A Few Minutes With Graphic Designer Kristopher Werner
Earlier this year at the Twisted Timbers Media Day, we met graphic designer Kristopher Werner. In addition to his logo work with both Koaster Kids and Coaster Studios, Kris has also created some great Kings Island-inspired art with his “Coaster Posters” modeled after Vortex and The Racer. Kris was kind enough to give us a few minutes of his time, because we wanted to learn a little more about his background, inspirations, and just how he got into roller coaster related graphic design.
Coaster101: How did you first get into graphic design?
Kris Werner: I first got into art (in general) when I was in Elementary school. From there, it grew into a passion; I started getting more serious when I was in High School. It was my art teacher Ms. Morrison who really helped push me to help grow my talents. I was into comic book style art, drawing race cars, airplanes, etc. I went to Finneytown High School in Cincinnati, OH. It wasn’t until I went to college (at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College) that I heard about the Graphic Information Technology program, and got into Graphic Design. There, I learned about the Printing process and Pre-Press. This really appealed to me and I spent the last 11 years in the printing industry; I’ve been doing everything from Graphic Design to Digital Press Operation to finishing work.
Coaster101: What’s your personal history with amusement parks?
KW: My passion for Amusement Parks comes from going to Kings Island (starting at a very young age). Every Summer, my family and I would go to the park, watch the shows, ride the coasters… I just fell in love with it – it was a great family bonding experience! As I got older, my brother Ryan and I went to the park more often, and it was a great chance for the two of us to hang out. So, I guess you could say my love of amusement parks comes from family!
Coaster101: What’s the most rewarding thing about creating your work?
KW: The most rewarding thing that comes from my art/graphic design is the look on peoples faces when they see the design, or they got that print in the mail and see for the first time. I’ve gotten messages from some great fans, and that’s very rewarding. To see the smiles on those customers’ faces reminds me that what I do.It’s comfirmation that all the time and effort, in the end, is worth it!
Coaster101: On the flip side, what’s the most challenging aspect about graphic design?
KW: The most challenging thing about art/design is coming up with new and fresh ideas. It’s working within fast turnaround times to meet deadlines, and keeping up with technology. I am always having to teach myself new and more efficient ways of doing things to stay competitive within the industry.
Coaster101: You’ve created two pretty unique coaster prints with Racer and Vortex. Where did the inspiration for those come from?
KW: My inspiration for creating the Coaster prints comes from photos that I take. I like to take action shots of the rides at different and unique angles. When I look at the ride in motion, I go into it thinking how it looks on paper, and how it would look as a poster…the kind that the enthusiast would enjoy.
Coaster101: What do you use to create your designs?
KW: The programs I use to create my designs are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Autodesk Sketchbook, and I have used Blender 3D modeling program for some features as well. (I have self-taught my self to use Illustrator, Sketchbook and Blender.)
Coaster101: How did you get involved with Koaster Kids and Coaster Studios?
KW: Logan’s Father and I have been friends for a number of years. He has been a mentor of mine for business and life, and I owe him a huge gratitude for a lot of my success so far…I cant thank him enough for that. He’s been a huge part of my life. 3 years ago, when Koaster Kids began, Jeff asked me to design the Koaster Kids logo for a YouTube channel. Logan was starting to help kids overcome their fears and face challenges in their life. As you know, Logan was diagnosed with Autism. That’s where the, “Be Brave Challenges,” come from. Kids and adults alike send in videos to the Koaster Kids YouTube channel, showing themselves overcoming their fears; Whether it be riding a ride or talking to a complete stranger (and doing a nice deed), the channel really has become a great outlet to show people how you can treat others. I am so happy to be a part of it – it has brought me a lot of joy knowing I am part of such a great organization.
I met Taylor Bybee through Koaster Kids, and he was impressed with my artistic work. He then asked me to redesign the Coaster Studios Logo, which we unveiled last year to his followers at Holiday World.
Coaster101: You’ve also done some work for Team BK Racing of the NASCAR Monster Energy series. How’d that come about?
KW: I got involved through the Creative Services Director, Richard Claveloux. He started following me on Instagram, (@dc2designs) and I met him at Kentucky Speedway when I went to help do a live screen printing event for Arnar Clothing and National Screen Print and Promo. He and I started talking about NASCAR, design and family. Before he left to go back to BK Racing’s team hauler for their team meeting, we exchanged contact information, and I told him if he ever needed any help, just let me know. A couple weeks later, before the Michigan race, I got an email asking if I would be interested in designing a hero card for the Driver Brett Moffitt (and sponsor, Northwestern Technological Institute). I had 2 days to design the front and back of the Hero Card. From there, it went to the printers on a Monday, shipped out on a Tuesday, and ended up at Northwestern Technological Institute on Wednesday (for Brett Moffitt’s autograph session). It was definitely the fastest turnaround time I have ever had for a design job. I have always wanted to work in NASCAR…it was a dream come true. Not many people get to achieve their dreams, but here I was working in the world of NASCAR…and it was amazing!
Coaster101: How do you describe your personal style when it comes to the “Coaster Posters?”
KW: I chose to go realistic (instead of abstract or minimalist) because I wanted to differentiate myself from the other artists who have done amusement park prints before. Josh Reichlin from Made To Thrill (who is an amazing designer and super nice guy) has that abstract and minimalist style, and I didn’t want to get labeled as someone who was trying to copy that.
Secondly, I love the look of realism art. I am one that respects other artists – their time and effort. I just hope one day I can be admired and respected as he is. I like realism; it’s a challenge for me…with each new piece comes something different. I like to give each coaster their own life, per say. The Vortex had storm and lightning elements to it, while the Racer was set on a racetrack with an Indy-car style, look and feel. I call it “Photo Finish.”
Coaster101: We love the Racer and Vortex posters. Can you tell us what’s next?
KW: I do have more planned. I don’t like show my hand before its finished, but I can say that people will be impressed by its size and speed.
Coaster101: We know you’re a coaster enthusiast. What’s your favorite roller coaster, at any park, anywhere in the world?
I don’t have just one so I will categorize them for you. My favorite wooden coaster is The Beast at Kings Island. My favorite hyper is Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point. My favorite invert is Afterburn at Carowinds, and my Favorite Giga is Fury 325 at Carowinds.
Coaster101: Anything else you’d like our readers to know?
I’d like to thank my parents and brother for all the support they have given me over the years through high school and college. My friends Zeke Kimberlin, Jackie Sanchez Duval, and Josh Bruce for the support they have given me to push my talent forward (they are amazing friends the kind of friends that are once in a lifetime). I’d also like to leave the readers with one of my favorite inspirational quotes; “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams
Thanks again to Kris for his time. You can find him at the information below. Coaster101.com Readers can save 15% in his online store with the code COASTER101.
Online Store: www.coasterposters.com