Creative Series: Ryan R Thompson

I came across Ryan R Thompson's work through FormFiftyFive, which he is a contributor of. Ryan is a Scottish graphic designer, based in Glasgow and member of the International Society of Typographic Designers. You can check out his website at or follow him on twitter @StudioRydo

Creative Moxie: How did you get interested in graphic design?

Ryan R Thompson: My interest in graphic design really came about during my teenage years, everyone has the experience of agonising over possible career paths while getting ready to leave school and I’m no different. I nearly applied to study International Business, but quickly came to the realisation that I enjoyed looking at books of old rock posters in the art room far more than I enjoyed reading texts about mixed market economies. I ended up in art school and I'm pretty glad that I did. I’ve always had a strong interest in language and words and spent a lot of time drawing when I was young... I think these things have acted as a natural influence in developing my enthusiasm for  typography, branding and visual communication.

CM: How do you think where you grew up has affected your graphic design today, or do you think it has not it affected at all?

RRT: A difficult question to answer, but I would say that personal background and circumstances are probably significant for all designers. I don't think my work is particularly stylised, so not sure if there’s a particularly obvious Middle Eastern or Scottish influence. Perhaps there are elements of my surroundings which have been an indirect influence on my work. Growing up in Saudi Arabia as a child, I was surrounded by Arabic script lettering… both traditional calligraphic forms and more stylised, contemporary geometric interpretations. The contrast between the classic, or traditional, and the contemporary is something which still interests me greatly. Scotland is very grey, so that probably has an influence on my taste for vibrant colours!

CM: What is your typical day like?
RRT: Another tough question — being a one man studio means that there aren’t too many days which you could describe as ‘typical’! Generally, I get up, get a caffeine hit and catch up on emails at the start of any day. I'll review my To Do list and take care of anything that’s urgent; which could be sending out a quote for work, or sending artwork to a printer… amongst a range of other things. Some days I don’t venture out very far and will spend a lot of time on the Mac. Other times I can be out all day going to meetings or catching up with colleagues; other designers, photographers, etc.

CM: Biggest challenge in being a designer?
RRT: Making people understand exactly what your service involves and how it can bring value to their organisation.

CM: Best part in being a designer?

RRT: I would be lying if I said I didn't enjoy being my own boss!

CM: How did you get involved in being a contributor to the design inspiration site, FormFiftyFive?

RRT: I studied graphic design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design in Dundee, Scotland. Though it’s a small college in a smallish town, they have a great reputation for producing designers. Glenn Garriock and Jack Daly, who founded FormFiftyFive were at DoJ in the year below me. They are both very talented, passionate designers and nice guys too, so I was really happy to help when Jack invited me to contribute.

CM: What catches your eye that makes you submit entries to FormFiftyFive?
RRT: The great thing about FormFiftyFive is that the content is so diverse. There is a very large pool of contributors, from a variety of backgrounds, in a variety of locations around the world… which I think is reflected in the variety of work posted. For me personally, the minimum requirement is that the work is interesting in some way. Not very scientific at all really!

CM: Any advice to new graphic designers?

RRT: Read books about typography.


You like this interview? Check out past Creative Series interviews.

+Delia Jalomo
+Cory Graves
+Anthony Williams