Interestingly enough we came across the work of Ricky Richards whilst researching business cards.
We needed some business cards and fell down the internet’s rabbit hole of unique and interestingly designed cards. For us, the hole ended on what we thought were the finest designs we could muster up on the world wide web. These came in the form of the work Ricky did for The Gate London known as the Boundless Business Card. Ricky decided that the tool that was meant to build connections between people, didn’t. From there he took an approach which not only personalized the design but made the card unmissable to the eye.
Ricky has worked with some huge clients, Nike and Coca-Cola amongst them, but no matter the size has always brought his clean and stylish approach to the work. What we loved the most about him, however, was his insistence in encouraging the community and culture in design. He runs a podcast in which he chats to other artists whom he admires, a monthly newsletter and our personal favorite, the Daily Design Club website. We had a little chat with the man himself to learn more about all things Ricky Richards.
You’ve worked with some huge companies, how does big agency work. design differ from smaller jobs, in terms of your approach?
I don’t think my creative approach differs that much, it’s more likely the challenge that differs. The primary difference is that larger brands have a wider audience and more money to spend so you can be a little more ambitious in trying to create things that have wider awareness and cultural impact.
Smaller brands are normally vying for market share and trying to solidify their positioning. In those circumstances, I find myself creating things that have a clear return on investment. The other way is to create value for customers by making things they really want to engage with so that brands create positive sentiment, which results in sales longer term. It all sounds very cold and calculated. Truth is, it is. That’s why brands employ people like me to inject some heart and creativity into the mix.
If you had to describe your style, including influences, how would you do that?
I’ve been incredibly inspired by bald white men. Notably Jacque Fresco, Paul Rand, George Lois, Steve Jobs and Tim Ferris among others. I think I’m drawn to people who are a little bit brash and make things happen. I’ve always felt that the biggest design project is your own life so I’m still working on the brief of how to be a self-sustained creative professional who has complete creative freedom. If I don’t achieve that, at least I’m on track to become a brash bald creative like my heroes.
In terms of style, I love a good idea, where possible I like to keep things simple but courageous and in good taste. If I can create things that add value rather than just selling junk that no one wants and can’t afford then that’s a bonus.
You have a podcast, audio blog and newsletter, is the expanse of design culture important to you and if so, why?
Definitely, I believe there are three main things that affect who you are in life. Firstly, genetics, but we can’t do anything about those so best to forget them. Secondly, circumstances; where you were born, who your parents were etc. some of which you can control in later life, others you can’t. And lastly, inputs, what you choose to consume.
In the creative industries, we pride ourselves on good ideas and yet most people choose to have mass culture be their primary source of input. The result of this is that you don’t have any unique material in which to create novel ideas that have a chance of standing out. With that in mind, one thing I pride myself on is being choosy about what I consume, where possible I try and avoid things which appeal to the mass and I go to good sources to educate myself.
My podcast ‘Ricky Richards Represents’ is my way of speaking with people I admire and to try and uncover some of the things they did to get to where they are today. There’s a team of five of us now, none of us make any money but we do it because we get so much out of it.
Is there a particular kind of job you would say no to?
I’ve only got to the stage in the last few years where I can start to say no. I don’t come from a family of money or creativity, so for years, I grabbed every opportunity with both hands. Nowadays the projects I take on have to really elevate my portfolio, teach me something new or have a huge positive impact.
With my ultimate aspiration being complete creative freedom, I tend to spend my own time working on projects that generate passive revenue. Anything which is just ‘nice’ I figure there’s plenty of people in the world who can do better than me so I stick to my strengths.
What projects are currently in the works for you, what can we expect to see soon?
I’m about to launch dailydesign.club which collates all the best sources of creative inspiration all into one place. I can see every designer in the world getting something from it so that’s exciting. Other than that, I’m going to continue pushing the podcast and newsletter because I love doing them. Hopefully next year I’ll carve out some time to work on my long-term bucket list items like writing a feature film or a book. I want to be on my deathbed and be proud of the work I’ve put into the world and for it to be inspiring to others long after I’m gone. If I can accomplish that in my lifetime, I’ll die a happy man.
You can have a look at Ricky’s work here as well as checking out his podcasts and signing up to his monthly newsletter. We also strongly recommend you have a look at Daily Design Club because it’s just cool.