Gundersen Motorsport was a longtime employer of my services for a lot of things, both with running their website, their vast webshop. Also, and perhaps most importantly, I had the sole responsibility for their marketing material. How their material should look, how it would evolve, and how it would be presented on their various platforms.
I was hired as a full time employee back in late 2014. The nicest way to describe their marketing at the time, is that it was very lackluster. It lacked creativity to a fault, and skillwise Id say there was no fundamental skill to be found in any manner. Case and point, my typical guidelines for making the marketing to begin with was «white background, black text», the most uninspiring thing you could possibly do as a graphic designer basically. This could be for one or two reasons. One, my store manager had no prior experience with photoshop and its capabilities, or two, he was blissfully ignorant of the fact that I had gone to a bit of school and worked with designing for at the time 2-3 years. even after seeing my CV…
So I started taking liberties, Motorsports is such a broad field, with so many things you can pull inspiration and clever marketing from, its pretty easy work really. Something as little as taking an action photo, blurring it to an extent, and putting text to it, that alone is easy to do. And its something I practiced a little later in my tenure with the company.
I took babysteps though. So for a starter, I went with the guidelines I was given. Even if that didn’t last too long. My store manager also had this odd thing/bad habbit that he felt his marketing needed to brag about what his products could do and what they had accomplished, that the competitors could/had not. This was and still is completely against my teaching in this field. Good marketing speaks objectively about your products, and makes no mention of the competitor, good or bad. But this guy was the one with the checkbook, which mattered for a while to start with.
This bragging minimalist approach didn’t make for very appealing marketing Though. it Was evident in the numbers we pulled on social media. No growth and hardly any likes and interaction, and so I started working on a more precise and consistent look to it, with sharp colors and motorsports-esque details.
For one thing I experimented with an approach where complementary contrasts took the high seat. The complementary contrast to orange (the companies’ main color) would be a deep blue, it makes the orange, pop more, and equally makes the blue pop. They complement each other very well. Aswell as blending a pattern of diagonal tightly spaced lines on the background to give it just a bit more life. This was the standard I stuck with for most of my second year with the company.
All of a sudden this was not as well received with my store manager. And so the marketing needed an overhaul.
The chequered flag is a recurring theme in motorsports, it signifies that its the end of the race, and your end goal is to be the first guy to cross the line, win the race essentially. so that’s something I wanted to use, but a chequered flag with just 90° up and down is dull, has been done before, and just the pattern on its own isn’t that appealing. so I curved it slightly, and made the white squares transparent, that way, I could for example place an action photo in the background. Even if i in most cases would opt for a gradient from light grey to dark grey. With big popping letters with an orange gradient overlay, which gave it a very warm, and active tone.
Admittedly i took inspiration from the Norwegian home electronics chain Expert for that branding. while i didnt outright plagiarize their theme, i certainly took inspiration from it.
Pirelli Rally Cup
One recurring project that i’m glad is thriving, is the Pirelli Rally «Cup» initiative, in essence. Rally is expensive as a motherf****r and only growing in prices. so the company, at the time being the only provider of Pirelli’s rally tyres in Norway. re-negotiated/restructured an existing deal with Pirelli into whats now the Pirelli Rally «Cup». i use that term very loosely, as there isn’t a cup element involved. There is no point system throughout the season to determine the best driver/Co-driver duo on Pirellis rubber. I was structuring that points system, however, i was told there wasn’t going to be a point system because they didn’t want the cup to actually be a cup.
its simply the name because the administration was adament that we call it that. I was against that decision once the actual cup element was taken away. However i had no say, because if i had a say, it would have been called a Pirelli Rally Bonusdeal, Which it is in essence and how it operates to this day. terms are simple, race on pirellis new or old, with one Pirelli sticker on each corner of the car, if you are the fastest in your class, you get a check that you can spend exclusively on more tyres at the store.
While the initial idea wasn’t mine, i wrote the majority of statutes, did the branding package, constructed the registration process, published the list of winners after events, and a lot of advertising to every rally-driver that stopped by. Im very glad its still being put to use and people are getting a chance to reduce their costs if only a little for rallies, Even if the process of getting the initiative up and running was a headache and a dozen heated arguments. (you’re welcome rallydrivers in Norway!)
In later times after my departure i understand the registration process and form i made has also been removed from the equation, and essentially all you have to do is show up on Pirelli tyres during a rally and you are automatically entered. My educated guess is they simply couldnt be fucked to maintain a list of their competitors, that piece of papers single purpose in life was to make it easy to keep tabs on who was racing on Pirellis, who was active, how many races they predicted they would race, and how to get a hold of them if they won. How the company goes about rewarding the drivers without this registry is quite frankly beyond me. But i digress.
Not only did I do the marketing, but I also had the privilege of drawing up custom racewear for customers that might want to buy or that ended up buying. Seeing my drawings come to life in a physical capacity like that, where not only would the various customers look as best as I could make them look, but in a situation of fire, the product could actually save their life.
Its propably the most rewarding work i’ve done at any stage of my career. People from all branches of motorsports, from starting at bare minimum to Norwegian champions picked up an interest and wanted to see what I could do to best capture their imagination. I have a couple particular favourites, like Betsafe edition for Eyvind Brynildsen in 2015 when he became Norwegian champion, or his current suits in their Coolbet yellow, black and red. I also did the suit design for the official Ford Dealer team in Norway, RS Motorsports design. Not only did i do their suits, but also their team logo that they still use to this day.
Honourable mentions in this category goes out to WRC driver Henning Solberg. It was a privilege to work with one of my childhood heroes, and that he put faith in me to do his sponsors justice on three occasions, and to make him visible out on the rally stages. the last one in particular i loved very much. As a designer, its a truly special feeling when you watch the opening stage of rally Sweden, and you see your work shine through the screen like a warning sign, and have the WRC commentators mention Hennings «beautiful new orange suits». That rally in 2018 is quite possibly my single proudest career moment.
Id be remiss if i didn’t mention Marius Bermingrud aswell, who for his 2018 suit, actually agreed to have my logo on his sleeve. So on his green, i believe righthand sleeve, you see the Kings Eyes Logo. Stoked on that too! But i digress.
In april 2018 I gave my notice, and ended my working relationship with the firm, for various reasons. Main reason was to pursue studies, but looming among the reasons I also will mention is that it became very clear what my worth was, and it was staggeringly low in comparison to my actual worth. for that, I dont see myself and this firm doing business again. Hence no link to their website or social medias.
This is not intended as a smear job. But in its totality, working with this firm was what genuinely made me realize that I value myself and my future more than just getting by, that I want to focus on other things, I want to pursue my own projects, have control over my own creative endeavours, all 24 hours of my day, and to pursue happiness. It also what inspired me to go study in Winchester, one of best universities Britain has on offer. where i’m thriving and getting high praise from lecturers, scholars and tutors for my work, instead of back handed compliments, headaches and half the compensation i should have had. (Literally half the value)
Effectively, I was right in my decision, and Gundersen Motorsport dont know what they have lost out on in me. Thats the feather in my cap.