What Is A Pre Issued Skateboard Graphic?

Davis Torgerson

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What Is A Pre Issued Skateboard Graphic

If you are a skateboard enthusiast, you might have heard of the term “pre-issued” or “pre-issue” skateboard graphic. But what does it mean and why is it important? 

A skateboard graphic is a design or artwork that is printed or painted on the bottom of a skateboard deck. It can be anything from a logo, a slogan, a character, a pattern, or an abstract image. 

Skateboard graphics are one of the ways that skateboarders express their personality and style, as well as show their support for their favorite brands, artists, or causes.

In this blog post, we will explain the concept of pre-issued skateboard graphics, how they differ from regular graphics, and why some collectors and skaters prefer them.

What Is A Pre Issued Skateboard Graphic?

A pre-issued skateboard graphic refers to a design or artwork that has been created and prepared for use on a skateboard deck before it is actually produced or released for sale. 

Skateboard graphics are a popular form of art and self-expression within the skateboarding culture. They are typically applied to the bottom side of a skateboard deck and can vary widely in style, theme, and complexity.

“Pre-issued” implies that the graphic has been designed and finalized before it is used on a specific skateboard model or brand. Skateboard companies often work with artists or designers to create unique graphics that resonate with their target audience or represent a certain brand identity. 

These graphics can range from simple logos and patterns to intricate illustrations, photographs, or even political/social statements.

Once a pre-issued skateboard graphic is ready, it can be applied to skateboard decks during the manufacturing process. Skateboard companies usually produce a certain number of decks with the same graphic design before moving on to new designs.

How Are Skateboard Graphics Applied?

Skateboard graphics are typically applied to the bottom side of a skateboard deck using a process called heat transfer or heat transfer printing. Here’s an overview of the steps involved in applying skateboard graphics:

Graphic Design

First, the graphic design is created by an artist or designer. This design can be anything from a simple logo to a complex illustration or image.

Printing onto Transfer Paper

The graphic design is then printed onto a special type of paper called transfer paper using high-quality inkjet printers. Transfer paper is designed to hold the ink and release it when heat and pressure are applied.

Preparation of Skateboard Deck

The skateboard deck is prepared by cleaning and smoothing its surface. This ensures that the graphic adheres properly to the deck and there are no dust or debris particles that could interfere with the transfer process.

Heat Transfer Press

The transfer paper with the printed graphic is placed face-down onto the bottom side of the skateboard deck. 

A heat transfer press, which is a machine that applies heat and pressure evenly, is then used to transfer the ink from the paper onto the skateboard deck.

Application of Heat and Pressure

The heat transfer press is closed over the transfer paper and skateboard deck. Heat and pressure are applied for a specific duration and at a specific temperature. 

This causes the ink on the transfer paper to vaporize and bond with the skateboard deck’s surface, essentially embedding the graphic into the deck.

Cooling and Removal of Transfer Paper

After the heat and pressure application, the transfer paper is carefully peeled away from the skateboard deck. The ink that was previously on the paper is now permanently transferred onto the deck.

Quality Control

The skateboard deck is inspected for any imperfections or inconsistencies in the graphic application. If any issues are found, the deck might be rejected or sent for correction.

Finish Coat

Some skateboard decks receive an additional layer of clear protective coating, such as varnish or lacquer, to help preserve the graphic and the deck’s overall appearance.

It’s important to note that heat transfer is the most common method for applying skateboard graphics, but there are other methods as well, including screen printing and direct printing onto the deck. Each method has its own advantages and considerations in terms of cost, complexity, and durability.

How to Do Heat Transfer Skateboard Graphics?

Heat Transfer Skateboard Graphics

Heat transfer skateboard graphics involve applying a design to a skateboard deck using heat and pressure. While the process can be a bit complex and might require specialized equipment, here’s a simplified step-by-step guide on how to do heat transfer skateboard graphics:

Materials Needed

  • Skateboard deck
  • Graphic design printed on heat transfer paper
  • Heat transfer press
  • Teflon or parchment paper
  • Heat-resistant gloves
  • Clean cloth or paper towel
  • Timer
  • Clean, flat work surface

Steps-by-Step Guide

Prepare the Deck

  • Ensure the skateboard deck’s bottom surface is clean, smooth, and free from dust or debris. You might want to lightly sand the surface if it’s rough.

