This week we were to bring our concepts to ‘life’ and exhibit them at the Market Gallery in the Town centre of Huddersfield. Our concept has so many aspects to it, that we were unable to produce the content in the small amount of space that we were given. So, when considering this, we needed to select the biggest and best parts of the empty shop project that we have created together as a group.
Our idea was to project our ‘skateboarding’ cultural concept as a whole, with bringing the finger skating aspect, to engage any possible customers or professionals, perfectly describing what we would want to achieve. Using social concept of the exhibition itself, definitely helps the ideologies of our store, but also the interactive sectors for our shop. So, to bring all of our ideas together as a whole, we were able to present our website, with products we have designed, info-graphics with the ideas of spaces we could use.
This was an amazing opportunity for us as a group, to see the possible interests we could get from this concept, if it were to be made outside of our academic careers. During the exhibition we received feedback from a gentleman, giving us some good insights in to what we could change about our exhibition as a whole and the marketing in general. For instance, he mentioned the idea of us collaborating with another group for the designing of our proposed t-shirts. He also proposed that he had a space we could introduce our skateboarding park, which had mass amounts of space. This fills us with confidence that our ideologies would work in outside of University.
I was in charge of curating the website which would show: the products we would hypothetically sell, have any updates that we have upcoming, provide any information about the store and its finders, and also have any contacts details and links to other social media accounts. This is something I have done for my own professional photographic account, so I was able to make a page that would suit the themes we have chosen, but also advertise our concept.
I did this on Wix, and firstly made two separate templates for website ideas, so the group could decide what was preferable. They chose the site I made that had the colour scheme yellow and grey/black, which started our vibrant and fun scheme for the rest of any marketing and curation of products.
These are both websites, that we kept for a little while so that we could make sure we were certain on the correct one, but once the original came together it was certain that was the one we wanted to use, and that suit our concept perfectly.
In a way to advertise ourselves, products and the amenities we will provide for those interested in our banding, we have decided to create a social media account, solely on Instagram. I made this because, I believe this is one of the most popular and accessible social media platforms, particularly basing this on our target audience of teens and young adults. It is also easier to base your post on certain themes such as: #skateboarding or #emptyshopproject, which could either group new projects together, or if it is a popular hashtag then it is easier to find the images you post. Image based social media was better, because, our branding is very vibrant and attractive for the audience, so therefore, it becomes much more appealing, but also gets more people interested.
Doing this we have already had interest by people liking our images, but also messages from people who are interested in helping us promote our branding to individuals outside of the UK. This is an excellent way to look at who would be interested with our images, posters, scheming and the branding itself.
To establish ourselves and a theme throughout, using other skateboarding influences is very important. An influence for our website in particular has come from that of Ideal Skate, in Birmingham, being one of the first Skateboarding shops to open in the UK, and being open for the last 25 years, it has a lot of aspects that helps us in discovering what would be useful for our own store and website. An easy negotiable website is key, when advertising a skateboarding shop/branding, and this is something Ideal has. Using bold visuals, links back to the theme of skateboarding, and everything hits the nail on the head of what we expect our marketing to be like.
Having a blog, shop and collaborative brands all on one website, makes for a much more enticing establishment. For future developments of our practice, it would be interesting to have a collaborative blog between the group, where we can showcase our design work, or any events as such that may be happening in the store. With this being a store in Huddersfield, and somewhere, where their isn’t much activity for skateboarders, it could bring more of an interest, and with adding the blog into this as well.
Not only this, but the website gives am insight in to the artwork on the skateboards, which is a really good aspect to add on to the website. It gives us an idea of the aspects individuals would be on board with, but also the prices given for the products they sell through their website.
When marketing our branding and shop, we need to come up with coherent themes for the colour, imagery and typography, we need to make sure us as a group have the same scheme for ideas surrounding this. With branding that looks at skateboarding and skating we wanted to create a bold selection of colours to come across all of the marketing, so that our products, website and posters stand out, with the theme in mind.
We have chosen one bold colour, and two subtle colours, this will foreground our colour choice. We have gone for a yellow, ‘Rise and Shine’ for our acknowledging colour, this is both aesthetically pleasing but also symbolises the skateboarding theme we have in our store.
Below is a mood board of the colour scheme we preferred to use throughout each aspect of marketing:
I initially began looking at earthly and natural colours, which is where the yellow has come from. Colours such as: browns, greens and reds, to coincide with the urban atmosphere created with skateboarding. However the bold yellow contributes to the urbanisation of skateboarding as well, as I felt this links well with the artistic side, with the mix of graffiti and drawing. Here is a moodboard of the natural colours I looked at, all of which bring boldness to the ESP we have created.
With research for possible locations, it was important to us that we improved the state of skateboarding in Huddersfield, and making sure skateboarders have somewhere to go.
One of the reasons behind this is the lack of space for those who enjoy the sport, resulting in them using the multi-story carpark next to the markets in Huddersfield. Although, this weekly meet up, is council sponsored, it would be wise to say that there could be better spots for these individuals to go. And as mentioned in the Examiner article, street skating in particular leaves pavements and walkways with cracked stone. Which is why there is the alternative event put on for skateboarders in Queensgate carpark.
