Sit down with Rick Caballo for five minutes and you can see why he’s been named one of Graphic Design USA Magazine’s 2018 People to Watch. He is handsome, intelligent and has creativity oozing from his very core. The accomplished singer- songwriter, artist, photographer and designer can never sit still. Even during his down time, he’s madly sketching and creating.
Rick is the Head of Creative, and co-founder of Dead Horse Branding, an A-list creative management firm based in Sydney, Australia and Nashville, TN. His drive and vision, with help from his partner Melissa Core-Caballo, has scored him top clients such as country music producer/record label executive and former keys player for Elvis Presley, Tony Brown; celebrity interior designer Kathy Anderson; and Gigi Butler of cupcake empire, Gigi’s Cupcakes.
His work is so well appreciated and acknowledged that he was given the opportunity to be the creative genius behind one of country music’s biggest producers, Tony Brown’s coffee table book, “Elvis, Strait, to Jesus – An Iconic Producer’s Journey with Legends of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Country and Gospel Music”. The book, which is due for release May 1st, features over forty celebrities including Jimmy Buffett, Lionel Richie, Reba McEntire, and members of Elvis’ TCB band.
Tony Brown commented, “Rick Caballo is the only person that I would have been comfortable with, in designing and putting my coffee table book project together. This was a labor-intensive project that would not have been completed without him, as he is completely in line with my taste creatively and the only individual I would trust doing a project that represents my life and career! Rick brought the integrity to the project that I’m not sure I could have trusted someone else to deliver. I am fortunate that he was available to give his time and talent to do it.”
Throughout the book, Tony Brown’s forty-plus year career is revealed in over 180 pages, with behind the scene images, snapshots from the “Elvis years”, and edgy contemporary portraits staged in a French Renaissance chair of key people who have influenced Tony’s life’s work. With an exceptional eye for detail, Rick has brought this story alive through an elegant, yet strong design and a classic black and white palette.
Rick believes that when designing, “Computers are only a tool! It’s super important to be able to scratch out a design on a napkin with a real pen or pencil, especially in front of a possible client. If you get lazy and just use what’s available online, your designs will look like the next guy’s work.”
His technique works, and the ‘proof is in the publishing’. Rick recently won an American Graphic Design Award for the logo of the band Loving Mary, who are Steven Tyler’s solo band. With his love for a black palette, Rick created a striking design that encapsulated the essence of the band.
Rick says, “I love being creative for other artistic brands, there’s so much juice that can be squeezed out! Especially with a kick-ass group like Loving Mary.”
Loving Mary isn’t the only client he’s managed to squeeze creative juice out of. Rick has done a lot of work for Gigi Butler of Gigi’s Cupcakes. He designed her new logo, which is now branded across her own line of cosmetic candles and her soon-to-launch bakeware and textiles lines. To add to the mix, Rick re-designed Gigi’s Cupcake’s flagship store on Broadway in Nashville, TN. While pinks, purples and greens may not be Rick’s go-to colors of choice, he constantly talks about branding as an identity. The colors and design for Gigi Butler capture who she is, and what she stands for. Rick understands his clients and in turn can create a powerful logo or brand that resonates with their identity.
Rick’s adaptability and creativity means he’s always working on multiple new concepts, and challenging traditional boundaries between music, art, fashion and design.