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Summit County designer’s talents go global

JULIE SUTOR
summit daily news
Juli Watson of Silverthorne is shown with a pair of skis from Head's women's 2010-2011 line that she designed the graphics for. They were on display at the SIA Snow Show in Denver Thursday through Sunday.
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SUMMIT COUNTY – Wildernest resident Juli Watson seemed dwarfed Friday afternoon by the chaos of hundreds of stalls at the Colorado Convention Center, overflowing with next season’s goggles, jackets, ski pants, snowboards, skis, bindings and hats. Though small in stature, the petite 29-year-old designer was making a very big name for herself in the ski industry and the design profession.

Watson attended the Snowsports Industries America trade show in Denver over the weekend to witness the unveiling of her artistic talents on next year’s line of Head’s women’s skis, for which she designed all the graphics. Retail buyers buzzed in and out of the Head booth, making orders that will send Watson’s designs to ski shops around the globe next September.

“It blows my mind and kind of freaks me out to know they will be everywhere, all over the world,” Watson said. “That’s a huge new step for me.”

Watson, who studied art and design at Pennsylvania State University, broke through on the regional level several years ago. She has worked as a graphic designer at the Summit Daily News for almost two years, and Head has hired her as a freelancer to snap photos and create posters and promotional pieces for events and campaigns in the Rockies.

About a year ago, she heard through the grapevine that Head wasn’t too happy with the graphics coming in for the 2010-2011 women’s line.

“I took it upon myself to create some designs and send them in. They really liked them, so we went from there,” Watson said.

She submitted five different concepts, from which the company chose one. That basic design served as a jumping-off point for a four-month process of fine-tuning.

“There was a lot of going back and forth. They sent it to their people in Austria, they sent drafts of the graphics to the women athletes they sponsor, and they gave a lot of feedback. There are a lot of hands in the pie,” Watson said.

What started out as wiry sketches of trees ended up as a boisterous jumble of swirls, ribbons, flowers and fronds. The final design appears in a different color scheme for each of a half-dozen models of skis.

“My aesthetic for the whole thing was a cluttered flow. I would play around with 30 designs to get one. And the whole time, you’re just hoping people like it every time you hit that send-button.”

Watson isn’t taking any time off to bask in her new-found success on the global design stage. She already has some ideas in the works for the 2011-2012 line.

“Having an eye for color and composition is a gift. If I don’t use it, I feel guilty. Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing. If I’m just sitting at home on the couch, I feel like I should be doing something creative.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or jsutor@summitdaily.com.


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