How would you describe your style?
I try not to have a specific style to the point where my work bleeds together, or impacts the function of the design. I'm a big fan of Mid Century Modern aesthetics, and that probably shows a fair bit in my work.
Which designers and creative minds were your biggest inspirations growing up?
I grew up in a family of designers so they were probably my biggest influence growing up. They collected design annuals with work by Charles S. Anderson, Duffy Partners. John Sayles Design, Michael Doret and other big names from the 90s. Our house was full of vintage signs and that sort of thing was around me my whole life. I'm a big fan of the greats of the 20th century, such as Alexander Girard, Alvin Lustig, Paul Rand, Raymond Loewy and Saul Bass.
According to your website, you merge historical influences with modern, contemporary solutions. What are the main historical influences you have drawn from?
Design strikes me as a trade where learning from history is a necessity. As a trade we're constantly trying to put a fresh spin on what we do, but it has to be iterative and influenced by the past to some degree. I approach my identity design projects with logic, and strive to create a solution that fits the client, but I often opt for simplicity with a certain characterful quality. That's probably something informed by the more playful aspects of mid-century design, the more strict aspects of corporate identity during that period, and the goal of making solutions that aren't a pastiche, but rather seem at home on a product or service in this day and age.
What would be a dream project or client for you?
Ive always been fascinated by grocery stores. I think a dream project for me would be to design an entire identity system for a grocery store, including designing the typefaces and the iconography, the visual hierarchy of things, way-finding signage, private label packaging, etc.
Lost Type was founded on the idea that quality fonts should be made available to anyone. Where did you draw inspiration from when creating this Collaborative Digital Type Foundry?
The idea really grew out of my own experiences as a graphic designer. My early freelance projects were full of moments where I felt limited in my typeface choices, and I had wished there was a way to acquire quality typefaces within my means, because I couldn't bring myself to pirate them. Today Lost Type offers free licenses to Students, which is an initiative that I'm very proud of. I don't like the idea of a student graduating and going to work at their first design job, and that being their first interaction with a quality typeface. I think the appreciation for fine typography is a super valuable part of what graphic design is, and that the opportunity to work with quality type during school helps to culture that appreciation. To date we've also licensed our typefaces to Disney, Nike, Starbucks, Major League Baseball and the President of the United States, so there's a wide variety of customers who have adopted Lost Type's typefaces to help them share their message.
How are collaborative projects, such as Lost Type, changing the design industry?
Collaborative projects have always changed design, and the history of the trade is full of moments where people went to extreme lengths to find other people who thought the way they do about design, about creativity or about new ideas. The era that we're working in is full of incredible tools to help us facilitate those relationships, get people in touch faster, get ideas flowing more efficiently, etc. I think Graphic Design has always been a trade where, despite it being a service industry full of competitors and commerce, Graphic Designers themselves have a general attitude that we're 'all in this together'. Lost Type has introduced me to more talented, kind and hard working people than any other experience of my life. It's been an honor.>
If you could live the life of another designer or creative for a week who would it be and why?
That's a tough question. Most of the designers I admire have already given me a piece of their life, through memoirs and case studies, photographs, etc. I have spent a lot of time studying the people that truly inspired me, and Ive taken away as many lessons about character as I have about design. Raymond Loewy at the height of his career seemed to live a charmed life, with houses around the world, custom built cars, and a birthday at the studio with a live performance by Frank Sinatra? That sounds like a decent week to me.
What is one trend you predict will be popular in 2015?
The past few years we've seen a huge surge in popularity for hand drawn lettering, and as a result there are lots of people practicing a sort of playful brush pen script in their work. I would guess that a fair number of the people enticed by the immediacy and fun of that lettering will pursue lettering in other ways, and likely contribute to what I hope will be a generation of type and lettering-conscious designers.
Have you made any personal or professional New Year's resolutions for 2015?
I have been working on a few type design projects which I hope to release via Lost Type in the next 5 months or so. Type and Lettering have become ever-looming passions in my life, and so I assume I will continue to pursue those. Personally I hope to enjoy the summer as much as possible this year. The winter always tends to remind me of just how wonderful summers here in Vancouver truly are.
For more of Riley's work, check out his logo collection on LogoLounge, and his online portfolio here.