Rick Valicenti’s Thirst Closes Shop

Chicago-based design firm Thirst has closed as of December 31. Founder Rick Valicenti, founder and recipient of the 2011 Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt, National Design Award for Communication Design, will evolve his practice as a new consultancy under the name Rick Valicenti. John Pobojewski and Bud Rodecker, Thirst partners and collaborators, will continue the spirit of Thirst as co-founders and design directors of a new studio called Span within the same Thirst location with most of the same creative team. The two partners confirmed that their current client relationships will continue with the transition to Span. The Span team is below.


The decision by the three partners was in the name of each evolving their design focus forward. “As a design practice, Thirst has fulfilled its ultimate goals, and by stopping work under the moniker Thirst, its moment in time can be captured … a recognition of lightning in a jar,” said Valicenti. “New opportunities exist for each of us that could not exist under the business model of Thirst.” Pobojewski and Rodecker commented, “The Span business model will be familiar to clients and fans of Thirst … we will be leading projects that continue to have a focus on design, the pursuit of big ideas and projects that are experimental in nature. We’re looking forward to building a new reputation for our team that reflects the incredible talent in this studio. We’re excited to take this great collection of some of Chicago’s best emerging designers to create the work of tomorrow.”

Thirst will mark the moment by archiving its 30-year legacy of award-winning work at various national arts and research institutions. Among them, The Newberry Library (Chicago); The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, The Art Institute of Chicago (Chicago); The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library (New York City); The Herb Lubalin Study Center, The Cooper Union (New York City); and Letterform Archive (San Francisco). Valicenti notes, “The curators of these archives recognize the importance of Thirst in the history of graphic design … a studio that traversed the analog to the digital. Thirst has been an integral part of the international design discourse—contributing work on five continents.”