50 Years of Clean Climbing

Art Direction, Design

2022 marked the 50th anniversary of the year Chouinard climbing equipment published an essay in their 1972 climbing catalog, urging climbers to stop using pitons and other bash-in protective gear in order to protect the rock. The old gear was to be be replaced with chocks and hexes, new kinds of protection that were easily removed and less damaging to the rock. This decision changed both the art of the sport and the ethos of the community, and would ultimately set the tone of how Yvon Chouinard would conduct business at Patagonia for the next 50 years.

To celebrate, the product team designed a beautiful collection of styles with colors and graphics inspired by these earlier pivotal moments in the company's history. Colleague Neil Hubert led the design of the graphics that lived on-product using a bold and simplistic typographic approach, pulling quotes from the '72 Chouinard catalog. We started there with our design direction, and built and expanded upon the graphic sytem to help tell more of the story and bring it to our audience.

We dug into the archives, resurfaced some of our favorite old climbing photos and product shoots, republished Yvon's essay in several rock climbing publications, and brought it all together to create a holistic campaign celebrating what clean climbing meant in 1972, and what it means today. You can explore the full story on the Patagonia website here.

On-Product Graphics: Neil Hubert´╗┐
Product Stylist: Meghan Forthe
Writer: Mailee Hung

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