When you get a bunch of skilled manufacturing guys sitting around making longboards in their spare time using the latest wakeboard technology, something magical tends to happen. When the guys at the Slingshot manufacturing plant here in the Columbia Gorge asked if they could look into producing and selling skate longboards, little did they know how much of a success it would turn out to be. At that time the plant was nicknamed Moonshine Manufacturing, and it seemed like the perfect name to build a new product and company on. They were right.
We were called in early to help strategize and brand this new, secret concept they had in their pockets. The task was to create a brand strategy, marketing strategy, and of course bring in the design muscle. We spent a good amount of our time laying the groundwork for how a product called Moonshine, traditionally born from the hills of the south, could become a larger and age-blind brand. We did this by by focusing on a few key pieces.
The main thing we hit on was the raw, handmade feel that Moonshiners of the past had. We brought this sentiment to the brand imagery using backwoods sketches, raw carving illustrations, and handmade icons. These elements positioned the brand as approachable yet edgy. We really wanted to embrace the cool factor of what Moonshiners were. They create and distill from their own backyard, much like Moonshine Mfg. Representing this feel through the marketing strategy, branding pieces, as well as overall design direction gave birth to something very unique. It cut through the clutter in a growing longboard market. It is on-trend with teen and millennial longboarders, and captures the crossover between digital lives and real fashions.
It was a perfect union of raw and forward thinking. It matched the innovative products that have come out of the factory propping up Moonshine Mfg. to be a top innovation leader in this market. And the results have been stellar as Moonshine continues to double and perhaps triple their sales goals for the year.
Product & Direction
When setting out to design and brand the art for each of the incredible boards coming out of the factory, we decided to keep it raw again in concept. Each piece is designed to be an evolution of the brand. The Hooch was the first board out of the gate and needed an iconic look to set the tone for things to come. After that we carried the simple iconic feel into the Rum Runner using a Coil Snake motif, proving to be one of the most popular looks and boards of the line. From there we wanted to create a few boards that came from the minds of longboarders. Thankfully we were able to discover a new budding artist named Jon Sides through talking with many longboarders online. He literally created his first commercial artwork pieces for Moonshine. As we collaborated on concept and design, the results ended up being better than we could have hoped for as seen below with the Deer Design and Fire Water Art.
We will continue to create and help Moonshine Mfg. evolve the look and feel of future boards as the brand evolves through feedback and insight they gain, which we believe is the best way to tackle. Listen, adapt and create.
Special thanks to Lance Koudele for the great photography he threw down for Moonshine Mfg.