Passion helps design business

Courtesy photo / Zack Rackovan works on designs for snowboards and skis for Gilson Snow Inc., Winfield.

TYRONE — Zack Rackovan is doing what he loves to do.

Rackovan recently re-branded a part-time freelance business into Foundry Design Works. The business is based out of his Tyrone home and focuses on branding, graphics and illustrations.

“I love the design process, and seeing an idea through to fruition from a quick concept sketch is one of the most rewarding feelings ever,” said Rackovan, 35, a Bellefonte native and a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in industrial design.

Rackovan has worked for several companies since graduating from Auburn as an industrial designer as well as a graphic designer and worked on projects for well-known brands such as Sheetz, Hershey Co., Hunter Fan, Rite Aid, Ryobi, Urban Outfitters and Miracle Recreation among others.

He now balances his work with Foundry Design Works with his full-time job as a multimedia specialist at Penn State University.

He got his big break in early November when he met Nicholas Gilson, founder and CEO of Gilson Snow Inc., Winfield, at a presentation Gilson was giving at the Happy Valley Launch Box.

Gilson’s company is one of the fastest growing snowboard and ski companies in the United States, Rackovan said.

“I was familiar with his work. They make all of their products by hand, source all lumber from Pennsylvania. I wanted to get a chance to meet him,” Rackovan said. “We started chatting, When I heard they worked with artists, I asked “‘who do I need to talk to and get on the radar.’” He loved what I showed him and two days later asked me to design skis and snowboards.”

Making contact with Gilson was huge for Rackovan’s business.

“I think it is huge. They reach millions of people on a weekly basis and sell skis and snowboards around the world. For that growing company to get in on the ground floor with that growing company is extremely exciting,”Rackovan said. “I wanted to be a part of their team of artists to work on a limited edition of skis and snowboards. They have artists from around the world.”

Gilson was impressed with Rackovan.

“Zack is an insanely talented creator who melds the worlds of art and functional design. It has been pretty wild working with him and seeing how his style and capabilities span such a huge range. I can’t wait to see where we go next,” Gilson said. “Check out his limited edition snowboards and skis on”

Rackovan focuses on illustrations.

“I do branding, graphics and illustrations. My passion lies on illustrations, hand drawn artwork. I constantly work for branding, it goes much further than a logo, the packaging, the colors, the whole package,” Rackovan said. “I do a lot of the illustrations by hand. The work done for Gilson was hand drawn at first.”

Rackovan works mostly with small businesses.

“I will work for anybody who is looking to enhance their brand identity or have a need for high end graphics and illustrations,” Rackovan said.

Scott Riegel, owner of Riegel Contracting and Painting, Hollidaysburg, is a satisfied customer. He said he found Rackovan through his girlfriend.

“She showed me some of his work and I knew I needed to have Zack design my company branding/logo. I could tell from some of his previous work that he put real quality into what he does. I gave him a general idea of what I wanted with regards to my logo but essentially gave him free rein over design. He drew up a few ideas and they were all amazing. However, one of those original work ups was perfect. It was all I hoped for and more,” Riegel said.

Rackovan said constant learning is the key to success.

“I have been drawing and doing graphics for 20 years. I am constantly learning and trying to improve. I am not sure where the road will take me but I am excited to see,” Rackovan said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 946-7467.