Monday is here people, time for some inspiration courtesy of a talented young fella. I recently came across his work online, meet  Ricky Linn. A graphic design student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Ricky self describes himself as “I like to think of myself as a robot simply for the fact that I wish to trick my brain into thinking that I do not require sleep. I love anything and everything that is mid-century design and my work is incredibly influenced by the masters that have come before us, while infusing my own personality into the work I create. I freelance projects on the side to pay the rent and in my rare free time try to remember that I’m still relatively young and try to do young people related things.”

I: What’s the earliest memory of a creative activity you did?

R: I wish I could say that I was one of those kids who had always been drawing since I was little but that is not the case. Growing up, my first passion were my Lego sets. I would spend hours and hours building buildings and towns and cities with my legos and because of that my mom always kind of thought I would end up as an architect. Later in elementary school my friend and I would create adventure story books where we took turns drawing and writing pages of our stories. We amassed quite a collection of those little books. They were all pretty much just stick figures and the sort but I remember it being really fun so I thought I might be an illustrator or comic book artist. After that art kind of took a back seat though for a long time until near the end of high school where I discovered graphic design and fell in love with it.

I: If you weren’t doing what you do right now, what would you be doing?

R: Probably something in social sciences. Before I discovered graphic design I was convinced I would go into either anthropology or history. In high school I honestly enjoyed reading history textbooks and atlases and trying to memorize where all the different countries were. I also have a great fascination with nature and wildlife. As a kid my favorite shows would always be the nature documentaries and I just sat there amazed at the world and the worlds beyond us.

I: Inspiration, who? what? where?

R: Last summer I took an Introduction to Modernism course and was incredibly lucky to have a great instructor teaching it. She really opened my mind to the incredibly rich history of early to mid-century graphic design. Given my general interest in history and graphic design, I fell absolutely in love with all of it. I was blown away by how those designs, crafted over fifty years prior without the aid of any computers, were able to stand the test of time and look as contemporary as they do today. Suprematism, Constructivism, Minimalism, De Stijl, Bauhaus, etc. All these schools of thought have incredible influence on my style of work. The work of Alvin Lustig, McKnight Kauffer, and El Lissitsky, to name just a few, are also incredible inspirations.

Before I took that course I had been emulating those styles into my work simply because I liked the way it looked, having seen some random bits of work online from Ffffound and such, not knowing who had done it or why. But now I understand why I like it and what it means to create such work, and it pushes me to follow in their footsteps.

Then there are of course all the contemporary designers who are creating great work today whom I like to call my design heroes: Frank Chimero, Mikey Burton, Richard Perez, Evan Stremke, Mark Weaver, Ty Wilkins, Tim Boelaars, Brent Couchman, Scott Hill, Mike Lemanski, the pair at Always with Honor and Eight Hour Day, the list is endless. As students we are in no short supply of heroes to choose from.

I: Share any of piece your work, recent or old and talk about it.

R: The Been Everywhere project is a collaboration project started by Adrian Walsh that invites 92 different designers to commemorate a location that appears in the song “I’ve Been Everywhere” One of the locations mentioned in the song was Pasadena, California where I go to school right now so it was only natural that I represented the city. I completed this one a little less than a month ago. I have a great love and hate relationship with Pasadena. On the one hand it is a great place to live and work but on the other it is also a constant reminder of all the hard work and sacrifices I’ve had to make since coming here.

I: Name 5 websites that you check often.




five × 4 =

Hi, I'm Ibraheem Youssef
I'm a Creative,
currently based in Toronto.

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