AD 2 Dallas & AAF Social Spotlight: Ricky Roe

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I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia to an American father and Indonesian mother. Although Jakarta is extremely dense with people, cars, and buildings, it’s dense with a rich culture that undoubtedly had a positive impact on me growing up. I lived there until I was five when my father’s company decided to move us stateside where we planted roots in Plano, TX. If you can imagine, Plano was a massive culture shock and the opposite of Jakarta. But I’m happy to call Dallas my home for the past 27 years and proud to have attended the Art Institute of Dallas.

 Learn more about Ricky and his career…

 

What was your first job in the advertising industry?
I worked at the Dallas Observer as a layout editor. I was tasked with collecting writers’ stories and photos to create editorial layouts for the week’s issue. However, my tenure as layout editor was short lived due to an incredible opportunity at Day 6.

What made you want to get into design?

I've always loved art. I've always loved solving problems. Combine those two and you get design. Design is, at its essence, "art with a function." Oh, and I experimented with magic mushrooms when I was younger. That did the trick too. (disclaimer: it was legal in Bali)

What makes Day 6 different from other agencies?
I can’t really compare Day 6 to other agencies, since it’s the only agency I’ve worked at. What I can say, is that we pride ourselves in our obsessive attention to detail and an inherent desire to help our clients succeed. We are multi-faceted with each one of us bringing a diverse and additive skillset into the mix. Another great attribute about the team is our ability to adapt. Adaptability is paramount to survival.

As the Art Director, how would you explain your job at Day 6?
I step in and out of different roles depending on what needs to be accomplished. Even though I lead the team on many creative projects, you'll find me in the trenches getting my hands dirty just like everyone else. I'll be designing one project while illustrating for another; meeting with clients and then directing the team. Being able to quickly switch gears didn't come naturally, but I've developed the skill over the years. Luckily, I have a reliable team and another director to help me tag team projects.

 

How do you communicate a brand strategy with your creative team? How does that process work at Day 6? 
(IE if you were to rebrand a company or brand a company from scratch, how would that happen at Day 6?)

Every project and client is different and requires flexibility in the approach. Typically though, we meet with our client and learn what they want to accomplish with their brand. The other director and I will digest and dilute this information before briefing the team. Ensuring the team is aligned allows us to remove any confusion so we can efficiently hit our goals and deadlines.

 

How important does data and the facts/history behind a brand play a role in coming up with the creative concepts? 

It's incredibly important. History of a brand (or even a competitor's brand) can significantly influence the decisions behind concepts. Sometimes clients want concepts to build off the heritage of the existing brand to retain familiarity. Other times, they want to steer far away from anything established and be disruptive and unique.

 

What are some of the trends you are seeing within advertising and design?

Lots of bright nontypical color palettes. People are taking more risks with color and I love it. Same with typography. I'm seeing more bespoke typefaces rather than the banal san serif used for every damn company logo nowadays. I get it, san serif is legible, but come on... at least try to make it ownable. Custom illustrations are becoming a large component of many brands since there’s only so much one can do with photography.

 

When it comes to design, what are the biggest misconceptions about your job?
Two common misconceptions are that design is easy and that any 10-year old with Photoshop or Illustrator is a designer. I own steak knives, does that make me a chef?

 

What is one thing you wish account executives (client facing roles that aren’t creatives) would do to make your job easier?

Our goal is to make the process as painless as possible for them so I don’t place much priority on them to make my job easier. If I had to mention one thing it would be punctuality with paying invoices. It's common courtesy and part of a business relationship.

 

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If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 23-year-old self?
Nothing because I don't believe in shortcuts to experience.

 

What advice would you give young advertising professionals interested in a career in design? 
Ready for cliché platitudes?

  • A solid portfolio you know how to sell will always beat out a fancy degree. 

  • Under promise, overdeliver.

  • Success is a terrible teacher. Learn how to fail and be ok with it. 

  • Not specific to design, but associate with people better than you, living or dead.

  • It’ll take some time to find your place, but become a specialist… or perish from being a master of none.

 

What is your favorite design technique/style/format and why?
 (IE do you like to create animations best? Or isometric illustrations? Etc.)

My favorite technique is to have no technique.

 

What are some of the biggest mistakes that brands make around design strategy/graphics/animations/etc? 

Some brands make the mistake of not thoroughly exploring multiple perspectives and how a visual may be interpreted differently. I'll admit this can be challenging, but it's worth raising questions and proving the design before sending a finalize design into the world.

 

What is one thing you believe contributes most to your success at this point in your life? In other words, what has been that defining factor that has kept you moving forward in your career?

Truly discovering my identity as a young adult.