US sport kite graphics.
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While I don't mean to rub the wrong way, I understand that I run the risk of doing just that.  The intention here is constructive criticism.  I have never made a sail layout, but looking through the kites that are on the market, it strikes me that US kite makers really do not have the eye for design that their European counterparts do.

I want to buy a US kite.  I really do enjoy the way many US kites fly.   For example, I love the flight characteristics of Jon Trennepohl's kites.  At the same time, the designer in me needs a kite to please the eye as well as the hands holding the lines. 

It really has kept me from buying many of the US kites.  I wonder to what degree this effects the sale over all for US kite companies.  It certainly would be a boost to the sport if people where out in the fields and beaches with gorgeous kites on the lines, it just makes the whole experience of flying all the more pleasing and satisfying.

Flying a nearly all black, garishly loud, or kite that looks like it got attacked with a marker and ruler is not appealing.

I know this is a tight community.  That many here are close friends with these kite makers.  I have a great deal of respect for that, and I am so grateful that people are out there making kites, you lucky dogs!  I just think it is time to make an adjustment in how the final product look is arrived at.

What could be done differently?   

How does R-Sky and L'Atelier generally come out with one good looking kite after the next?  Kitehouse puts out a good looking kite, and Level One has some simple, but attractive kites.  Tim Benson is kind of understated, but they are handsome.  There is also a newer crop of small builders in the UK that are putting out great looking kites.   

Many of Kmac's kites are pretty, and the Qpro is a sleek looking model.  We can look back and see the gorgeous Illusion, and there are other US classics.  But when we look at today's offerings, the E3, Zephyr, Stock Widow Maker, Ocius, Solus, pretty much anything SkyDog, New Tech, the Kymera, Premier.  These are not handsome or pretty kites.  Some more so then others.

There is the old saying that there is no arguing with taste.  The idea that visual ascetic is simply a relative, or a personal thing.  There certainly is some truth to that.  But generally, I see that there is room for improvement, and I think this improvement would make the sport stronger, which is good for these companies as well.

Do kite makers solely design these kites without input from visual artists?  If so, it seems like there is room for a little collaboration here.  Sail layout, length of spreaders, type of knocks, should be in the hands of those who understand what makes a kite work.  But there is room for allowing for input from people who really do understand the skill of visual design.  A sail layout can be tweaked slightly without destroying what the builder has intended.  I'm not going to go into color harmony, but goodness sakes.

So yeah, I don't believe that quality of flight and visual ascetic are mutually exclusive.  I think European kite makers have demonstrated this.  There is the boutique vs. big company mind set, and maybe there is a problem here.  But if a group of little guys can do it, there is no reason that a few of the big guys cannot, I don't think anyway. 

What do you think? 
What could be done differently in production process to help make our US kites look better, or great even?

A hard topic as this is a small community, no one wants to hurt anyone's feelings.  But there is a pink elephant in the room here, and if talking about it makes flyers more interested, and companies more sales, then it is a win win conversation.


I like a simple clean looking skin.....sometimes panels and reinforcements are due to the engineered design and are necessary....
I have made requests of kite makers for super simple versions of their designs...heck..why not...i am paying for it already...but then again i have never purchased a Lam kite....I guess that he holds all creative aspects of his kites over you.....

there is a thread over at The Other Place™ you might want to check out (keep a barf bag handy though!)
To me beauty is in the eye of the beholder . I think my Benson inner space was To be nice, homely. I love the look of the kites I own and they probably fall into the category of those you do not. I started flying only about 7 or so years ago so maybe that effects my tastes. I do not really like pretty stunt kites.. SLK's on the other hand are a hole different art form for me.. Pretty is nice
PS Rob got in before me so I will add that I Llike my Fearless a lot
Regards, Kurt
I held a contest years ago to find a kite with a shape and panel layout that "everyone" thought

was attractive. Every kite was thought ugly by someone.

To me, none of the R-Sky kites look attractive, except the Opium.
They're not ugly, just plain. The Nirvana falls into that category too. Plain.

Personally, I find Kitehouse to make ugly kites. Just me.

I always tell people when they can't decide on a kite, "Just buy the one

you think looks the best."

Maybe you should ask what kites people find attractive.

I'll go do it for you.  :)
John Welden:
I pretty much can't stand straight leading edge kites. I don't care if they fly better.  I'm totally ruled by my design aesthetic. It's a curse and a blessing.

American's generally have awful taste compared to Western Europeans.  I'm not surprised they're putting out more nice looking kites.  I don't know what it is about America that we have to mostly design absolute garbage. It really bothers me.  American automobile design is horrid.
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