ICA Success Story: Zack Ritchie

By June 29, 2017Our Blog

1. Could you give us a bit of background about yourself, your work and education?

Hi I’m Zack,

Originally an artist who is adapting with today’s demand in art and graphic design.

I made a big switch from working with clay, painting and creating, to working on a screen. I began to realize fine arts is more focused and appreciated for the labor and skill. Whereas Graphic design, is appreciated for communicating ideas simply and effectively.

I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for my dad (Stephen Ritchie) who introduced me to art at a very young age, and MCAST, who helped me realize what Art has to offer.

2. How did you get started as an illustrator/graphic designer?


I enjoyed drawing more than I enjoyed studying for exams. I doodled everywhere all the time, on the walls, on napkins when out to eat. I clearly showed an interest for the arts when I was very young. I used to collect random things like screws, sticks, and springs and place them in a toolbox. I would always open this box when I was tired of drawing, and try creating something with the objects I had. I loved to play and create with limitations, isn’t that what graphic designers do, solve problems.

3. How has your work evolved throughout the years?

My early work was heavily focused on pencil and markers, for some reason I would avoid using colours at all costs. As I progressed to Graphic design, I began to open up and realized the importance and psychology behind colour.

4.What is the one mistake you kept repeating in your work when you first started out?


At the time I valued design far more than reason. I wanted to create something beautiful that would attract the viewer.

Over the years this has finally shifted, especially after seeing Sagmeisters & Walsh’s work. The thing is this there will always be someone who will exceed your skills. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we will improve. Designing with reason/ beliefs in mind will always make you stand out. Design with purpose my friends!

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

Enriching people’s lives. Art directing, Collaborating with communities, pushing personal projects, solving real problems we are not addressing. Care to help?

6. Which creative medium would you love to explore but haven’t yet?

The computer is limitless, yet at the same time limited to the physical world. I would like to see what would happen, if graphic design becomes more of an experience than a service. Experimenting with staged space, physical objects, and multi sensational art. The outcome might allow us designers to communicate on a deeper level.

7. What was the most memorable project you have worked on so far?


Every design has a story to it. The best, ballsy, scariest project I’ve ever done till today, would definitely be The Bird Hunting Project.

The project was an experiment, to explore the use of unconventional graphic design (design not abided to screen or print) the end result has truly changed the way I think and design, it made me realize just how powerful an open ended story is and implementing multi sensational art. If you would like to know what happened get in contact with me, and I’ll gladly explain J

8. Where do you feel the most inspired to work?

I start my mornings by dedicating an hour to reading a book (preferably something that interest you) that sets my day on a good note. Throughout the day I steal and steal. This is a technique great artist use; they see a lot of great artwork and take small nuggets that they like. These could be colour scheme, elements, styles, fonts you name it. The idea is to steal from many not from one, that would be copying and nobody likes a copycat. Today we must realize originality doesn’t exist, instead new combinations of ideas work, so make sure you get inspired daily no matter how silly the ideas are.

9. If you were given the opportunity to collaborate with a creative of your choice, who would it be?

As much as I want to say Stefan Sagmeister and Walsh, I am happy to collaborate with anyone who is passionate about their line of work and believe in possibilities. Anyone want to collaborate?

10. Describe your work in 3 words


Playful, dynamic, clean.

11. Could you briefly describe your creative process from the first ideas, to coming up with concepts, to the end product of your work?


Before beginning any project, take the time to understand the client or project’s goals/purpose.

Translate all your ideas down visually. Only present the strongest concepts. Make it a point to be very clear about your concept, as this will save you a lot of time when it comes to designing.

I have broken down my process into 3 simple steps.

      Idea (problem/ solution to address)

      Story (how you are going to communicate it)

      Medium (what is the best medium to compliment your story)

Hope that helps J

12. How was your experience as a student at ICA?

School was great! and it can be greater if you follow this tip I’m about to share with you.

Don’t do your assignments to satisfy the brief, but do them cause you wish to explore and improve. I always approached an assignment with the intentions of learning a new technique or medium. Wouldn’t it be great when handing in an assignment, you explored and learnt something new, you have a piece that you’re your proud to show (portfolio) and satisfy the brief. Doing this will turn assignments to play, we all love to play. Keep playing!

13. What’s the best piece of advice you could give to someone who is interested in becoming a Photographer


The best advice I can give you my friends is this,

“do the work you love to do”

Today we are so lucky, we can target any niche, and we are not restricted to any geographic location. Consider that your work isn’t for everyone. Not everyone will like your work, but that’s okay, cause if we continue doing the work we love, we will only target the people who love what we love doing.

Secondly, when working on a project or client. Just focus on doing a great job for the client as well as yourself. You will know if you’ve done a great job, as it will lead onto more work or a recommendation.

Stick to these two points and you will turn that interest into a full time job.


14. We’ve noticed that you frequently enjoy posting sneak peeks of your designs on your Instagram story (@zackritchie_design), mostly featuring your illustration works for clients. Could you tell us a little bit about any upcoming projects you have in the pipeline?

As much as I would like to share what I am working on, if you the reader are that interested you can check out my Instagram stories.

15. Can you tell us a bit about Samson?

The idea of Samson, was inspired by a conversation arguing that we have become nothing more than consumers, all the stories we tell are adverts in some way or form.

The artwork’s purpose is solely entertainment. It shows how the mighty Samson managed to overcome his fear of cutting his hair (losing his strength) and turns out to have a cool doo resembling the Nike sign, the last slide indirectly reveals that Samson is endorsing Nike when saying “Just Do It”.

16. You are being recognized more and more for your illustration work. Was that intentional or did that come naturally/unexpectedly?

It was never intentional, it just took off on its own, in fact illustration is just one of the many things I love to do. As said in Question 13: do what you love doing and the people who love what you do will support you.

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