Vibe Out w/Ryan

Written by Rachel L. Ritter

RyanRyan Cates started at the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham before Mike, Mel and I were there.  He was on his way out when we were just getting started. His focus is Graphic Design, Illustration & Web Design.  According to his LinkedIn profile, Ryan describes himself as

“A creative obsessed with dynamic type, content with depth and effective interface interaction, with a passion for fine art”.

You’ve been doing graphic design work at DZone, Inc. for almost a year.   Tell us more about them and what you do there? DZone is an Internet start-up.  We run a website ( that is built around a global community of developers.  We also have software that the owners of DZone created called AnswerHub, it’s basically a Q&A platform mainly for enterprise level businesses but we also cater to smaller companies that want to use the software.

Visual Identity Package created for DZone Inc.

How long has it been since you graduated, and how long did it take you to find a job after that? I graduated December 2010 so a little over 2 years.  And I would say it took me around 3 months to get my first freelance job then I ended up getting a job at a print/sign shop in Durham, NC about 2-3 months after that.

Traditional tattoo style illustrations w/added texture.
Traditional tattoo style illustrations w/added texture.

What’s your favorite design rule that you follow, or favorite design quote? I never really followed ” rules of design” even in art school I would break the rules but I always had an explanation which most of the teachers didn’t mind.  Everyone has their own way of being creative.

cool pink

Custom vector illustration. “CMYK” 2011

What’s your favorite typeface or site? Not sure if I have a favorite typeface but I really like what Lost Type has been doing for years now.

Logo concept. “Anonymous” 2011

Are you organized or do you work around your mess? I’m all around pretty organized.  I think designers are predisposed to being clean and organized.  We have such a different outlook on life and I’d say that’s applicable to any artist.

Custom vector illustration. “The Print Shoppe” 2011

What’s a regular work day look like for you? I go into work at 9:30am and recently since the year started I’ve been designing and building for the software I mentioned before, but I also have other weekly tasks for DZone as well so I have to manage and prioritize my schedule and time.  It’s kind of like working for 2 companies at once sometimes but it’s satisfying work.  I typically go to lunch around 1pm then I come back and work some more and leave around 6pm.

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What organizations are you a part of that you regularly attend and/or network in? I used to go to the monthly AIGA meetings but I don’t really get a chance to go anymore from just being busy with work.  But I still receive the newsletters so I always see what’s going on.


Thanks so much for being a guest on our blog!  Visit Ryan’s Portfolio to get links to these favorites of ours and to see more of his work. | Email him at to let him know you liked his interview and post below to let us know too.


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