We are proud to share a project we recently worked on with our old friends at Burton – the rebranding of the Burton Learn To Ride program. At its core, the goal of Burton Learn To Ride is to introduce more people to snowboarding and spur growth of the sport. This exhaustive global initiative includes education and instruction programs, rental and retail products, branded experiences, camps, and terrain at hundreds of resorts and shops throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.
What at first glance might seem a purely aesthetic exercise was originally founded on a thorough investigation into language and brand architecture. The Burton Learn To Ride program was a long-standing, successful effort executed on multiple continents, but with growth (and time) had come significant confusion. Years of programs, products, and lexicon had evolved both inside and outside the company; Learn To Ride included products branded as Learn To Ride, LTR, Progress Your Ride, Progression, etc. There was also more advanced equipment, programs, and parks referenced under Progress Your Ride, Stash, and others. There were Riglet programs for toddler riders, programs for women, teens, and more. And all of these things, though part of the Learn To Ride universe, were all collectively, officially, branded under the banner of Experience Snowboarding.
Working intimately with the team at Burton, Ocupop was able to distill the expansive Experience Snowboarding ecosystem down to a foundation of Burton Learn to Ride programs, product, and places, all focused on learning to ride. That is, whether you’re first strapping in or you’re adding a second or third cork to your spins, you can always learn to ride better – and Burton Learn To Ride programs, products, and places are available at every step of the way. Examples of products are boards, boots, bindings, helmets, etc., programs might be instructor courses, teen and women camps, product demos, and resort rental offerings; places include toddler Riglet parts, Burton Learn To Ride beginner to advanced terrain parks, branded natural terrain, and beyond. Additionally, for each of these elements there exists a broad audience from beginner to expert riders and it is vital that ‘learn’ does not imply just rudimentary levels of advancement, but covers improvement at all levels of riding. To this end, we established the augmented brand of Burton Learn To Ride+ for higher level programs, products, and places.
With this clearly defined taxonomy in place, our team moved ahead to create a visual identity that represented the initiative and its mission to reach and instruct current and future snowboarders all over the world. The identity had to visually convey instruction, levels of skill, and snowboarding in general while being globally and universally recognizable.
Our initial explorations coalesced into this, the first fully developed concept.
We then took the richest part of the above concept—the mountains—and shaped them into a mark that better conveyed the messages the identity needed to project. Using representative terrain, we were able to simultaneously convey the three parts of the Burton Learn To Ride universe (programs, products, and places) along with the beginner, intermediate, expert continuum therein. The entire team at Ocupop and Burton appreciated the ‘whole mountain’ experience this logo provides – opening up possibilities for learning everywhere from the bunny slope to park booters to the backcountry.
Our final product. The angles of the lines suggest not only mountains and snowboarding, but skill levels and the challenges therein. Closer inspection reveals detail in an otherwise straightforward mark: the clean, rounded edges of what appear to be sharp lines, the common vanishing point shared between all three lines, the balance and natural ratio of the lines within the space.
We then began the work of connecting this new mark to the existing Burton identity. Burton uses three distinct wordmarks, and despite the strength and widespread recognition of the existing material, none of them were a perfect fit for the mark we developed.
Since we had been working on ideas inspired by classic iconography, we explored the idea of a type treatment based on traditional brush lettering. Talking to the client, we mutually agreed on developing a unique Burton wordmark for the program.
The progression of the Learn To Ride wordmark development, inspired by our original brush lettering and the Small Caps style of Underware’s Bello typeface.
Building on a combination of ideas in the wordmark, the Burton wordmark also incorporated the geometry and proportions of H&FJ’s Gotham typeface to emphasize the strength of the brand name and fit better rhythmically with the program wordmark.
And finally, the final color lockups of the updated brand, in vertical and horizontal format.
This was an awesome project with an incredible group of people involved – and it was all executed quickly and efficiently. We could have never done it without inspired support from internal stewards at Burton. As always, we are eternally grateful for the wonderful people we get to work with on a daily basis…you know who you are, THANK YOU!