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Author Topic: US sport kite graphics.  (Read 1512 times)
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jimstl
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« on: June 21, 2013, 08:54 AM »

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.




Best

« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 08:58 AM by jimstl » Logged
thief
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« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2013, 09:08 AM »

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!)
 
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Kites kayaks & corgis again!!!
ko
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2013, 09:16 AM »

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
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have fun kurt
chilese
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2013, 10:22 AM »

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.  Smiley
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John Welden
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2013, 05:27 PM »

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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Tmadz
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2013, 06:22 PM »

I cringe at the use of the word "garbage". If they're not attractive designs, but fly great, then I would prefer "Unattractive". I love how the WM flies, but not too inspired by the sail design. I understand there may be design requirements that preclude a completely different sail look, but the niche market probably prevents professional designers (looks, not flight) from working with the small design houses. Unless we get tommy bahama into kites.
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Ca Ike
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2013, 10:52 PM »

Can of worms nuked lol.  Its surprising that of al the kites i fly its my Solus, widowNG(premier JT kite), Zephyr, and eclipse that get the most compliments on looks.  In the fun fly group people are drawn to the WM when they are up and pretty much any BMK.  Out of Tims kites it my gemini that gets oohs and ahhs for looks but R-sky kites get a "meh".  I find its not so much the layout but the color combo that people like.  For example, my old citrus Zephyr not to many liked but my Venom zeph people just loved.  IF you want a JT kite just find a color combo you like for the layout.  I've seen some kites that don't even look the same because of how the colors were done.
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alien
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2013, 01:53 AM »

Jimstl,
yep,panel layouts and colours of the current era buy and fly kites are so generically boring!
I look at my latest buys and wish they at least had the old style panel layouts,I guess thats why the old kites ask for the same price as a new kite or an even higher price?
I somehow cant see a 2013 Hypnotist or E3 (examples only) in mint condition being worth much or any kite collector hunting them down in future,but then again what would i know.
 I like your old stuff better than your new stuff ,Mr Big Kite makers.
PS:This in no way reflects negatives to performance or build quality!
« Last Edit: June 22, 2013, 05:44 AM by alien » Logged
adx1592
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2013, 04:14 AM »

Going off of what anthony said, heres one of the only examples in my bag
I didnt like the legs on a WM either really, so I combined two of the legs and the top Panel, which left a purple striped "M" on the kite. It suits what I look for graphically much more then the 3 legs.
Skyburner WidowMaker UL
« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 07:17 AM by adx1592 » Logged

-Devin Cobleigh-Morrison
alien
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2013, 05:52 AM »

Hot Flying ADX,,,, Cool
love that kite.... Tongue
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indigo_wolf
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2013, 05:55 PM »

there is a thread over at The Other Place™ you might want to check out (keep a barf bag handy though!)
 


Some things can't be unseen.  Huh

ATB,
Sam
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photogbill
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2013, 06:40 PM »

...
American's generally have awful taste compared to Western Europeans. .....  American automobile design is horrid.


Yeah ...I see what you mean > > >


and who could forget this vintage 'beauty' > > >

As opposed to this American 'turd' > > >
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jimstl
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2013, 06:50 PM »

apple meet orange.
Your post is like saying that this proves something,

US



EU



It's simply not a meaningful comparison.

« Last Edit: June 23, 2013, 07:31 PM by jimstl » Logged
Ca Ike
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2013, 08:47 PM »

apple meet orange.
Your post is like saying that this proves something,

US



EU

Frankly neither are the generalizations you originally made.  What is art to one may be trash to another.  Plain and simple, if you don't like it don't buy it.  I like lams kites for how they fly but I won't buy one because the graphics don't appeal to me.

It's simply not a meaningful comparison.


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jimstl
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2013, 09:48 AM »

Quote from: Ca Ike link=topic=9908.msg88597#msg88597



Frankly neither are the generalizations you originally made.  What is art to one may be trash to another.  Plain and simple, if you don't like it don't buy it.  I like lams kites for how they fly but I won't buy one because the graphics don't appeal to me.

If someone took the time to post photos of the current kites on the market, say in the $200 to $400 price range, and you allowed the kiting community to anonymously to give a 1 thru 5 star rating based on the models appearance, my assertions would be shown to be true.

As I said in my original post, taste is a personal thing, of course.
Some people don't like the Beatles,
Some/few people think that a 1957 Corvette is ugly,  but the vast majority of people will disagree with that.  It is not an absolute, it is about percentages.  I will assert that the majority of kite flyers would rate US kites as less aesthetically appealing then their competition.  If kite makers took notice of this, and took steps to remedy it, we would have a stronger market for US kite makers, which I think is a good thing for all.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2013, 03:52 PM by jimstl » Logged
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