Designer of the Week Richard LaRue, a self-proclaimed social media Influencer on Pinterest (he’s collected some serious inspiration there) and an art director at ARC Chicago (the brand activation arm of Leo Burnett) has some fantastic packaging, poster and logo design in his portfolio—and we can’t wait for you to take a look.
In this interview, he talks about giving back to the community, the benefits of living “a well-designed life,” and what design’s “ever-changing landscape” means for him.
Name: Richard Von Arthur LaRue
Name of Firm: Leo Burnett Group
Location: Chicago, IL
Design school attended:
I studied design at Madison College in Wisconsin, but a lot of my education has been on-the-job and on my feet.
How would you describe your work?
It depends on what work we are talking about. My goal is to always solve the problem in the most efficient and concise way—but I like to have fun with my work, and if I can sneak some playful elements in, I do. I don’t really adhere to a specific style when designing because whatever works for one client’s problem isn’t going to work for another. Whether I’m designing a new package of whitening toothpaste or a poster for a band, I try to give each client my devotion to produce the best work possible.
Where do you find inspiration?
I try to live a well-designed life. I find that if I surround my life with inspiration, whether it’s in my furniture, my shoes, the books I read, or my choice of bars after work, I don’t really have to look for inspiration. If I’m designing a new food truck for someone, I don’t look at other food trucks, but I might go out to eat. However, I have built a small library of art & design books, and I’m very active with logging inspiration on Pinterest.
Who are some of your favorite designers or artists?
My favorite designers, past and present, would be Alvin Lustig, Dieter Rams, Chris Ware, Peter Mendelsund, the Eames’, Frank Gehry, Jessica Walsh, Sagmeister, Dyson, Rodchenko, and Jessica Hische.
Do you have a favorite among all the projects you’ve worked on?
My favorite projects are the ones I do for non-profits. They appreciate the work more, and I get a great sense of fulfillment in giving back. I recently finished a logo for an animal welfare organization and the process went so smoothly it shook me up a bit. It was a huge contrast to the agency work I usually do with 12 rounds of revisions and all that.
Is there a project that stands out to you as having been the biggest challenge of your career so far?
Very little comes easy, nor should it, but one of my most challenging projects was definitely the creation of XFINITY Home’s packaging. Home Automation and mobile-based monitoring was quickly becoming a crowded market, but there was still a need for consumer education. That problem coupled with the fact that XFINITY brand came with some baggage made for a fun and challenging project. In the end I believe we succeeded in creating an approachable look and feel that was versatile enough to encompass and go beyond the 20+ pieces of equipment they were offering.
What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I’m excited by the ever-changing landscape of our profession. With new technologies constantly emerging, new ideas are constantly needed, and I love that challenge. I just hope to stay relevant through it all. Also, I have to admit that getting published in the LogoLounge series felt really good so I’d like to repeat that in the future.
What’s your best advice for designers today?
You won’t truly know what you want to do unless you get out there and either do it yourself or learn from someone who has. Take every opportunity you’re given—especially if it’s for something you have no idea how to do. And just watch/read Mike Monteiro. If his talk on Designer Responsibilities doesn’t inspire you then you might want to rethink your career choice.
Additional work from LaRue:
Want Lippincott senior partner in design Rodney Abbot‘s eyes on your logo design?
Enter the prestigious Logo Design Awards—an opportunity to establish or beef up your professional credentials.