Although the article expresses the illegality of street skating, it is still something that happens in todays society, and using an already existing building to use as the safe-space for skaters is incredibly helpful.
We have together decided that the Old Co-Operative building is perfect for a skateboarding location and store built-in one. Using a building that was previously a shopping store, and also a night club, seems fitting particularly because of the run down interior. The section we wanted to use for this is the rooftop, which could be graffitied and spray painted by the individuals. Giving them that unique experience.
The issues we do have for this is that the building is beginning to be listed as a renovation for student accommodation, and as a group of students, we do however feel that this is not a wise decision. We feel that there are enough student homes in Huddersfield, and using our concept for this building, would benefit students, young people, and residents of the area. The sense of community between student and residents is not particularly there, and something such as this would bring morality into Huddersfield.
One of the aspects during group meetings that we have wanted to be open-minded around, was the inclusion of disabilities in the store. Because, we have chosen a subject and idea surrounding sports and skateboarding, this leaves a gap for those with inabilities to get involved in these sports, this is why research into what technology using VR or gaming could be used in our store is important. This way we can think of ways to prevent this market from being excluded from the store we have in mind.
So looking at ‘Ability Net’ they have found several pieces of technology that can be considered when creating an environment that has Virtual Reality aspects. So for those with hard of hearing, can use advanced gloves that have sensory aspects, with the ability of transferring sign language in to text or speech, this will enable them to communicate with the game better, particularly when communicating with other characters in specific games or activities using VR technology. Not only this but as Ability Net have said, it also breaks down the barrier of miscommunication between those who cannot speak, and those who cannot understand BSL. ‘SignAloud’.
Mobility would be a huge aspect for us to look at, because of it being such an active sport. Ability Net has researched in to this aspect, and the simulation of VR, and something they have mentioned is the simulation of skateboarding, this would be particularly important to look at including for our store.
Although Ability Net discovers the advantages and disadvantages of specific aspects of VR for individuals with disabilities, Embrace The Life, Virtual Reality, provide the possibilities for individuals with inabilities to be able to still play sports.
As the only female involved in this group project, I want to enable that I establish the marketing tools that will advertise itself to not only the male population, but also females too. Obviously, our project will be based in Huddersfield, therefore I need to establish ways that advertisements and social media based marketing will influence females as well as males. One aspect I have noticed in particular with the fashion aspects of the skateboarding brands, there is a large population of females that sport the branding, but do not take part in the sport. As part of our business model I would be interested in finding out more, as to why individuals may or may not be interested in getting involved, and if this would change if there were a new way to skate.
Organisations such as Skate Like a Girl: encourage and empower women to express their abilities with skating, and they suggest that skateboarding is a vehicle to build an individuals confidence, but also ‘foster community’, an important aspect of our manifesto when curating our store throughout the Empty Shop Project. Having aspects such as skating lessons for 12 year olds and under, is an interesting contribution to building communities throughout, particularly as this is teaching younger individuals, but also bringing them together to do something that they enjoy. To say that only women join this organisation would be unfair, however it allows people of all genders, ethnicities and ages to join something that is valued something social, and fun.
These community values and ways of working are detrimental to look towards, when creating our own experience based store, as we want individuals to believe is doesn’t matter their abilities or any other contributions that stop a person from doing something they want.
Their are many popular aspects that come from skating and it’s fashion. The unique branding surrounding this has been around for decades, and particularly seen from the 60s, as i-D mentions that it began with striped t-shirts, originating from sailors. Bringing the essence of borrowed fashion, however making it successful and trendy.
The separation between skaters themselves and the fashion which advertises itself towards this, are completely different. ‘Vans’ is a prime suspect of being part of the skating culture, both sponsoring rock festivals, and providing new shoe trends, however, the brand also caters itself towards the skaters inside all of us. Being such a diverse brand, Vans is worn by several generations, and even though the typical white Vans, was a thing of the past, the trends towards skating fashion has been a huge hit in the 20th century, and are much more successful for Vans.
Branding such as Thrasher, HUF, RIPNDIP and Nike, follow a similar network of basing themselves around this industry as well. Not only this, but the fashion that revolves the skating brand, has expenses that are high, so then has the separate market of the higher class individuals, despite the sport itself being a more grounded and typically lower-class sport, because of it’s in-heritage.
In a creative collaborative group, I believe I am going to find it difficult when introducing my own creative abilities and contributions, particularly as I feel that over the course of this project, there will be more work and contributions available from the rest of the group (who are all graphic designers). This is because of the marketing and advertising of the shop, is more subjected to graphic design students, rather than myself as a photographer. However, I aim to push myself that little bit further, and find ways I can contribute to my strengths, for instance: website building. I feel being the only female gives me a bit of a push to ensure I create something that will also appeal to females, otherwise it will not fit as a project that I have contributed too. However, the subject we have picked does appeal directly to all genders, sexes and age groups.