The Skateboard Mag
Scope: Creative Direction, Strategy, Design
Driven to reinvigorate skate media, Dave Swift and Grant Brittain founded The Skateboard Mag (TSM). After publishing 129 issues, TSM was acquired by The Berrics, a digital media outlet started by Steve Berra and Eric Koston. This union of digital and print inspired the transformation of TSM into coordinated concept issues that are coffee-table collectibles. To make this shift successful, they needed a new editorial strategy and complementary redesign that would lay the foundation for their future.
Issue 130 – Bridging the Digital Divide
Gritty and raw with a Hollywood influence, LA street culture embodies skateboarding’s ethos. To solidify TSM as the beacon of West Coast skating, Los Angeles was the first theme. The Berrics launched a social media campaign to deepen their digital connections. Using #SkateLosAngeles, their followers shared over 12,000 images and skate photographer Atiba Jefferson selected the best. These were then hand cut to create a mosaic of skate legend Guy Mariano, which he was photographed skating in front of for the issue.
Issue 131 – Escaping LA
The next step was to expand TSM’s influence worldwide. For Issue 131, TSM explored places where skateboarding is just starting. They traveled throughout China, Germany, South America, and the US to highlight the evolution of the sport. The cover features a candid shot of a 4-year-old Chinese child interacting with a skateboard for the first time. A twist on an ancient Chinese proverb about starting points, the blurb reads, “A journey of a thousand smiles begins with a single push.”
Issue 132 – The Best of Skateboarding
To ground TSM as an authentic voice in skateboarding, Issue 132 focuses on the love of the sport. Elevating their digital platform, The Berrics gathered reader’s votes on categories like the year’s Best Slam or Worst Wipeout. The cover is a type-driven, abstract representation of a skateboard, using names of people featured in the magazine. The type is distorted to represent the way a skate ramp bends upward. Throughout the issue, the design elements and colors reference the idea of the best.