Ambush OG Bobby Sattler – Art Director for Element Skateboards

Bobby Sattler came to us years ago. Being able to inspire and help grow a creative soul has been an honor and privilage for us. The article below was published in Full Sail University’s “Rockstar” section. Congratulations Bobby, we look forward to seeing your passion shine through with Element Skateboards.

Article by: Full Sail University
Digital Arts & Design graduate Bobby Sattler’s two main passions manifested early in life. The first, unsurprisingly, was a knack for trying to communicate ideas visually. “I always made art and I was always interested in art as long as I can remember,” he says. “But thinking back on when I was about 12, because of what I do now, I know essentially that what I was doing was early graphic design work.”

Not long after that, Bobby would discover his second great love.

“I got my first skateboard when I was about 13,” he recalls, “and it was just all over after that. That’s pretty much all my life revolved around.”

Now, at 28, Bobby has found a way to combine both in his professional life. As art director for Element, he oversees the entire aesthetic direction of the skate brand behemoth’s marketing, from lifestyle photo shoots on down to clothing hang tags.

Bobby decided on this career path as a young teenager, after he and his family relocated from Akron, Ohio to Atlanta. He got a job at an area skate shop, Ambush, and soon after enrolled in an intensive graphic design program at his high school. At Ambush, he began to design T-shirts and skateboard graphics for the shop, eventually moving on to ads and larger projects.

After he graduated high school, he used a Georgia state program to attend community college on scholarship, obtaining a two-year degree in visual communications. But it was, again, the skate shop that pointed him forward. Bobby met a group of action sports athletes sponsored by the shop who were students at – or recent graduates of – Full Sail.

Intrigued, he and his father took a trip to Florida. “The campus was incredible with all the labs and everything, and the atmosphere was really compelling,” Bobby says. He enrolled soon after, particularly enjoying the chance to develop his skills in web design and motion graphics, but with his eyes still set on the prize: a relocation to Southern California and a job at a skateboard company. A few months after graduating, he packed his everything he could into his car to head westward to Long Beach, where a number of his friends had also moved. The thing was, “my car was too beat up to make the drive on its own, so a friend of mine helped me out tremendously by towing it cross-country on a trailer.”

Bobby scored his first big job at Emerica shoes as the lone graphic designer under the brand’s art director. “I’d work closely with him on the general art direction of the brand, designing new campaigns,” he says. “I was also working a lot on the catalogs, which is always a big thing in this industry, and on maintaining the aesthetics of the brand.”

This experience led him later to do freelance design work for brands like Matix and Ezekiel, and then another full-time gig at megabrand Quiksilver. During his tenure at that company, Bobby worked closely with the company’s art directors and Senior Art Director, learning a lot during his tenure. While at Quiksilver, the company released the sports movie Young Guns 3, which turned into a major project for Bobby.

“We developed the graphics and art direction for the whole thing,” he says, “which included the DVD art, titling for the film, and all the T-shirts and hats and promotional materials that went along with that.”

Then, three-and-a-half years ago, an old friend invited him to join the ranks at Element. Though he again started out as a senior graphic designer, Bobby quickly rose the ranks to become the brand’s overall art director. These days he manages a team of just two other in-house designers, all charged with the mammoth task of designing and branding all of the company’s marketing materials. This means everything for Element’s seven divisions, from the skateboards and related hardware to men’s, women’s, and youth clothing, to a new, eco-conscious lifestyle shoe and apparel line called the Emerald Collection.

All of this adds up to a nonstop, quick clip of advertising campaigns, tag design, event signage, and more that Bobby has to design, most notably the various divisions’ 22 total yearly catalogs. All of that comes back to Bobby, down to production of the photo shoots that supply the catalog and some advertising images. For these, he travels at least four times a year for location shoots which have taken him everywhere from a zebra-filled private ranch in Santa Barbara, California to the icy wilds of rural Alaska.

Though that doesn’t leave a lot of time for outside pursuits, Sattler has still managed to help out a couple of friends with their professional projects. He recently created a logo for a Long Beach clothing boutique called Port. He’s also working on the same, plus a web site, for Santiago Cycling, a new Tustin, California bicycle shop owned by his parent, who also just made the cross-country move out west. Otherwise, Bobby looks forward to each packed day’s new set of challenges.

“I don’t know if I’ve had a typical day in about three years,” he says. “Everything’s always changing; it’s the nature of the beast.”

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