the boards are basically a blank canvas with different materials and a variety of methods of printing.” One of his biggest challenges is nailing each board while maintaining a consistency across the board line as well as the brand. “You want someone to look at a twin tip and have it relate to the surfboards, the kites and the control systems. You’ve got to stay on message with the brand, yet you want each board to be strong individually.”

While twin tips come closest to his childhood dream of designing skateboard graphics, Patrick finds that kite graphics are the most challenging. The task of designing kites can be very limited, constrained by the manufacturing process and cost. “The function or the style of the kite is typically irrelevant, it’s about creating a visual design that jumps out at you, something that looks good in the sky.” Patrick is well versed in the visual challenges of designing for how the kite looks at different distances; how it looks on the beach, in the air overhead and a half mile out to sea. “Use of color is really important; you have to know what materials look like in the sun, what screens will look like when back lit versus front lit. While some people like technical designs and some like super crazy colors, you can’t design for one particular fan. You’ve got to design what looks good and what’s right for the brand,” he says… To read the full article become a subscriber of Tkb Magazine.

Tkb’s spring 2019 digital issue is available now. The print issue will be landing in mailboxes soon!
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