“Collaboration and a Blank Piece of Paper”

Did you know that JESS3′s Robin Richards once owned the only iMac and iPod in the South Atlantic? Or that he worked on Saint Helena Island as a teacher, ordnance surveyor and radio producer before turning to design work?

Neither did I, but now the world knows. Robin is the featured designer at Communications Arts this week, where he discusses the well-known site most desperately in need of a redesign, the best site he’s seen lately, and why and how he keeps a notepad in the shower.

One of the characteristics that shines through Robin’s interview is his commitment to collaboration. “Both on a personal and professional level, talking about design and creating stuff with others is fantastic!” Robin says. Asked where his best ideas originate from, Robin answers, “Put any number of people into a room with a sheet of paper and ask them to look for a solution and they will not be able to not come up with ideas — they may not always be the right ideas, but the group will be on its way to solving the problem.”

Robin’s passion for humanity and working with others extends beyond his design work. When questioned about what he would do if he weren’t a designer, Robin explained why he would return to working in media: “I could ask any question I wanted ‘for the listener,’ but I was usually hungry to learn about the subject as well. There is a simple pleasure in talking to someone about what they know best.”

“Learn the craft, focus and work hard.” That’s Robin’s advice for designers just stepping into the field. “In the creative industry there is always something new to learn, as the technology changes so fast, and people are always pushing the limits of what’s possible in new and exciting ways. Knowing what’s possible and how to successfully use things in new ways are powerful creative tools.” Oh, and he also recommends collaboration.

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