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Tinker Hatfield: “I can design a shoe in about an hour.”

If you recall, we shared with you part of our conversation with Tinker Hatfield on the inspiration, availability and evolution of the Air Jordan 2012. Today, we share with you an even deeper part of our conversation with the mastermind in regards to his design process. In this installment, Tinker Hatfield discusses his new design techniques, his creation of the Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour in front of Roger Federer, and his ability to now design a shoe in about an hour.

On switch from pencil and paper to iPad:

“I was not into it (designing off of an iPad) at first because it was all mouse-driven, and I just was never comfortable with that because I’m used to drawing. Then, it started becoming more natural to me. It’s really cool now.”

On his iPad design experience with Roger Federer:

“A couple of years ago, I sat down with Roger Federer in Paris after the French Open and designed a shoe right in front of him on the iPad in like 30 minutes. He was like, ‘How did you do that?’”

“I had a meeting with him, and I sketched the shoe right in front of him. I then went back to my hotel, dolled it up a little bit more and sent it back to him. So, he got another drawing that was even more wild, and he freaked out. He couldn’t believe it. That’s the Vapor 9. For tennis, it’s a revolutionary, new shoe.”

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

Nike Zoom Vapor 9 Tour

On Sketchbrook Pro:

“I showed him (Roger Federer) how the program worked, and I showed him the app I use called Sketchbook. It’s kind of like using pencils and pens. It’s called Sketchbook Pro. I’m able to do fine art. Somehow, it’s clicking with me because I’m not having to use mouse-driven or vector-driven programs. It’s just drawing on the screen, and I’m just learning how to draw small. What’s great about it is you can explode it up into detail and go back down. So, literally, I can design a shoe now in about an hour. Most designers take like three weeks to do a shoe. I’m doing it in an hour now, and it’s probably because of the iPad. I mean, I’ve been doing it so long, so I can take shortcuts in my head, but it’s the iPad, man. The tool allows me to take my experience and [makes a scribble noise], hit send and email it to the developers, the marketing people and the merchandising people.”

On his conversation with the Sketchbook Pro developer:

“I met with the guy who invented Sketchbook Pro. He was like, ‘Wow. We didn’t expect anybody to do more than finger painting with this app. This stuff you’re doing is really in detail.’ Now, they’re all excited. They’re talking to Pixar about animating with them. So, it’s pretty cool. I feel like the technology is making my job a little easier. When I go see MJ in a couple of days (days after the Air Jordan 2012 unveiling in early February), I’ll take my iPad, show him the prototypes and he’ll probably go, ‘Hey, that sucks. What is that?’ He’ll like the prototypes, but he’ll have something to say about them. I’ll just sit right in front of him and change it.”

Tinker Hatfield

Tinker Hatfield at the Air Jordan 2012 Launch Event

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