Freelance graphic designer and brand new dad 😀 Ricardo Leite fills us in on the Amsterdam design scene. Ricardo is a strong believer that one of the best ways to grow is to learn from mistakes, ask ALL of the questions and do a little something that surprises those who have more experience than you.
When did you fall in love with design and how did you get started? First design ‘crush’ I had was back in the day at design school with a passionate teacher I had (João Martino). Then I discovered Sebastião Rodrigues and later the Swiss, Japanese and German schools. From that moment on I knew what I wanted to be. I spent so many nights during my student times creating self-initiative briefings and projects to experiment with different communication systems and approaches just as the masters did.
Where did you study and what were some of your first jobs? I graduated in 2008 in Communication design at ESAD (Matosinhos, Portugal) and then my masters in Digital Media Design at ELISAVA ( Barcelona, Spain ) in 2009. After the masters, I was invited by a teacher of mine, Martin Allais, to collaborate at his studio. We had a great connection and I was working with him for a few years before I moved to Amsterdam, where I started working for Studio Joost Grootens till 2012.
Give us the elevator pitch on what you do. I am a visual designer based in Amsterdam, specialising in the development of creative strategies and visual concepts for the cultural and commercial fields, with a focus on branding, visual design, art direction and editorial design.
What qualities and skills to you look for in a graduate? I would search for a curious and multi disciplinary designer, fully motivated to learn from mistakes. Able to play with briefings and capable to follow deadlines. I always look for a person that can design in different formats creatively.
What career advice would you give your 16yr old self? Experiment as much as you can. Connect with people that are just as passionate about design as you. Never commit the same mistake twice. Keep feeding your network. Ask as much as you need. Again and Again. Listen to people more experienced then you and surprise them. Spend time and improve your skills.
How important is networking to you? Living abroad for almost ten years gave me the opportunity to connect with people from all around the world. Consequence of that fact is the impossibility of living at the same city as all of them. Best to do is keep your network alive, sharing and improving. In my creative process the network is a valuable tool.
2017 for you in a sentence. A year of unexpected adventures.