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June 4, 2020 | Courtesy of About Insider by Gaurav Gulati

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Rick Caballo is nothing if not creative. Now based in Nashville TN, Rick was born and raised in Wollongong, near Sydney, Australia. This accomplished singer-songwriter, artist, photographer and designer has a rare combination of charisma and ingenuity that means he is constantly in demand. Read the interview to find out more!

PLEASE, BRIEFLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF, WHO IS RICK CABALLO IN YOUR OWN WORDS? I am the Art Director and Co-Founder of Dead Horse Branding. I consider myself a creative individual passionate about anything design related. The process of creating is just as important as the product itself. I’ve been lucky to create in several industries from fashion, photography, videography, web, portrait art, automotive, and building industry. I love motorcycles, mountain biking, music and any activities that allow me to switch off my mind.

WAS CREATIVITY PART OF YOUR CHILDHOOD AND WERE YOU ENCOURAGED IN THOSE TYPES OF PURSUITS? Yes, always. I used to race home after school to design and paint motocross helmets for all my buddies at the track. That’s where I got most of my inspiration, from the motorcycle industry back when I used to race motocross. From motorcycle apparel to the decals on the latest bikes, to the painting of the helmets. I was and still am influenced by all of those areas.  My dad also was fixing cars building things on the farm, so I was always around some sort of creation. 

WHAT DO YOU TURN TO FOR DESIGN INSPIRATION? Everything, I just love lines and seeing how people manipulate them. So anything from fashion to music to architecture, interior design, cars, motorcycles. I’m just a big fan of lines. Also, when I’m working with musicians, I get inspired by the lyrics and the tone of the song.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF YOUR JOB? Well the feel-good part is that I can help others achieve what their goals and vision, which obviously feels great. But my favorite part as an art director, is coming up with crazy ideas and then watching my team contort and work out how to implement them.

HOW DO YOU THINK ONLINE DESIGN RESOURCES HAVE INFLUENCED THE GRAPHIC DESIGN BEING PRODUCED TODAY? All of the templates, mockups, fonts and software that are available now can make an average designer a good designer. That’s what’s good. However, the bad point is that if you rely on technology as a crutch, it stifles your creativity and your work ends up looking like the next guy. Design is the idea not the execution of it.

WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS TO CONSIDER WHEN CRAFTING A NEW BRAND? Branding. What’s the identity? What’s the messaging? What’s the end goal? What are the demographics? Who are you selling it to? Tailor your designs around that. If you’re designing for a band like Metallica, you have to be careful on the messaging. You don’t want to be designing pretty pink flowers and making it look like a flower shop when they’re hardcore brand. Follow the information and the design will fall into place.

YOU RECENTLY WERE INVOLVED IN THE DESIGN AND REBRAND FOR THE GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING BAHA MEN, HOW DID YOU APPROACH THAT PROJECT?  They’re a band of rich history, so that made it easy. On a brand like Baha Men you become the needle and the thread that combines all of their assets together. I also wanted to stay true to their roots. They’re actually a lifestyle brand, so I wanted to incorporate the Bahamian lifestyle, the colors and the feel to it without getting cheesy with things like palm trees. “Who Let the Dog’s Out?” Was a worldwide smash hit that branded the band as a novelty act but in reality, they are the real deal, I wanted to showcase that to the world.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY FASCINATED BY AND HOW IS IT FEEDING INTO YOUR WORK? I’ve spent a lot of time in the music business, but I just love designing and building Motorcycles right now. I start with an idea knowing that the final outcome will be different in the design process making all the necessary pieces fit.  It’s not just a visual, you get to hear it, you get to smell it you get to feel it. That, to me, is the pinnacle of design, when you can get all your senses aroused and excited. Because it’s not just a piece of 2D paper or a 2D design on a computer screen. A motorcycle satisfies all aspects of design.

WHAT ARE YOU PASSIONATE ABOUT BESIDES YOUR WORK? Mountain bike riding, helping others, building things, songwriting, anything creative. As a creative person, whether you’re a painter, songwriter, architect, you need to step away from what you’re doing to clear the mind and refuel those creative juices. The creative mind is not mathematical like the business mind it is more free-flowing and less structured. You might have gone to the coffee shop in the morning and saw something that sparked an idea visually and changed your whole direction, on a project you’re working on. That’s what I love about designing it’s different every time!





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