Adrian Shaughnessy’s inteview

Ronald Shakespear is a prolific graphic designer from Argentina. He founded Diseño Shakespear about half a century ago, specializing in corporate identity and wayfinding. He kindly agreed to be interviewed about his work and life, and provides a fascinating glimpse into the graphic design practice in Argentina.

You founded Diseño Shakespear 50 years ago. You must have been in your early twenties. What prompted you to start your own studio?

I worked in several agencies here, but I must say that I rejected advertising. So, as soon as I could, I started my first studio with Gonzalez Ruiz, my partner at the time. Later on, I founded Diseño Shakespear with my sons Lorenzo and Juan.
I am 71 now and I love design and photography and this is my way of living. I wake up early in the morning and start writing with the sound of Mozart. Nothing to do with prompting people to buy anything.
Never ask for permission is the title of the new book I’m working on. It is named after what Orson Welles told me when I visited him, without an appointment, in Madrid, near Juan Peron’s house. Then Orson invited me to the bull-fighting ring to see the last run of Curro Girón (who, after the fight, gave Orson the bull’s ears as a present). Unforgettable.
Back home, I went to visit Jorge Luis Borges for a photo session at his office in the National Library. There he was our national poet. I took my favourite shot ever. A privilege life gave to me.
Sign of Design: Memory of a Practice was my first book. It is not a book about theory. It is a reflection of a 50 year long path on the practice of design and a personal look into the urban scene and the way design influences the behaviour of people. Designers decipher the audience’s codes.

 

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