How to Custom Graphics: Part 1 (Vector Art)

by Wagner Skis / Feb 01, 2023

You've decided to do a custom graphic for your skis, but now what? While some people see this as an immense opportunity for creativity, others find it overwhelming and don’t know where to start. This is the first of five articles helping you hone in on places, avenues, and ideas to find and kick-start your creativity. 

Let's talk about vector art. 


What are "vector" graphics? 

Vector graphics are drawings, illustrations, shapes, or patterns made on a computer that are inherently resizeable and editable. 

Bomber from Wagner Custom Skis
Built entirely from vector artwork this ski immortalizes the nose art of WW2 airplanes.

Why We Love Vector Art
Because the shapes, lines, and colors are “mathematically” drawn on a computer, vector art can be made larger, smaller, and/or easily manipulated to have your favorite colors or additions. We love working with vector art because our graphics team can resize them to fit your skis with no back-and-forth about whether they’re high enough resolution or have gotten blurry.  

Tide Chart from Wagner Custom Skis
Because the artwork for this nautical chart is entirely vector, we could zoom in as far as we wanted on this ski.

Using vector art also makes it easy to add or take away elements from a design. If you want to add a bird to your mountain scene—or make an aspen tree a pine—vector art allows those changes in a few clicks of the mouse. 

How to Source Vector Art
Most stock sites have options to select vector art, and our designers are good at “building” vector scenes. When looking for vector art, focus less on the color or sizing of the art, but rather the subject, shapes, and flow; then let your Wagner Custom Graphics Designer know how you’d like them to manipulate the art. Some examples:

San Joaquin from Wagner Custom Skis
San Joaquin from the House collection.
Story Time from Wagner Custom Skis
Because this graphic is entirely vector-based, we could move characters to fit the ski area.
Julia Ions Paintbrush for Wagner Custom Skis
Julia Ion's entire collection, as well as Monsieur Z's, is vector-based.

Overall design tips

1) K.I.S.S (Keep it simple skiers!) 
This is self explanatory. Simple, pointed designs almost always turn out better than complex, busy designs. 

2) Remember the shape! 
Wagner’s Graphic Guru Heather Baltzley always says “I can tell you a thousand ways to lay art onto a popsicle stick” and she’s not kidding. Skis are long and skinny with a middle portion that is covered when being used. That means vertical image or sideways panoramas work well. 

3) Don’t be afraid to be abstract. 
People generally see skis from at least 5 feet away, which is a great opportunity to be abstract with your designs. Some of our favorite skis are color blocked skis with texture:

Halftone-Bluebird graphic from Wagner Custom Skis
Halftone, from the House Series of Wagner's graphics collection.

To start your custom journey, click here.

To jump to other articles in the series:

How to Custom Graphics: Part 2 (Wood Veneers)
How to Custom Graphics: Part 3 (Original and Existing Art)
How to Custom Graphics: Part 4 (Photography)
How to Custom Graphics: Part 5 (Putting It All Together)


Article by Tatiana Armstrong

Tatiana Armstrong is a former in-house graphic designer at Wagner Custom Skis. She has been a sucker for skiing since she was in the womb, and will do whatever it takes to get some untracked turns. 


Start your custom skis journey with Wagner Custom Skis