125 Bennett St.
Atlanta, GA 30309
Hank Richardson is the Design Coach leading design at Portfolio Center. He is an AIGA FELLOW and recipient of the New York Art Director’s Club 2010 Grandmaster Teacher’s Award. He is a Director of the Museum of Design Atlanta and has served on the AIGA National Board and board of The Society of Typographic Aficionados. He is the AIGA/Atlanta Education Co-Chair. As an educator he brings strategic design-thinking into his teaching integrating design, business and technology. Hank advises student leadership teams that translate design-led business development for start-up companies and products within a real world entrepreneurial context. Hank works with industry leaders from The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia Tech School of Architecture, and the Advanced Technology Development Center at Georgia Tech among others. He has contributed to such books as Design Wisdom, The Education of a Graphic Designer, Becoming a Graphic Designer, Design for Communications,The Education of a Typographer, Graphis, and Teaching Graphic Design. He travels widely, speaking at universities, and conducting workshops and seminars at conferences around the country. His students inhabit the most respected corporations, design and entrepreneurial firms and advertising agencies in the world — living testaments to his ability to nudge each student to a personal threshold where their best work is conceived.
Philosophy on Work
The Spectacle Behind the Spectacles, A Bio-Commentary by Erin O'Connor, Principle Branding & Design, Austin, Tx. “As a leader in the creative education field, Hank has all the necessary elements. He is constantly curious, genuinely concerned, and highly flammable.” — James Victore, James Victore, Inc. Hank Richardson will only ask of anyone what he is willing to do himself. Which is, to say the very least, everything. Head Cowboy of Design at Portfolio Center, a nationally renowned brand communications school in Atlanta, Richardson is everywhere and knows everyone, the ubiquitous, amiable presence at business talks, industry seminars, guild conferences, portfolio reviews, board meetings and creative clubs. He punctuates every environment like an interrobang, equal parts interrogative and exclamatory, and he leaves his mark wherever he goes. However, like sleep, the numerous awards, accolades and affirmations of others are irrelevant in his purple-framed eyes. First and foremost, Richardson is an educator, and he shines brightest (and loudest) at the big wooden table in PC’s basement, sipping his 5am tea while conducting a trio of pajama-clad students singing an information design project. “LOUDER!” he commands. “What color is that type? Red? And at 300 points? Every person on Bennett Street should be able to hear you!” Richardson believes the best education pushes the boundaries of traditional instruction, and he has spent the last twenty five years educating young designers, charging them with the responsibility of creating culture. He believes his job is to put the students off balance, test their sense of reality, help them realize the effects of their perceptions on their sense of reality, and then, ultimately, change their reality altogether — proving, once again, McLuhan’s premise that “we become what we behold.” As a result of this philosophy, Portfolio Center graduates inhabit the most respected design and advertising firms in the world, living testaments to Richardson’s ability to nudge (an understatement) each student to their personal threshold, that existential edge, where their best work is conceived. It is only fitting that his personal design hero and friend, Milton Glaser, is an educator himself, and one whose stance on teaching nestles close to Richardson’s heart: “I suspect you teach for yourself, in a sense, for your own fulfillment. Teaching is useful for defining and testing one’s own ideas. It is inspirational, and it points out how other generations are responding to events in their own lifetime.” Richardson believes designers have the unique opportunity to become an intermediary between information and understanding, and that implementing communications theory and logic into practical design is a hallmark of a good design program. That only the best schools direct students to look beyond the surface presentation of work and to search for a solution that is at once meaningful, beautiful, intelligent and communicative. In short, a design education must prepare thinkers — designers who are both conceptual strategists and accomplished craftspeople. Richardson inspires his students to observe, to grow, and to interpret the truth. He pushes them to take risks and to collaborate. To exercise their own voices in a safe yet spontaneous environment and to infuse their projects with personal resonance, all while successfully solving the inherent problems presented by each project. If design is a plan to create something, then that something is a story. Once Richardson’s students learn to tell a story (or to sing it), there’s nothing they can’t do — they have the ability to change their world. The Perfect Storm and Portfolio Center paragon passes on what his grandmother, Mama Carrie, passed down to him: an insatiable curiosity and the permission to explore, an opportunity to see and a voice with which to share. Above all, Richardson encourages his students to do what they love and to love what they do, because, as all good cowboys and hotrods should know, “Aren’t we finally our best selves when we find and follow our passion?” A version of this article appeared in The New York Art Director Annual, 2010
ABJ, Advertising, University of Georgia, Grady College
Museum of Design Atlanta-- Board of Directors, Exhibit Committee AIGA- FELLOW New York Art Directors Club | New York Art Directors Club, Grandmaster Teacher's Award AIGA- AIGA former National Board Member, Member AIGA/Atlanta AIGA- Atlanta, Board of Directors, Education Co-Chair, Atlanta Society of Typographic Aficionados/ TypeCon- National Board Member Atlanta Design Collaborative, High Musuem of Art- Board Member