“Defy the Eye”
A New spin on an old style:
Camo patterns have evolved tremendously over the past 30 years. In the late 1970’s, photo realism was created and for the first time, the hunter could mimic his actual surroundings. It was a revolutionary concept and turned the camo industry upside-down. Within a few years, there were multiple camo clothing manufacturers racing to create the most lifelike and realistic pattern. However, In the camo industry complexity is not king. There are hundreds of patterns available to the modern hunter but many do not necessarily perform the one task that is demanded of them, breaking up the human outline. The vast majority of patterns are designed to directly appeal to the hunter’s eye rather than break the silhouette of the hunter.
Ungulates, or hoofed animals, do not operate on the same set of visual keys that predators do. Most ungulates focus on shape as opposed to color to differentiate between potential predator and a non-threatening being. We need to recognize that as we move further from a given object, the detail is removed and we tend to distinguish an object’s characteristics by shape rather than minute detail. To apply this concept to a scenario in your daily life, think of a car that is parked in the median a hundred yards in front of you on the highway. As you approach, your natural instinct is to tap the breaks in case it is a state trooper. Your brain recognized the object as a potential threat due to its shape and you reacted to protect your well being. An ungulates eyes work by the same set of laws. If there is a perceived danger, the senses are heightened and survival becomes the priority. In short, eliminate the human outline to eliminate the threat to prey.
As previously stated, the design is more important than the color because ungulates do not see color like we do. As humans, we see in a trichromatic color scheme which means that we have a wider range of colors that our brain can differentiate and distinguish. Ungulates, on the other hand, see in a dichromatic format. This means that they are highly in tune with blues and yellows but are unable to see red tones. Basically, ungulates are red/green colorblind and see shades of grays when these colors are presented.
The most important characteristic is creating contrast and depth. The pattern has to fracture the human outline at both long and close range. We created our pattern by starting with the most versatile earth tones we could find and combining them in a format that creates deep contrast. Lastly, we added a branch overlay with drop-shadow to add depth to the design.
Where I come from, there are a few pioneers that contributed to bowhunting in ways that accelerated the sport exponentially and in my mind, no-one deserves more recognition than Bob Fratzke. Bob was an innovator in the camo industry. Bob designed some of the earliest camo patterns that were specifically geared towards the hunter. Military BDU’s were swapped for the Winona Camo System which was truly revolutionary for its time. Bob was an innovator and contributed to the evolution of some of the earliest macro patterns and also utilized high-end fabrics that were designed to keep the hunter warm in the field. Bob changed the camo industry by not only designing pattern made for the hunter but also by manufacturing his clothing right in Winona, MN.