FOUNDER/PRINCIPAL DESIGNER, RICHARD LJOENES DESIGN LLC, NEW YORK NY
Richard started his career as a sketch-artist with DMB&B/Clarion Advertising in his native Oslo, Norway. Eventually markers were replaced with a Mac and he developed into a driven designer. While thriving at the firm, his status as the sole soccer-hating male on the European continent eventually forced his emigration. He got his first start stateside with HarperCollins. During eleven years there he held numerous roles at several imprints, including Senior Art Director at ReganBooks, VP Senior Art Director at both the Collins imprint, and more recently, the Harper Division. In 2014, he started on the ground floor of ReganArts as Creative Director overseeing all cover and interior design for a range of fiction, non-fiction, and illustrated books. This past spring, Richard started his own studio. His work has been recognized by TDC, Graphis, GDUSA, The One Show, CA, Cannes Lions, AIGA/DesignObserver, Print, HOW, and The NY Book Show. He lives in Manhattan with his daughter, whom he continues to amaze daily, and his wife, who is less impressed by the minute.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
Born and raised in Oslo and currently live in Manhattan
DID YOU GO TO DESIGN SCHOOL?
Yes, the Mercantile Institute in Oslo and Academy of Art University in San Francisco
LEFTY OR RIGHTY?
MORNING PERSON OR NIGHT OWL?
FICTIONAL OR HISTORICAL CHARACTER YOU IDENTIFY WITH?
Ferdinand the bull
ARE YOU MUSICAL AND/OR DO YOU PLAY AN INSTRUMENT?
No. My dad is a musical conductor, plays several instruments and sings in a goddamn choir, but somehow this gene skipped my generation.
FAVORITE TV BINGE WATCH?
Curb Your Enthusiasm
FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM?
FAVORITE FINE ARTIST?
Not all fine artists but they rock my world: Brody Neuenschwander, William Eggleston, Kareem Rizk, Rodrigo de Filippis, Cristiana Couceiro, Futura 2000, Gary Taxali
FAVORITE FREE TIME ACTIVITY?
Getting to know a tiny human that entered into my life a little less than two years ago
COLOR USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
Not a particular color, but I typically design with a restrained palette – two to three colors max
TYPEFACE USED MOST OFTEN IN YOUR DESIGN?
The project will always dictate font choices, but there are definitely work horses, Trade Gothic and Minion among them. I have a never-ending love affair with Helvetica and a love/hate relationship with handlettering.
DOES PRINT HAVE A ROLE IN YOUR DESIGNS?
I mainly design for book publishing. Of course there are electronic versions of most books now but, first and foremost, they are designed for print
Heroes: Vaughan Oliver, Chris Ashworth, Bill Cahan, Ian Anderson/TDR, Jennifer Sterling, Peter Mendelsund, John Gall, Gabriele Wilson, Shepard Fairey, Julian House/Intro UK, Kjetil Wold (Norwegian firms Anti and Bleed).
GREATEST STRENGTH/WEAKNESS AS A DESIGNER?
My greatest strength and biggest weakness is being a perfectionist. This doesn’t mean I think my shit is perfect; it means the opposite. It also means that my process can be slow. I never let this affect client’s deadlines (well, almost never), but it affects my personal life and leisure time (or lack thereof). Every once in a while I do something worthwhile, and I think going those extra miles is the only way I’d get there.
ADVICE TO A YOUNG DESIGNER JUST STARTING OUT?
Healthy work/life balance. Burn-out will come knockin’ one day. Work on stuff that interests/inspires you. If you are slowly dying designing the wrong stuff for the wrong people, find a way out before you forget why you love this thing in the first place.
IF YOU WERE NOT A DESIGNER, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
An artist of some kind
A MANTRA OR SAYING YOU LIVE BY?
Never stop being a student