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Warrior Goalie - How a Graphic is Born


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Warrior Goalie - How a Graphic is Born


For my money, Warrior consistently has some of the best stock graphics in the industry. It started the day they signed legendary designer Pete Smith and appears to have continued through the teaser pics of the new G4. The reason that I’m a fan of Warrior’s aesthetics' is that they have the unique ability to make a graphic clean, eye catching, and also match with nearly any jersey. With some of the other players in the industry, I feel like their graphics are geared toward a modern jersey or a classic kit, but very few can both ways. Warrior can do that.


Based on the feedback of the #GoalieCrowd, Warrior was nice enough to explain how they come up with their designs. . . 

1.    How long does it take to pick a stock graphic

The process of selecting a stock graphic is definitely something that doesn’t happen overnight.  It begins with general discussions about our recent graphics and any concepts we might pursue for the next design.  From there our designer, Neal Watts, generates mock ups using Vector Graphics software.  We’ll then discuss what we like about each mock up and how we can consolidate the things we like into one graphic.  This stage in the process can be repeated multiple times.  Once we’ve got something we like Neal will tape the graphic onto a prototype so we can review the graphic in a hands on way.  This is where we take a step back and consider how it will look on a goaltender in their stance, butterfly and other various angles during movements.  If a graphic passes the test at this stage it gets locked in as the final stock graphic.


2.    How many designs are considered

It really depends.  Initially we will evaluate around ten designs.  In the proceeding discussion rounds that follow three to five more variations might be created.

3.    What type of person and/or what type of professional training has the designer been through? Like who is the designer?

Neal Watts is our lead graphic designer.  His background consists of a major in Fine Arts at the University of Guelph.  Pete’s background consists of over 30 years in designing goal equipment going back to 1986.  My input comes from traveling all across the globe and talking with goalies on a daily basis about our past, current and future graphics.


4.    How important is, if at all, to keep congruity with previous graphics

It’s very important to us to keep our graphics timeless and easy to match with team uniforms.  Whether it is the sleeves of a team jersey or a team sock, we try to incorporate a graphic that can be easily matched with any team striping configuration.  Ultimately, goalies want to look unique in the net, but they also want to look like they’re part of the team.  We feel our graphics do just that.  Since the Ritual G3 our graphics have consisted of diagonal lines that can be easily matched up with a team uniform. 


5.    How much do you feel graphics influence the retail sales

Graphics definitely play a part but not as much as performance, innovation and durability.  We understand goaltending equipment is a big investment.  At the end of the day if your gear is not durable, doesn’t slide well and is heavy you won’t play your best regardless of how nice the graphic looks. 

6.    How important is the graphic in the actual pad design process

For Warrior Goalie it’s really two separate processes.  Pad design is first and foremost the highest priority in developing new equipment.  Improving upon previous models and pushing the limits of performance driven innovation comes first.  From there we design a graphic that fits with our philosophy of pad graphics but also accentuates the features on the equipment.


7.    Are you looking at digital printing

We used printing on some of the early Warrior goalie product lines.  We were never really happy with the results.  However, we’re open to using it again but it’s not a priority.

8.    What do you think the future of graphics holds

It’s hard to predict but the market currently has a lot to offer.  You can go complicated, minimalist, classic, custom and now printed.   There doesn’t seem to be a lack of options for goalies these days.


9.    How much influence does Pete have over graphics choices

Pete is our Category Manager and influences everything we do.

10.  Do your pro goalies have influence over the graphics 

We take feedback from everyone.  For example, we have over 30 professional goalies in Europe who wear our equipment.  Many of these goaltenders have to wear advertisements over nearly the entire face of their equipment.  With this in mind we still would like people to identify the gear as Warrior gear.  Going back to the Ritual G2 line we offered our Euro Graphic and we still incorporate aspects from that in our gear today.  Our graphics wrap over the outer roll and onto the outer gusset and post wedge so Warrior is clearly seen and the graphic is still recognizable.  Below is an image of Stefan Vajs – DEL 2 League MVP and Goalie of the Year 2016-17 Season ((Photo Cred: @lahrfotografie))


11.  Have you looked at functional graphics (White area to enhance the 5 hole would be an example)

It’s something that we have in mind during our graphic design process but is not a focal point.  We make the graphic versatile so someone designing a custom set can manipulate the  appearance to create a deceptive look for shooters to be lured into. 

13. Ever think about releasing a classic Smith or earlier Warrior graphic as a special edition? 

It’s been discussed before but it’s unlikely we will do it in the future.  Like our equipment designs, our graphics improve each year.  As a brand we are always looking ahead for ways to make each new line lighter, slide faster and perform better.  There’s no looking back.


Thanks again to Kirk for opening the cupboards and sharing this info with us. It's pretty fascinating to learn the origin of the Euro graphic and how functional it is from a marketing standpoint. Stay tuned for more info on the G4 and I fully expect this graphic to live up to the strong lineage of its predecessors


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Very cool read. Gotta say, the majority of your interviews/pieces are well done. Thanks for the excellent leg work being content to this site.

For the Euro graphic, I always thought it was common knowledge that is what it's purpose was. Maybe I read that on the old GSBB. But it's something that I've noticed with their pads (G2 to G4/RGT) is that they like to keep the main pad face graphic free.

Perhaps that's due to their larger pro following being overseas?

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