milk3.jpgWho is Milk? You probably think you don’t know him at all…but you’re wrong! Michael ‘Milk’ Kuszla is the man behind most of the brand identity from A snowboards (RIP) and today APO snowboards.
He has been around for ten years, marking the snowboard industry with his designs and graphics. At BrOADER, we wanted to discover this other side of the snowboard industry.

So if you are an up and coming graphic designer interested in working for a snowboard brand, or simply fond of the artistic expression of snowboarding, you’ll enjoy reading this one!

Hey Milk! Could you tell us briefly about yourself : where you come from, how old you are, what is your background…

Well, I’m Milk (Michael), and I’m 29 years old. I live both in Grenoble (French Alps) and Geneva (Switzerland), so I’m both a Frenchy and a Swiss!
I’m graphic artist and designer since 10 years. I drew before knowing to walk. I work as graphic artist, graphic designer and webdesigner for APO Snowboards, and I’m also freelance graphic artist and art director (snowboard unity magazine, Family Of Friends, …).

How did you get involved in the snowboard industry?

When I was 16 and at school, I wanted to start my own company or work in the surf/snow/sk8 industry. When I turned 18, my project of end of study impressed a brand: A Snowboards. It was unbelievable!
I started to work for them for free the evening and the weekends, along side my official work. Like that I met a lot of people on events (like ISPO, SIA), the evenings and parties, art battles…plurality of people is enriching!!

So you have a long term relationship with A snowboards and now Apo. What have you been doing for these brands? Are you behind the whole brand identities? Which boards have you designed? With which rider have you worked?

Yes…It’s a long long story. 10years. Well, I started by designing a website, and then any designs for catalogs, tees, caps.
Now, I work on the whole brand identity : catalog, poster, stickers, wear, website, event designs, ads…and also boards and bindings designs.
For example : the Talent or the Expresso Darkmilk bindings. For boards and bindings I work both with riders and engineers. I’ve worked (as on the next Dark Milk) with many APO riders like Friedl Kolar, Yannick Amevet, Baptiste Prost, Vivien Dotti, Eman Robert, Axel Pauporte…

Milk even designed himself his own board!

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We met on the Apo Forum. Are you the official webmaster of Apo? In which direction is the Apo website going in terms of functionality and ‘customer experience’?

Yeah, i’m the official webdesigner… And often it’s hard to combine the priority jobs (catalogs, ads, poster, boards, bindings, relationship, etc…) and the website. This year, our website will be simple and effective, but should evolve to a website completely dedicated to the riders so that they rather adapt the website like places of exchange than a pure window for the brand.

Besides Apo what are your current other projects?

I have many many others projects…I work as a freelance in many domains : Art director of Snowboard Unity a new french Magazine; I worked for la Plagne or Serre-Chevalier resorts, for their communication; I work also for skipass or any brand which needs my services.
I’m also involved in an association for the security in the mountain and the respect of it. We organize avalanche awareness courses for example. The association is called The Family Of Friends, and was created by Sam Rochet.
Otherwise when I have time, I take my pencils or my camera to make images…Wow.

milk_venus.jpgAs an artist from where does your inspiration come from?

Inspiration… It comes above all from people I meet, the cultures, the images…For me it’s about being openminded and curious on the outside world and the others.
Afterwards, it is certain, the way of thinking or the perception of the things is different from one individual to another, and you can become an artist or a physician…I was really bad in physics… Hu hu hu.

Which advice would you give to young talented people who want to find a job as a designer in the snowboard industry? Is it very hard?

It’s hard… Yes, and no. It requires a lot of motivation, a total commitment, and many sacrifices. If doesn’t pick up immediately, you need to fight and continue and unceasingly invest ourself…But what is enriching in it, is that you do not need to be ‘married’ with such or such brand, you have the possibility of creating almost ad infinitum and for a whole community, not just a brand.
So if you can do a day with 12 hours of work, it’s for you dude 😉

Finally do you get to ride a lot?

You must know that people from the snowboard industry ride less compared to the public. But it is important to take time off for riding. It’s 14 years that I ride, and I would not like to stop because of the job!

We always ask our guest their opinion about our blog. As a designer, what is our opinion about the look and feel of http://www.snowbroader.eu? Do you like our logos?

I love your blog, honestly! I think that it’s both serious and fun. The blog looks really pro and has all the good infos. The choice of the colors and the font is brilliant. I find the whole coherent, and quite different from what is done in this moment. So congratulations!
I think that there is a good idea in the logo, but it is not enough “readable”.

Thanks a lot Milk! Do you have a final big up?

Thanks. Big ups, yes : to all my friends, my girlfriend, my mountains, all who want to work in this industry… And Big Up to you boys! Ah Yeah baby!

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