Ryan Abegglen
Back to the People

It's a good start.

Creative Director

Ryan Abegglen

With well-over a decade of experience working for firms ranging from boutique design studios to large ad agencies, Ryan knows what it takes for a brand to stand out in a noisy marketplace. And he’s done just that for clients that include Nike, NCAA, GE, Stanley Security, Eli Lilly, and IU Health among others. He also spent eight years as a fine artist, showing work in galleries across the nation, and co-owns the motorcycle apparel company, Dead Ace Co.

I had a great professor in art school. You’d work on something for weeks, put your blood, sweat, and tears into it, and bring it to class for review, confident you’d achieved greatness. As you’d present, he’d listen thoughtfully, then look right at you and quietly say, “It’s a good start.” In four words, he’d destroy what you thought you knew. That’s always stuck with me. Once I recovered from the shock, it became the motivating factor in my life. You can always push something further, make it better.

Design should solve problems. Every detail should have a purpose. Every choice should be deliberate. That’s why we always start with research. If a client asks why we did something the way we did, we better have an answer.

People who are personally invested make the best clients. I’m passionate about what I do. When I work with someone who is also passionate about what they do, that’s when the magic happens.

Outside of work, MotoGP is life. I’m obsessed. The strategy is fascinating. The best riders are capable of riding on the limit for the entire race distance, but they know when to hang back, waiting until just the right moment to make a clean pass. There’s a parallel in the business world — taking the time to understand the competition, being confident in your own ability, and waiting for the perfect opportunity to make your move.

Motorcycles, the conversation starter. For some reason, motorcycles are instant common ground. Anywhere I go, if it’s on a motorcycle, there will be someone that’ll want to talk about it. They’ll tell me what they ride, other motorcycles they’ve owned, talk about the good old days, and I’ll end up having a drink with someone who was a complete stranger just a few minutes before. I’ve met a lot of very interesting people this way.

My wife and I have four rescue animals. I’ve always had a soft spot for animals. Caring for them gives you a new perspective. They require a lot of patience, but they give you unconditional love in return. Find your local shelter and adopt a friend.

Ryan Abegglen