American designer, letterer, illustrator. His holistic approach towards communication led him to work with art direction, brand strategy and web design. He invented projects about postcards and nutrition. In 2013 he illustrated a new bear each day of the year to avoid the pitfalls of his bearish attitude. Let’s meet Jared Rippy.
FLIC: Please, introduce yourself and tell us something about your background.
JARED: I was born in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, raised in New Castle, Colorado, graduated and found the love of my life in Denver, Colorado. Today I live in the mountains just outside of Denver where I run a design studio called Novel with my wife Rachel out of a geodesic dome.
You work on a wide range of projects and your action covers several fields. What do they all have in common?
There’s an inherent problem solving and altruistic nature to each I suppose. Each work emphasizes the emotional response of visual dialogue that engages the audience while downplaying ubiquitous technique and tricks. I like to think my work gives the audience the benefit of the doubt in regards to picking up on abstract subtleties. Stylistically I use simplicity and really push the use of form, color, and negative space within self-imposed and outside restrictions to speak clearly and loudly. Each project challenges preconceptions as well, I like to give people a new way of looking at representational design.
You have a 360° approach towards communication. Please, tell us more about it.
Failure is a big part of it, some of my best work is the retooling of a failure before it. I try to immerse myself into a project to gain a thorough understanding of the challenges by being empathetic and thoughtful of the total brand experience, always with an eye on how to make a design stand out among the noise.
I’m curious about your “Don’t be a bear” project. Can you tell us more about it?
It started out as a tongue-in-cheek resolution, part self-reflection and part form exercise to avoid the pitfalls of having a “bearish” attitude. Creating a different version of the same subject matter every day forced me to better nuance the details of both form and concept, which has helped me grow as a designer. The yearlong exploration also helped me develop new stylistic leanings. There was a sharpening or quickening to my mental strategy as a result.
I really liked the approach of your “Postscript” project. You mix a traditional support and a traditional style with graphics, art and design. Plus, this idea is very connected to your city, Denver. How did you come up with this project?
I’ve always enjoyed postcards, everywhere I traveled with my folks as a kid I would make sure to check out the postcards and the weird little knick-knacks of the local gas stations and stores. I’ve been hooked by the aesthetic and ephemeral nature of postcards ever since. The Denver Streets series is a twist on standard postcard form and subject matter. In some form, I wanted to give people a branded representation of their street/neighborhood, and reflect on the history that went into naming the streets—it’s an interesting subject matter that is often overlooked but is so familiar to our everyday lives.
You also combine design and art with nutrition. What’s “Plaet” about?
Plaet was initiated by the lack of quality design and the often-overwhelming amount of information overload experienced on most food and nutrition based websites. It also fulfills our passion for food and is significant to one’s quality of life. Plaet will explore healthy, easy to prepare dishes for one or two people with helpful nutritional tidbits that are easy to absorb and work into everyday meals. Unique and vibrant imagery will be used to get people excited about the current season and preparing healthy meals. It’s also an advocacy platform for organic agriculture and farming. Diseases caused by nutritional defiance in the U.S. are exponentially growing and Plaet is a small part of a larger effort to make an impact on these health issues, many of which can be solved by the implementation of whole, organic foods.
What do you like the most about your job?
The satisfaction of seeing my work impact another person’s life. Experiencing the power of design to transform a message or medium into a better form with meaning and style is a special thing. I also enjoy the hope that comes along with the start of a new project. There is an excitement intrinsic to design in its unexpected form, all the way down to the precise detail.
What kind of customers do you work with? Are your work and your art more appreciated in the States or outside the country?
I work with art, food, cultural, and community based clientele. I’ve spent several years researching and designing for contemporary art, which has had an influence on my work that is particularly appreciated by an international audience.
What are your future projects?
We are scheduled to launch Plaet towards the end of spring, and will be releasing new postcard series this summer. I’ve been working with AIGA Colorado to revitalize their brand presence and I’m also working on publishing a book and developing an exhibition for the Don’t Be A Bear project. In a couple of years, I’d love to open an organic bistro in Denver, named Plaet!