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The Winning Design with Stephen Micioni: The Reaction Diffusion Waterproof Hoody



We sat down with Stephen, the creator of the winning design from our Design Your Own Waterproof Hoody Contest, to find out more about him and the unique aspect of his design.

This contest was an open call to all artists, photographers and open minds for a chance to create their very own 686 Waterproof Hoody. Stephen's design caught the eye of the 686 athletes as the winner. 

From Concept:

To Creation:

The Reaction Diffusion Waterproof Hoody. Available Now!

So Stephen, can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you're from? 

I am from New Jersey shore; I grew up surfing in the spring-summer & snowboarding in the fall-winter. I fell in love with snowboarding. It helped me make my decision to attend Plymouth State, where I could also pursue some sort of career. Really all I wanted to do was snowboard as much as possible. After school, I hung around Colorado for a winter season and then moved back east to start working in New York City. Now I am living and working as a Graphic Designer in New York, where I have been for about 7 years. 

Can you tell us a bit more about your background with art and design? 

I have been drawing and painting since I was young. I never took it too seriously but I always had an innate desire to create and make stuff. If I wasn’t getting yelled at for stealing my dad’s tools, I was hanging out with friends using paint makers or spray-painting t-shirts. I ended business classes and majored in Marketing which I always found interesting. It was only after I graduated, I started to take design seriously, and for the most part, I am entirely self-taught. I used to tell people I could do something and then I would search tutorials and make sure I could learn as quickly as possible. 

What did you think when you first saw the Drop Your Design Contest? 

My first thought was that it was a super cool opportunity to potentially create something for a brand I have been behind for years. 

So, did you already own 686 products? If so, how long have you been a customer of the brand? 

Yep! You can catch me riding my bike around New York in my Anything Pants or Everywhere Shorts. Over the years I have owned countless hoodies and underlayers. My current snowboard jacket rotation consists of two 686 jackets! 

What were some of the things you wanted to accomplish when you were thinking about what to create for your design? 

When I first started, I really wanted to create something that people would wear, and that I would wear. The main goal was to have a kind of "wtf is this" moment turn into an "oh that’s cool" when you look at the overall design. 

 The art you created has a little more to it than first meets the eye. Can you tell us a bit about this and the unique process you used? 

Yeah! So, the process is essentially computer-generated. I created the code for photoshop to start the reaction diffusion. Once you run the action over and over again it will start to create spatial diffuse patterns. I had created the action in my photoshop a few years ago and have been using the same one ever since. You can find this reaction-diffusion in chemistry but also in nature, like zebra stripes & brain coral! 

What programs/mediums did you use to create your design?  

I used Photoshop for the pattern and then finished the final design in Illustrator. During the process, there was a lot of back and forth between the two programs to create the finished design. 

What is your typical creative process? Did you stick to that process when designing this Waterproof Hoody? 

When I am working my process changes quite a bit. Normally I am pretty dialed in and working toward objectives and trying to hit on different creative outputs to get my end goal. But when I am home and designing for fun, I get to kind of let lose a little bit. I love creating on the computer because you can be pretty strategic but you can also be spontaneous and just create and explore and try to find something cool or different or interesting. I spend a lot of free time saving little Instagram or YouTube tutorials and then going back and thinking about how can I expand on what I just saw or use it to create something new. This was how I ended up with the hoodie design. I had seen the reaction-diffusion process about two years ago and I found it so interesting. When I first started, I was just a kid with a new toy and I was throwing random stuff into my PSD files and applying this process to it. At one point I had put in a bunch of logos and I thought they looked cool when you applied the process a few times. So, when I was creating the hoodie, I thought okay it worked once. I can add it to just the logo but wanted to incorporate it into the entire design pattern and that was the tricky part but I was obsessed with how it came out.