• Design & Storytelling

Background

Imagine Surf is a lifestyle brand that has harnessed the organic growth of the paddle sports community. For what is now a highly recognizable brand in the marine sports industry, their evolution began as mere participants in the sport. A pure passion for surf and paddle sports drive them ahead as legendary watermen and women are drawn to Imagine Surf’s nucleus of adventurous spirits. All of whom lend a wealth of experience and knowledge to an ever expansive array of product. Imagine Surf was founded in 2006 by a handful of surfers and paddlers that imagined living a lifestyle of fun and adventure. They imagined dawn patrol surfs and sunset bonfires. Epic river trips with friends and fun coastal runs with family, exciting fishing missions and crossing the finishing line in front. Escaping the grind and filling their weeks with daily escape. So they used their imagination and dreamed big! Those dreams came true and Imagine has now grown to be one of the most fun, authentic, and exciting paddleboard brands on the market. They are constantly inspired by this amazing sport and humbled at how it changes lives.

Dave battles through the rigors while training his newest crew of ocean going adventure seekers.

Defining the Audience

Imagine Surf's reach spans well beyond their familiar audience of niche-sport enthusiasts. Dave Kalama (Imagine Surf's brand ambassador and front-man), provides an example of their expansive target via a series of clinics dubbed "Kalama Kamps" in which Dave provides a baseline of fundamentals from technique to best practices in fitness and safety on Imagine Surf products. What has proven evident is how Imagine Surf's product offering appeals to a broad range of consumers from all walks of life.

Words to Inspire.

At the core of the brand is a nucleus of like minded enthusiasts. Born into the sport through their passion, and encouraged by their ongoing dedication to teach, inspire and share their love for the sport with others. This messaging was infused into the brand at every level. We positioned the brand around a centralized driver and brand mantra, “We Make Paddleboarders.”

Content Production

A single image may say it all, but don't forget — someone has to be there to hold the camera. Escape to a paradise one can only Imagine until it is staring back at you through a lens as it jumps off the page of your favorite magazine, or better yet — surrounds your senses as you round the next bend. A rarified experience captured in time and channeled toward a world of readied adventurers.

Brand Identity

Early into product cycle a rebranding effort was underway. We began with symbolism and messaging that exemplifies their passion for the water and dedication to a community of fun and adventure seekers like themselves. Using a bold logo mark and playful typography, their Brand ID was reborn.

  • Bridging the gap between social strategy and eCommerce

Engaging the User

In collaboration with Imagine Surf, we have tailored their online presence to one that defines their culture. Interfacing with the user through social platforms, promoting ambassasdor programs, and expanding the reach of their audience to drive eCommerce initiatives.

Developing Digital Styles & Brand Standards

Anticipating design trends in emerging markets is a critcal part of the design process while maintaining consistency with the brand's historic ID and colorways. Selecting product and action imagery that relays the adventurous spirit and technical nature of the brand underscores our development of a minimalist graphic styling that excentuates the lifestyle.

Responsive Design

Easing navigation while elevating the touch experience for mobile devices proved imperative once a preliminary audit of Imagine Surf's online portals was complete. Replacing the less sophisticated roll-out menus with a large responsive mega-menu maximize hit areas for usability. The addition of large buttons and swipe gestures to the UI promote a simple and efficient user experience.

Culture & Lifestyle

Appreciation for its community and the passion instilled in those that share their enthusiasm, is what defines the culture and lifestyle of the Imagine Surf brand. We share that history and appreciation front and center. Immersive video highlighting the essence of Imagine Surf’s past and present is coupled with social and promotional content, along with direct links to product details and additional media.

Contextual Storytelling

The heart and soul of the brand is their Imagine Family. As individuals, they are driven by a sense of adventure. Together, they are dedicated to the ongoing development of the brand. As participants, they use Imagine Surf product in a variety of environments and to obtain specific goals. Creating a direct connection between the individual, the product, and its use is a key driver in escalating a path to purchase.

Intuitive UI

Imagine Surf’s social strategies and an ever expansive audience has encouraged them to develop a robust eCommerce platform. With thoughtfull interaction and consideration of eCommerce best practices, we are streamlining the informational eCatalog to facilitate a seemless shopping experience.

Product Presentation

Unique products demand a unique and intuitve presentation. Action, origination, usability and features are highlighted in a concise display of imagery and content. Engaging the user with most relevant details needed to make an informed purchase.

  • Visual Identity.

Nostalgia

The origins of paddle boarding and Imagine Surf's deep-rooted history with surfing is foundational to the company's culture. Although it is only a niche segment of the brand's target audience, excluding it in their marketing initiatives would mean denying their authenticity in part and isolating themselves from a core group of valued opinion leaders. This series of surf-centric ads portray the nostalgia and simplicity of the sport's soulful beginnings.

Marine

A budding portion of the brand's focus are the parallels in play between the Paddle Board and Marine Industries. Higher price-points and a typically affluent consumer base demand elegance and simplicity in design. Cool color palettes and familiar settings reinforce the character and lifestyle most appealing to this audience.

Outdoor Adventure

The spontaneity and excitement longed for by travel and destination lovers is depicted here with their Seek. Find. Unwind. campaign. The Earth's bold, vibrant color palette serves as a backdrop to the daring explorer's journey as captured through the lens of Imagine Surf's brilliant photographers.

Youth Culture

The oft-optioned youth segment of the market is easily dismissed. Appealing to the uncertain nature of this audiences psyche is challenging at best. The grace and tumult simultaneously on display here is one certainty bound to garner their attention. Vivid imagery overlaid by playful typography, messaging consistent with the brand's story, and an over-sized logo mark — tells a story of vitality and spirit not often associated with the sport.

Takeaways

This is one of the rare instances where design imitates life. My personal history and passion for marine sports and outdoor lifestyle influence much of our design direction. Our team of ambassadors and content creators capture all of the incredible imagery we use in our campaigns.

Maximizing sales through channel partners with advertising and promotional support in such a segmented industry is an incredible undertaking. My experience in brand management and as a retail buyer lends a unique perspective to the strategy and brand building practices utilized in developing these campaigns. As a designer, attributing a human element that evokes an emotional response is criticle in shaping a consumer's path to purchase.

"Keeping it simple" — in terms of creating an elevated shopping experience for the user, means you can usually expect a less than simple process in development. In this case, the front-end User Interface (UI) is intuitive and engaging. As we move ahead toward the launch of this new eCommerce platform, the Imagine Surf team has eased the development process by providing explicit detail and an elightened perspective of their well informed consumer audience. A sure-fire formula to producing a first-rate consumer experience.

Garrett Scotti / Designer