Print the Graphic on Heat Transfer Paper

  • Create or select the graphic design you want to apply to the skateboard deck.
  • Print the graphic design onto heat transfer paper using a high-quality inkjet printer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for printing.

Trim the Graphic Design

  • Carefully cut out the graphic design from the heat transfer paper, leaving a small border around the edges.

Set Up the Heat Transfer Press

  • Preheat the heat transfer press to the recommended temperature for the specific heat transfer paper you’re using. Refer to the paper’s instructions for temperature and time recommendations.

Position the Graphic on the Deck

  • Place the skateboard deck on a clean and flat work surface.
  • Lay the trimmed graphic design face down on the skateboard deck, aligning it where you want the graphic to be.

Add Protective Layer

  • Place a piece of Teflon or parchment paper over the graphic design. This layer prevents the design from sticking to the heat transfer press.

Apply Heat and Pressure

  • Carefully lift the skateboard deck, along with the Teflon or parchment paper and graphic design, and place it onto the heated lower plate of the heat transfer press.
  • Close the heat transfer press, ensuring that the deck and graphic are properly aligned.
  • Apply firm and even pressure according to the manufacturer’s recommendations on the underside of skateboard.
  • Set the timer based on the recommended transfer time.

Transfer the Graphic

  • When the timer goes off, carefully open the heat transfer press.
  • Using heat-resistant gloves, quickly remove the Teflon or parchment paper from the deck.

Cool and Inspect

  • Allow the skateboard deck to cool for a brief period. The graphic will be fully set as it cools.
  • Once cool, inspect the graphic to ensure it has transferred properly and adhered evenly to the deck.


  • If desired, apply a clear protective finish over the graphic to help protect it from wear and tear.

Remember that specific instructions and equipment can vary based on the materials you’re using and the equipment you have available. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for heat transfer paper, press settings, and safety precautions. 

If you’re new to heat transfer, it might be helpful to practice on scrap materials before applying the skateboard top graphic to the actual skateboard deck.

How to Tell If A Skateboard Is Real?

If you are new to skateboarding, you might be wondering how to tell if a skateboard is real or not. There are many cheap and low-quality skateboards out there that look like the real thing, but they won’t perform well or last long. 

A real skateboard is made of quality materials and components that will give you a smooth and enjoyable ride. Here are some tips on how to tell if a skateboard is real or not.

Check the Source

The best way to buy a real skateboard is to go to a local skate shop that specializes in skateboarding gear. They will have a wide selection of brands and models, and they will be able to help you choose the right one for your needs and preferences. 

Avoid buying skateboards from malls, toy stores, or online sites that sell generic or knock-off products. These skateboards are usually made of low-grade wood, plastic, or metal, and they will break easily or damage your bearings and wheels.

Check the Deck Size And Shape

The deck is the wooden part of the skateboard that you stand on. It comes in different sizes and shapes, depending on your style and preference. A real skateboard deck is usually made of 7-ply maple wood, which is strong and durable. 

The deck size and shape also affect how the skateboard performs and feels. A smaller deck is easier to maneuver and flip, but less stable. A larger deck is more stable and comfortable, but harder to do tricks with. 

The deck shape also determines the nose and tail of the skateboard, which are the front and back ends. The nose is usually longer and steeper than the tail, which helps with popping and landing tricks. You can tell the nose from the tail by looking at the length and angle of the curves on both ends.

Check the Qheels

The wheels are the round parts of the skateboard that spin on bearings. They come in different sizes, shapes, and hardnesses, depending on your terrain and preference. A real skateboard wheel is usually made of polyurethane, which is a rubber-like material that can withstand friction and impact. 

The wheel size affects how fast and smooth the skateboard rolls. A smaller wheel is lighter and more responsive, but less stable and prone to getting stuck on cracks or rocks. 

A larger wheel is heavier and more stable, but slower and harder to accelerate. The wheel shape affects how the skateboard grips and slides on surfaces. A rounder wheel has more contact area and grip, but less slide. 

