Alumni Spotlight: Arne Ratermanis Creative Director at Lorenz Advertising
June 7th, 2017 | Natasha Englehardt
If you didn’t already know, Platt College San Diego, has been around for quite some time. In fact, back in 1983 we began our first ever design program bringing us one of our first graduates, Arne Ratermanis.
We had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Arne recently, 30 + years after graduating from Platt, to get the inside scoop on his life as a Creative Director for Lorenz Advertising.
His work is impressive and we only showcase a small portion of his creations here so be sure to check out the links at the end to find more!
Natasha: What initially motivated and inspired you to start a career as a graphic designer and artist?
Arne: I was initially motivated to get into graphic design by my then fiancé (now wife) who told me I needed to get a real job. Ha ha ha. Seriously, the best thing to happen to me was getting into graphic design and getting married. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I’ve had a pencil in my hand since I can remember. My parents and teachers were always praising my art and encouraging me. Growing up, I truly think I passed some classes just because my teachers would have me draw pictures for their bulletin boards or make them flash cards. My high school counselors were always trying to push me to get into the commercial arts field. And I would push back. At the time I thought that “commercial art” meant a job where, all day, you draw pictures of milk cartons and soda cans and other things not very inspiring. For me, that would not be a satisfying or rewarding job.
Then, I discovered Platt College. Back then it was known as an architectural drafting school but it had just started up a graphic design program. I enrolled in what was the first graduating class. The course introduced me to typography, layout, production and Pantone colors. AND I learned that a designer doesn’t necessarily have to be an illustrator too. I could have someone else draw that milk carton!
Natasha: Tell us a little bit about your work.
Arne: A couple weeks after graduating from Platt I was hired by Ted Hansen Design, a boutique-size design studio, located in downtown San Diego. My time there was spent as a designer creating corporate and brand identity programs, and working on retail-to-consumer and business-to-business communications. 11 years later, I joined Lorenz Advertising, a brand development agency, as creative director. We specialize in defining, developing and protecting the brands of our clients with the use of marketing communication strategies, advertising and design. Over my 20+ years with Lorenz, I have been involved in the creation of corporate identities, product logos, product packaging, environmental graphics, ad campaigns, billboards, direct response campaigns, brochures, magazines, point-of-purchase displays, trade show displays and web designs.
As a side gig, and for my own personal pleasure, I also do some art and illustration work. Most all of it is vector based using Adobe Illustrator.
Natasha: What has been your biggest challenge working as a designer?
Arne: Probably the most difficult challenge is working with a client who doesn’t know or can’t express what it is they want in a design. They give you free reign and often say “I’ll know it when I see it.” What happens as a designer is, without any boundaries, you spend countless hours reaching in too many directions for concepts. It’s like throwing a bunch of random ideas at the wall and hoping something sticks. A lot of time and energy is wasted and then usually the client (and the designer) is not completely satisfied with the results.
At Lorenz, we have a way to deter this problem. We believe that a client, whether it is a business, organization, or product, has a unique persona with a set of traits much like a human being. Before we begin a project, we sit down with the client and discuss their “persona.” We run them through a series of questions (is it feminine or masculine, young or old, aggressive or laid back?, etc.) to get to the core of who they are and how they want to be perceived. When all answers are completed and the “persona” is formed, we can move forward with a set of boundaries everyone can agree on. This gives the designer a more specific direction –narrowing font and color choices, defining illustration and photography styles – making the design process easier and more intuitive.
Natasha: What keeps you motivated during the difficult times when you might not feel inspired to create?
Arne: There’s a few ways I found to help me with motivation and inspiration. Brainstorming – bouncing ideas off of someone with a different perspective can a big help to unlock ideas. I love art & design books. Looking through them to see what others are doing can help kick start creativity. The same goes for websites like DeviantArt, LogoLounge and Pinterest. It also helps me to have multiple projects going at the same time. If I start to get burned out or stuck on one project, I’ll set it aside for a bit and work on another. Many times that’s when an idea will click for the first project. I think it’s also important to make time for other interests outside of design. Some of my best ideas have come when I’m at the gym or reading a comic. And, the paycheck. A paycheck is a great motivator.
Natasha: Who are some of the artists that inspire you?
Arne: I’m a pop culture nerd so…
Mort Drucker, Jim Lee, Alex Ross, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Drew Struzan, Patrick Nagel, Josh “Shag” Angle, and Shepard Fairey. And designers, Joe Duffy, Chip Kidd and Charles S. Anderson.
Natasha: What advice do you have for other artists and designers who may be new to the industry?
Arne: Not really advice, just some thoughts from being around a long time…
Because of my career and also through my art, I have met and worked with some of the coolest, most interesting people. I have gone to places I had never dreamed of and have had many memorable, amazing, strange, fun experiences. I feel extremely grateful to go to work and do a job that I love doing. I know not everyone is so fortunate.
Natasha: Where can people find more of your work?