There are exactly 26 days left to submit a design for helmet art for the 2015 Nutcase Unframed campaign.

So we thought we’d talk about the process for artists who create Unframed Artists’ Series art.

The first step is imagination – yours, and distilling one essential art idea onto the helmet template we have provided.

Artwork from the 2014 Unframed artists.

Initial concepts from the 2014 Unframed artists.

The next step is ours – we gather the submissions after the November 30 deadline and print them all out, and so begins a lengthy judging exercise which requires many hours, many coffees, and a pizza or two.

When we’ve narrowed down to the finalists, our judging panel makes the final call, and one or several winning artists are chosen. We then collaborate with the artist on a final design, which may or may not hew closely to the template entry.

Unframed Art 2

Last summers Unframed art fitted into helmet templates.

Working back and forth, our graphics and design master David Kruger and the artist tweak the artwork to conform to the spherical shapes of our helmets, making sure that all the critical details will be correctly aligned for the helmet decal application process.

Usually for artwork that completely covers a helmet, as in Sandra Ramirez’ Locombia helmet, this means three decals – as shown in the graphic above – that must precisely fit together like puzzle pieces. But at times there can be more pieces to fit together.

Once the final design is approved by the artist and our team, we begin helmet production. And then it is the anticipation and excitement of opening a box of helmets and seeing the artist’s work and vision ready to ride away on a happy head.

Locombia (left), Boogie (middle), and Cloud Nine (right).

Locombia (left), Boogie (middle), and Cloud Nine (right).

This process takes a few months, culminating in the Eurobike show in Germany and the Interbike show in Las Vegas, where we officially debut the new Artists’ Series helmets and they are seen by a wide swath of the bikey world.

So, time to get cranking!