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Behind the Design: Outdoor Playground

January 25, 2017

Behind the Design: Outdoor Playground

There’s a saying in the creative world, “Write what you know.” Or paint what you see, sing about what you feel, make something you’ll use. While sometimes chided for asphyxiating the imagination, it’s pretty hard to deny that some of the best creations comes from places of understanding and genuine inspiration. (Plus it takes a heck of a lot less time researching and fact checking when you already know what you’re talking about.)

The Outdoor Playground T-Shirt design by Anna Kalbrener is a perfect example.

Celebrating two of our cornerstone features, Mt Bachelor and Smith Rock, we wanted something that showed off the active bounty in our backyard, and knew we needed someone well versed in all its nooks, crags, and cornices to bring it to life. Anna was obviously our girl.

Trail running, fly fishing, skiing, and slacklining – All in a day’s work in Bend.

Trail running, fly fishing, skiing, and slacklining – All in a day’s work in Bend.

A lifelong PNW’er, Anna grew up playing on the damp Washington trails, running circles in northern Idaho, and exploring virtually every square inch of accessible ground in Central Oregon. Be it two wheels or two stroke, waders or ski pants, running shoes or climbing shoes, she’s always down for some fresh air and good vibes – and maybe a little adrenaline rush.

Formerly a Division 1 collegiate runner, the days of chasing PRs and podium spots might be long gone, but the athlete mentality still burns strong. She still enjoys exercising and being competitive, but these days she pushes her limits in search of more coveted prizes: new terrain, bigger challenges, and more time with friends.

"I’m just always going after good feelings, good times… Trying to get better for the pure enjoyment of the activity. Measured times and distances just don’t mean what they used to."

So she replaced the stopwatch “good times” with a different kind of “good times” – Popping out of a hidden stash of powder, choking on the flakes because you can’t contain the ear-to-ear grin or impulsive “WHOOOO-WEE!” on the other side. High-fiving at the end of a run you’re sure neither of you would’ve gotten through, or even laced up for in the first place. Seeing new places with a fresh and healthy perspective, which somehow both satiates and perpetuates your hunger for adventure.

THOSE are some good times.

photo creds @tylerjwalsh

This design was for us, for Bend, but also for all of you out there chasing your own good times, showing Mother Nature your appreciation for the Outdoor Playgrounds across the globe, and for all the fun out there still to be had.

Now who’s down for a couple laps??

Anna’s Favorite Central Oregon Places

(other than the secret spots she doesn’t want to give away)
  • Fishing: Metolius River

  • Skiing: Anywhere the snowmobile takes you, preferably on a sunny day with soft snow.

  • MTB: Paulina Lake loop



Picky Bars Outdoor Playground T-Shirt  [$25.00]


You can find more of Anna’s work at annakalbrener.com