Christmas of 2005 saw my older brother get a set of Union snowboard bindings. The brand was new, the bindings were white, and the box was orange. At that point I was a teenager and cared about little outside of snowboarding. I knew nothing about “design,” and yet, found myself enchanted by that box—never before had packaging spoken to me in such a way. I couldn’t throw it away, and wouldn’t let my brother either. And so, though obsolete and empty aside from an odd manual and some spare bolts, that box sat in the garage for years, high up on shelf where everyone could see it.
Now a decade later and I find myself holding a new book with the same color treatment and that same Union logo on the cover. The book is Pretty Much Everything, a mid-career survey of work produced by graphic designer Aaron James Draplin, the very man behind the brand aesthetics of Union bindings, and just about every other brand in snowboarding worth remembering.
If you’re not familiar with Draplin, you should be. He’s a big SOB with an equally big personality from Portland, Oregon with a treasure trove of hugely influential work under his belt. He's founded brands and made already existing ones better. Everything from Ford, Esquire, Nike, and Burton to Field Notes, even The Obama Administration. As his first book, Pretty Much Everything dives into his design work for these brands and many more. It also follows his life from childhood through to the founding of Draplin Design Co. in 2004, with notable stops including a stint as a carnie, art director of Snowboarder Magazine and founding Snowboard mag, as well as having a hand in launching Nixon. As the pages turn, it's really incredible to see just how many legendary brands were touched by the man.
There’s also a bunch of interviews, stories, inspiration bits, design sketches and loads of nostalgia inducing design ephemera, of course. Rather than go on further we’ll simply end with: GO BUY THE BOOK