The flatter wheel has less contact area and grip, but more slide. The wheel hardness affects how the skateboard bounces and vibrates on surfaces. A softer wheel absorbs more shock and noise but wears out faster. A harder wheel lasts longer but transfers more shock and noise.

Check the Trucks

The trucks are the metal parts of the skateboard that connect the deck to the wheels. They come in different sizes, shapes, and materials, depending on your deck size and preference. 

A real skateboard truck is usually made of aluminum alloy, which is light and strong. The truck size affects how well the skateboard turns and balances. A smaller truck is more agile and responsive, but less stable and prone to wheel bite (when the wheel touches the deck). 

A larger truck is more stable and resistant to wheel bite, but less agile and responsive. The truck shape affects how high or low the skateboard sits on the ground. 

The higher truck gives more clearance for bigger wheels or tricks but makes the skateboard harder to push and control. A lower truck gives less clearance for smaller wheels or tricks but makes the skateboard easier to push and control.

Check the Brand Name And Graphics

The brand name and graphics are not essential for a real skateboard, but they can help you identify reputable manufacturers and models that have been tested and approved by professional skaters. 

Some of the most popular skateboard brands are Element, Plan B, Baker, Girl, Enjoi, Zero, Santa Cruz, Blind, Toy Machine, Flip, Almost, etc. These brands have been in the industry for a long time and have earned their reputation for quality and performance. 

The graphics on the deck are usually designed by artists or skaters themselves, and they reflect their personality and style. Some graphics are simple and minimalistic, while others are colorful and complex.

These are some of the ways to tell if a skateboard is real or not. Remember that a real skateboard is not just about looks, but also about functionality and durability. A real skateboard will give you a better skating experience than a fake one.


What is a pre-issued skateboard graphic?

A pre-issued skateboard graphic is a design that has been printed on a skateboard deck before it is sold to the public. 

It is different from a custom graphic, which is created by the customer or the shop after the deck is purchased. A pre-issued graphic is usually made by the skateboard company or the artist who collaborates with them.

Why do skateboard companies make pre-issued graphics?

There are several reasons why skateboard companies make pre-issued graphics. One of them is to create a unique identity and style for their brand. 

By having a consistent and recognizable graphic on their decks, they can attract more customers and fans who appreciate their aesthetic and vision. Another reason is to showcase their creativity and innovation. 

How do skateboarders benefit from pre-issued graphics?

Skateboarders can also benefit from pre-issued graphics in various ways. One of them is to save time and money. By buying a deck with a pre-issued graphic, they don’t have to spend extra time and money on creating or ordering a custom graphic. 

They can also avoid the hassle of applying stickers, decals, or paint on their decks, which might damage or peel off over time. Another benefit is to support their favorite skateboard companies or artists. 

What are some examples of pre-issued graphics?

There are many examples of pre-issued graphics that have been made by various skateboard companies and artists over the years. Some of them are iconic and influential, while others are rare and collectible. Here are some of the most notable ones:

  • The Powell Peralta Ripper
  • The Santa Cruz Screaming Hand
  • The Blind Reaper
  • The Girl OG Logo
  • The Baker Logo

Wrapping Up

Pre-issued skateboard graphics are an important part of skateboarding culture and history. It has become so popular because of its uniqueness and aesthetic style.

They reflect the identity, style, creativity, innovation, opinion, message, story, quality, durability, loyalty, appreciation, recognition, popularity, influence, controversy, provocation, elegance, minimalism, modernity, and trendiness of both skateboard companies and skateboarders. 

They are also a source of enjoyment and inspiration for many skateboard enthusiasts around the world. However, I hope that you have understood the fact well. Thank you for your time.

Photo of author

Davis Torgerson

I am a professional skateboarder who has been involved in the skateboarding industry for over 10 years. I have had the opportunity to travel across the world and compete in various competitions. I live in New York City and work as a professional skateboarder. I also work as an assistant editor at a company called Skateboard Mag, where I contribute to articles about street skating, traveling, and other related topics. I have always been passionate about skateboarding and writing. I am currently working on my first book which will be published soon! LinkedIn

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