Interview with Ricardo Ferrol
Interview with German graphic designer and art director Ricardo Ferrol.
Dennis: Hello Ricardo how are you?
Ricardo: I am well thank you! Just a bit busy these days since I am packing boxes for my move to Zurich very soon. I am excited to move back to Switzerland and live in Zurich for a longer while.
D: Can you introduce yourself?
R: Sure. My name is Ricardo Ferrol and I am a graphic designer and art director from Germany. I studied visual communication at Hochschule für Gestaltung Schwäbisch Gmünd (DE) and did a masters in Art Direction at ECAL in Lausanne (CH). I used to work as personal assistant of Mirko Borsche at Bureau Borsche in Munich and am now working freelance, developing my own practice, working in art, culture, fashion and luxury. I have a strong link to Japan and work closely with Japanese brands. I enjoy the intercultural exchange and would like to expand this link in the future.
D: Where does your interest in design come from?
R: I read a lot. I have always loved books. I guess it comes from that maybe. Before studying design I have also lived in Reykjavík for a while and found many friends working in the creative sector, which possibly inspired me to take a similar path for my profession.
D: Typography is one of your main design tools. How do you make the right typographic choices?
R: I am not sure I always make just right choices in typography. It really depends for me on the purpose of the design that I am making. Also the circumstances — meaning what is possible but also necessary with which kind of client — affect my choices when designing. I like when my typographic decisions have a reason but I do not think that everything has to have a reason. Sometimes it is just fine to work intuitively, but still keeping a system and idea in mind.
D: Where did you learn type design and lettering?
R: When I was doing my masters’ in Art Direction at ECAL I was having very insightful lectures with François Rappo who taught me and my class type design basically from scratch. It was interesting learning to understand where our writing system comes from and how it evolved though out the centuries and decades. But also through projects I have been working on, people I have met, or places I have worked, I was able to evolve and learn more about letterings and type design. Learning is, as everything else, a continuing process, I believe.
D: Can you tell us more about your work for fashion brands like John Lawrence Sullivan and Sulvam?
R: Yes sure. I have been working with John Lawrence Sullivan (JLS) for almost 2 years now. Maybe I can say a little about the brand at first. JLS is a Japanese fashion brand from Tokyo. The main designer and founder is Arashi Yanagawa, to whom I was introduced by a close friend of mine. Us, Arashi, me and Anna Pesonen, who is their stylist, develop together concepts and exchange ideas for their latest fashion collections. My services mostly include conception, letterings and invitations. Sulvam has a similar story. Also there I got friends with Teppei Fujita, who is the main designer and founder of sulvam. We recently started creating a new branding for the brand and last collection I was able to design a typographic bandana which became part of the Milan Fashion Show. Both sulvam and JLS have quite different approaches in fashion which makes it very interesting to work with them.
D: Can you talk about one of the projects and your collaboration with Mirko Borsche?
R: In 2017 I was working at Bureau Borsche as graphic designer and personal assistant of Mirko Borsche. The versatile mix of projects at Bureau Borsche was very interesting and I was happy to be able to work on exciting corporate design projects in the fashion and luxury sector together with Mirko and the team at the bureau. Aside from branding related projects I was also working on two books. One on the Icelandic artist Erró published by Rizzoli in New York City and another one on the German product designer Werner Aisslinger. Maybe I can say a little bit more about the book on Werner Aisslinger which was actually just released and is now available through Walther Koenig publishers. Werner Aisslinger had an exhibition at Die Neue Sammlung — The Design Museum in Munich called House of Wonders which is devoted to a three-dimensional utopia, that portrays futuristic ideas of living, robots, and other assistive technologies, as well as design-driven progress. Bureau Borsche was asked to design the catalog for this occasion and I got to design it with the help of my colleagues and interns. The concept of the catalog we developed was simple. We tried to create a catalog that rather reminds of a digital medium than a conventional layout of catalog. The images are set tightly and the texts are placed in rigid blocks.
D: I know that you are a book enthusiast. Even if it’s always complicated to choose, what would be (one of) the best book design for you? and why?
R: That is a difficult question, indeed. I love books for various reasons. Sometimes I like the content, sometimes the design, sometimes just the cover etc. — but since you ask me specifically for book design I think the book Vasarely Plastic Arts of the 20th Century (1965) by Marcel Joray is one of my favorites. This book series on the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely is very well edited and still today more than contemporary.