Trio Hardgoods
By Mitchell Krapfl
Trio is a winter sports brand focused on saving our winters!
Trio Hardgoods
by Mitchell Krapfl
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All I knew when I started this process is that I wanted to work with winter sports. It is something that I am personally very passionate about. People in the industry get to make really cool stuff and I knew I wanted to be a part of that. 

I initially decided on a winter-sports based nonprofit that would fight climate change through design. This is an issue that hits close to home for me as well as other people who love the outdoors. Higher temperatures mean less snow and that not only impacts the planet, but also a huge industry. I do not want to see our winters disappear any time soon.

One thing I stumbled upon right away was the issue of money. My initial model was to create a non-profit organization that would have the sole purpose of supporting winter-saving projects. For me to believe in the project it had to be realistic, and my initial model didn’t seem like something that could survive in the real world. I ended up changing to a for-profit company and it made a lot more sense. This way I could focus on creating a product that could rival the best in the business and still be able to give back to these projects. Given the propensity of the customer base within the winter sports market to be environmentally conscious I believe that this was the right move.

The main issue I saw in the industry was the wasteful methods that are used to create the gear we use. It seemed like a good place to start and I decided that I could do it better. My research consisted of looking into the current juggernauts of the industry as well as nonprofits. Protect Our Winters is a wonderful group that does some amazing work and they would be the primary beneficiary of our charitable donations. 


Name generation technique

First things first, I need a name for this company. After some deliberation and brainstorming I landed on the name Trio. I felt it captured the essence of the brand I was going to create. I came across this name through using a moodboard-esque process that I often use to generate ideas. I use a random word generator and a thesaurus until I find something that feels like a sticky enough idea to turn into something cool.

From there I began sketching and generating ideas from a logo. The concept of three peaks seemed to fit the idea that the brand stood behind and it was the nature of the brand to have that included in the logo. I added hardgoods as the tagline because it kept the concept open enough for me to do what I wanted but people familiar with the subject matter would understand what the business was about.


Digital Logo Sketches

Final Logo


The designed content I settled on was a pair of skis and a small publication that would serve as a product spec sheet. The ski design would include a topsheet design applied to a repurposed pair of my own old skis. The production sheet would have to come after the skis were completed as it would have to contain images of the finished product. A large part of my product design sheet was gathering the technical information that would make my design a viable product that could be sold in the marketplace.


The new topsheet design I created for my skis was about creating something that skiers would like to ride. The concept behind the design was that the rider would have the peak in front of them and the valley behind them. It is something of a simple narrative gesture that intended to inspire hope for the future. Conceptually speaking, the nature of the topsheet was meant to symbolize what lay beneath in the inner workings. As well as hint at the production methods that make my ski superior to the others on the market.

New Topsheet Design


It is worth noting that this was no normal semester. Not being able to work put a halt to my plans of getting a physical pair made as the supplies and printing were too expensive. So a Photoshop rendering would have to do.The pandemic also through a wrench into my timeline. I had to, in a sense, start over on this part and create these skis in a way that I could have already been doing. Despite these hardships, the skis will be completed as soon as I have some disposable income to my name.


The spec sheet was the most important part of my project as far as design goes. The layout and typography of my brand would be showcased here and could make or break my whole capstone.I started with some sketches that helped me nail down the exact layout that the information would be laid out in. The nature of s publication that is highlighting an idea or a product is such that these things should speak for themselves. In this mindset I wanted to have a lot of image-heavy pages and let the text guide the viewer through the more technical parts of the design.


A big lesson I learned throughout this project was that money dictates a lot. I always knew my limits with previous projects concerning my budget, but this was the first time I made a commitment several months long that needed funding. Even if there was no coronavirus, I still would have been pinching pennies to get my stuff done. I will be continuing this project in the future. There is still a lot that I want to get done and I think it will be a great portfolio piece. The lessons I learned in product design as well as layout and typography are certain to stick with me for years to come!

Mitchell Krapfl was repsonsible for posting the content on this page. Any inqueries should be directed to the contact information listed above.