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Dylan Buffington

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A more subtle, but no less critical, component to WHOOSH is the design, look, feel, and vibe of the whole deal. Like we said, WHOOSH is not just substance, it’s style too—okay, we recognize we didn’t specifically say this, but when we said that it’s about “the whole thing,” it was implied. Thankfully Specialized has Dylan Buffington, and Dylan is keenly tuned into the the maelstrom of feels and emotions that make the Red Hook Crits WHOOSH incarnate. Dylan understands “the whole thing.” And he’s managed to channel those emotions into the design and vibe of the Specialized / Rocket Espresso kit, bikes, and overall look. Was he channeling WHOOSH? Was he coerced by the subtle hand of the God of Speed? Yes, yes he was, and as such his designs reflect the energy, turmoil, murmuration, and thrill driving that which is fundamental to WHOOSH. We caught up with Dylan to ask him about him, his process, and the future.

What’s your name? Age? Hometown? Current Residence?
I grew up in Mill Valley, California and I now live in San Francisco.

How would you describe your Job at Specialized?
The wearer of many hats.

How did you get chosen to do this project?
I was new at Specialized. Just after I started this came up and I jumped right in, head first. They took a risk by betting on an up-and-comer, but I think I pulled it off.

When you started working on your designs, what were you looking at for inspiration?
One thing that stood out was the iconic BMW Art Car series and their melding of art and speed, specifically those by Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons. It’s nuts: Warhol spent like 36 minutes painting his car. He was minding, but not minding too much. It was the way in which Warhol walked the line between thoughtlessness and over-thinking that in so many ways echoes the sensibility of the Red Hook Crit, so I adopted this idea as a guiding principle.

Tell us about the design process?
Throughout the design process I became aware that the same seven colors just kept reappearing. I felt strongly about using them all, but I kept getting feedback that it was way too many—especially for production. But I knew it would be right, and sometimes you just have to do it without asking first, and tell everyone they need it after it’s done.

So you just went with it, YOLO?
Yeah, I let my intuition guide me and I devised a method by which the graphics would work for production.

So wait, these are stickers?
Yep, I did a bunch of sizing, formatting, etc to make them work for all the different frame sizes. They’re water slide decals, which means they’re a MAJOR pain in the ass. Lots of late nights as Specialized, lots of sleeping on the couch.

These bikes look AMAZING!
Yeah, thank you! Once I figured out how apply them to the frames, I started to extend the Graphic ID to the whole team ecosystem; this is a huge assortment of accessories and equipment, each of which presents its own set of design challenges. Leather takes color differently than kit, helmets have different usable space than shoes, etc. I also had to juggle the timing on production, on getting samples. It’s different for everything, which makes putting together the whole line a huge hassle. But in the end I think it came out. I was told that it was the “fastest” selling special edition bike Specialized has ever done.

You have to be happy about that?
There is definitely a sense that all the hard work and long hours was worthwhile for sure.

Fun Facts with Dylan Buffington

Like the cut of Dylan's jib? Check this little jammer out.
  1. FAVORITE FOOD: When I worked at a bike shop as a kid I went to this one spot so much that they would have chilli cheese fries and a chocolate shake ready for me every day at 1:30. Nowadays I’m trying to get the ramen spot down the street to be on that same level.
  3. FAVORITE BAND/SONG: Vincent Gallo – “Was”, Spooky Black – “Idle”, Marcos Valle – “Estrelar”, Dead Moon – “Dead Moon Night”, Newclues – “Jam On It”, Tribe Called Red – “Electric Pow Wow Drum”, Necro Deathmort – “Temple of Juno”, Oneohtrix – “The Pure And The Damned”.
  4. FAVORITE MOVIE/VIDEO GAME: Jurassic ParkGhost DogCoffee and CigarettesPowers of 10Yojimbo.
  5. FAVORITE POWER RANGER: I never really got into that. I think even as a kid I realized they never really had their shit together. My older sister tuned me in to MTV in the early ‘90s. Beavis and ButtheadRen and StimpyRocko’s Modern Life. I was 5 when I watched GoldenEye in theaters.
  6. PRE-RACE SUPERSTITION: Don’t work on your bike.
  7. IF YOU WEREN’T A CYCLIST, WHAT WOULD YOU BE? I’ve done a little bit of everything, but I think it would still be something dealing with movement or travel. I have never been able to stay in one place, I get distracted too easily.
  8. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE BORED? I love to soak up information. A lot of visual information from the internet, books, photos. I feel like I have a database in my head and I can recall images I haven’t seen in years, reference compositions or articles. I am mostly interested in the information that sticks. We take in so much, but the things that stick stick for a reason. Always something to take note of.
  9. FAMILY: Mom, Pop, older sister, younger brother, little sister.
  10. GUILTY PLEASURE(S): I love dumb phone games. Free, crappy, cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel, some random kid thought he could make an app games. Games that I can play for three minutes and delete. When the App Store first came out it was all bigger companies with fancy games. Now there’s an endless amount of stupid apps that don’t do anything. But they are there for our pointless consumption. Sifting through these is like pulling a scratcher out of the gutter to see if it won anything.
  11. SIGN: Scorpio.
  12. PRIZED POSSESSION: Probably my Mash Parallax frame. I’ve had it for a while but it’s lived so many lives and been so many places with me. I used to have one of the original Bolt frames but it got sold off with a bunch of my other stuff when I forgot to update my storage unit with my new credit card info. I have a box of old photos of my grandparents, so if the place was burning down I’d probably grab those first.
  13. IF YOU WERE A SUPERHERO, WHAT WOULD YOUR POWER BE? I just want to be able to go back in time like thirty minutes. I feel like that’s the perfect amount of time to do something over without being too much time to see if it worked out.
  14. WHAT’S MOST SURPRISING ABOUT YOU?: I think most people are surprised that I am color blind (not total color blindness, to be clear). I use a lot of color in my work when I can, and even though I can’t see the subtleties in hues it tends to work out.
  15. CELEBRITY CRUSH: Peter Sagan
  16. CELEBRITY ROLE MODEL: Jacques Cousteau, Damon Albarn, Stefan Sagmeister, David Bowie, Ayrton Senna.
  17. BAD HABITS: The deep sea.
  18. BAD HABITS: I have an insane sweet tooth.
  19. FAVORITE QUOTE: “Don’t let the truth interfere with a good story.”
  20. TICKLISH?: I plead the fifth.
  21. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SMOOTHIE!!!??? Something with ginger.
  22. WEIRDEST DREAM: I have these recurring dreams inolving the same set of trails on this one mountain. The mountain and trails don’t actually exist and I don’t have the exact same dream. But every few months I’ll find myself on the mountain and I’ll just walk around for a few hours.
  23. HIDDEN TALENTS: Dude… those are hidden for a reason.
  24. FANMAIL ADDRESS: 15130 Concord Cir, Morgan Hill CA, 95037
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