Talented graphic designer Ralph Solly was one of the many redundancies caused by Covid-19 and its global impact on the creative industry.
Like many graphic designers, Ralph did not give up on his passion, and instead decided to start his own freelance business – at least for the time being. Well conscious that if he truly feels in his element with this newfound independence, he may never come back to office life.
For this Member Spotlight, we are learning more about a graphic designer as passionate about the industry as he is about the clients he's working with, which include record labels, whisky brands, clubnights and pubs – with a bold, bright and modern style.
How did you get into the industry?
Apparently I was talented at drawing from a very young age. I did very well in GCSE and A Level Art. After obtaining a 2:1 degree in Graphic Design and Illustration at Coventry University, I found a job 9 months after graduating during the 2008 financial crisis. I have been in the industry 10 years, working in a variety of in-house and design agency roles.
Where are you based now and who do you work for?
London / Reading. Currently freelancing due to redundancy because of COVID-19. Working with a variety of clients including clubnights, a clothing brands, a cocktail bar, a record label and a whisky brand.
If you weren’t in your current industry, what would you be doing?
Fine Artist? DJ? Musician?
Can you explain your creative process?
Research from books and online, sketching, experimenting, having fun, photocopying, taking risks, trying new mediums and processes, and repeat.
How would you describe your style?
Bold, bright and modern.
Which individuals do you gain inspiration from? Do you have any heroes in the industry?
Saul Bass, Lance Wyman, Studio Build, GiveUpArt, The Designers Republic, Peter Saville, Paula Scher, Milton Glaser, Herb Lubalin, Keith Haring, Barbara Hepworth, Barbara Kruger, Cruz Novillo, Paul Rand, Wim Crouwel, Dieter Rams, Oti Aicher, and Bridget Riley.
How has technology affected the way you work?
To adapt, improvise and learn new techniques and processes, and most importantly expand my skillset, combining illustrations with digital work, and learning motion graphics.
What’s your secret to staying inspired and motivated?
Having my ear to the ground with my passions, going to as many exhibitions, galleries, museums, raves and gigs as I can, discovering new typefaces, paper stocks, drawing on my commute, looking at trends, stay inspired by colleagues and those who proceeded me.
What’s the work achievement you’re most proud of?
Fedrigoni 365 2019 and 2021, record sleeve design for 2nd Drop Records, Kappa apparel range, my illustrations and paintings.
How do you recharge away from the office?
Running, drawing, painting, mixing and listening to records.
What is one tip that you would give to other aspiring creatives looking for work?
Believe in yourself, live and breath your passion, keep practising. If you get rejected, pick yourself up and go again.
What’s your one big hope for the future of the industry?
Being paid a fair amount for your experience level, support for mental health in the workplace.
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?
Government to support the creative industries when needed, and employers to reduce over time hours.