Cool skateboard designs have been around ever since the beginning. Skateboarding emerged during the 1940s and 50s when Californian surfers began applying wheels to their boards for surfing on land when there were no breaks on the ocean. Over the decades since then, as skateboarding techniques, design and culture has evolved and grown in popularity, so too has the artwork that adorns their undersides.
The lozenge shape of a skateboard, and the accommodation of wheels and trucks, provides a unique ‘canvas’ with it’s specific constraints of shape and size. This format gives a unique surface on which artists, designers and illustrators can create designs. There are many recurrent motifs in skateboard art and culture, but also an enormous variety of experimentation with every kind of visual style possible to be found in skateboard deck designs.
This post brings together 20 examples of awesome skateboard decks showing a range of different styles – many of these artworks would be more art home on the wall of gallery than enduring Ollies, flip tricks, grinds and slides on sidewalks, skateparks and half pipe ramps.
1. Supreme Skateboards by John Baldessari
American conceptual artist John Baldessari is best known for his pictures that juxtapose found photography, appropriated images and text. Baldessari created these three skateboard deck designs in collaboration with Supreme, employing simple, bold colour schemes and a quirky photographic nose motif.
2. The City of a Monster by Bryan Allen Collins
Florida-based artist Bryan Allen Collins hand painted this surrealist deck design for the Montana Skateboard Association for an auction to raise money for the organisation’s projects to promote skating and build skateparks in and around Montana.
3. Hand Painted Sugar Skull Skate by Colm O’Connor
Artist, designer and illustrator Colm O’Connor painted this unique design on a high quality Canadian Maple wood deck. O’Connor works across a range of media including tattoo design, a field of art reflected in the deck’s sugar skull and rose petal imagery.
4. Wood Morning Decks by artendrju
A selection of four brightly coloured, psychedelic and slightly freaky skateboard deck designs from graphic artist artendrju.
5. Skateboard by Den Kazakov
Kazakh image maker and designer Den Kazakov created this cool deck design using a vector graphic waveform and attractive turquoise and lemon yellow colour scheme.
6. Exit Eden Skateboard Graphics by James Jean
Born in Taiwan and currently living and working in Los Angeles, artist James Jean works across a range of visual media including distinctively styled paintings and drawings which he exhibits across USA. Giant Robot commissioned Jean to create this triple deck design to celebrate the magazine’s 15th anniversary. His creation, entitled Exit Eden, was released at Comic Con in San Diego in a limited edition run of 150.
7. Skateboard for Popdeck by The Hermit Design
UK artist Arthur Smit works under the name of The Hermit Design, producing eccentric graphics with an individual style. Here he applies his oddball characters to an awesome deck design.
8. Animal Farm Skateboard by Reelphine
This skateboard deck design uses imagery from Animal Farm, George Orwell’s classic allegorical tale of Stalinist totalitarianism set in an English farmyard. On the topside of the deck is the novel’s central phrase, ‘All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.’
9. Fierce Skateboard by Luis Diaz
Luis Diaz hand painted this stunning deck design for the Loaded Deck Skateboard Show at ALT Space in Coconut Grove, Miami.
10. Skateboard Deck by Jeremy Worst
Atlanta-based artist Jeremy Worst produced this amazing skateboard design, hand painted in acrylic and paint marker. The design is a great combination of graffiti style lettering and Mexican sugar skulls.
11. Skateboard Anatomy by Jason Freeny
New York artist Jason Freeny produces a bewildering range of artworks exploring anatomy, including sculpture revealing the innards of Lego men, Kewpie Dolls and Nintendo’s Mario. He also creates a variety of graphic work such as this eye-popping deck design.
12. One Love Skateboard Oakland by Wardell Brown
Graphic artist Wardell Brown created this cool deck design representing the hip-hop and lowrider culture of his hometown Oakland, California. Brown designed the deck for One Love Skateboards.
13. HoboKitten Skatedeck by Jeremy James
Digital artist Jeremy James created this skateboard deck design for his brother and provided two colour scheme options, both equally cool.
14. Skateboard Design by Michael Hanauer
German graphic designer Michael Hanauer produced this elegant vector-based design in a selection of three colour schemes.
15. Angry Birds Skateboard Designs by Titnendo
Titnedo’s triple skateboard deck design features characters from the immensely popular mobile game app Angry Birds including the iconic wingless multi-coloured birds and one of their enemies, a green pig.
16. Skateboard Designs by Trevor Truscott
Artist Trevor Truscot produced these four design concepts for a commission from Am I Daemon. The expertly rendered black and white imagery is at once sinister and extremely cool.
17. Skateboard Designs by Silke Werzinger
Silke Werzinger is a German graphic designer who specialises in editorial design and illustration, with a distinctive style and technique using ballpoint pens to create absolutely stunning drawings. Best known for her work in magazines, Werziner has also applied her graphics to other fields including skateboard design, such as these fine examples with brilliant pen drawings of retro technology.
18. Skateboard Paintings by Victoria Viray
These beautiful board designs are from Dubai-based artist Victoria Viray, employing her trademark imagery and exceptionally fine finish.
19. Skateboard Design by Borja Bonaque
Spanish illustrator and designer Borja Bonaque is inspired by the geometric shapes and pure lines of the urban landscape, as demonstrated in these exquisite examples of skateboard art.
20. Zoo York Deck Designs by Damien Correll and Mike Perry
Finally, this collection of awesome deck designs is from Brooklyn-based design collective Makeset, which is a partnership between designers Damien Correll and Mike Perry. The duo created these skateboard designs for the Zoo York Institute. The decks’ astonishing graphics feature familiar landmarks and neighbourhoods of New York including Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Flatiron District, Coney Island, and Chrysler Building.
These, along with the other examples we have seen, show how skateboard deck design is an ever evolving art form, a field that allows artists, designers, illustrators and all kinds of visual creatives to unleash their imagination.
About the author
James is a writer and blogger who works for a small British company called Cartridge Save, which deals with things like toner for Samsung printers. You can find James working hard on the company blog and is highly interested in things like design, internet culture and social media.