Steve Raboin is an award winning designer and the founder of Raboin Design Company. He currently works and lives in Connecticut with his wife and 2 children.
— The Logo Creative™ (@thelogocreative) May 13, 2020
At RDC, Steve oversees the creative and strategic direction of his clients working largely in the Hartford area. He received his MS in Digital Media from Quinnipiac University in 2015 and a BS in Graphic/Information Design from Central Connecticut State University in 2009,
Steve has a direct, no-nonsense approach to crafting well thought out and ingenious design solutions. Previously Steve has led strategy and design for the Insurance, Finance, Healthcare, Fitness and Craft Beer industries.
The Logo Creative – Hi Steve thanks for taking part in the Designer Interviews
Steve Raboin – Sure sounds great, and I’m happy to be involved
The Logo Creative – What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer and how did you proceed?
Steve Raboin – I originally wanted to be a comic book illustrator and studied illustration for a few years at a small local university in Connecticut. I left school to join the military for four years. At the end of my enlistment, I decided to go back to school but discovered graphic design. The idea of being creative and finding a job interested me the most.
The Logo Creative – What does your day consist of?
Steve Raboin – I spend most of my weekdays at my day job in healthcare/insurance. I create educational video content for healthcare providers. So, lawyers are telling doctors how to prevent lawsuits. Super sexy stuff.
Outside of work, I spend time with my wife and kids. Hanging out, sports, homework, and just being a good husband, dad. I try to go to the gym as much as possible since physical fitness has been a large part of my life forever.
I try to take on as much side work as possible for extra money and creative freedom. I think of it as insurance should I ever get laid off from my day job. The demands of my family and children’s lives are taking up more and more of that time.
The Logo Creative – Are you a morning person or night owl and is there a reason why?
Steve Raboin – Right now I’m a morning person, but I can go back and forth if I need to work late on a project or something.
The Logo Creative – What was the first logo you ever designed?
Steve Raboin – I designed a logo for my friend’s carpentry business. He helped me with my roof.
Steve Raboin – I’m pretty hard on myself and generally hate everything I’ve done. I’m too much of a perfectionist and have a terrible habit of only seeing the flaws or mistakes I’ve made. Some of my favorite logos are the ones I’ve done for myself as exercises. I did a series of logo redesigns for a crappy local business I see on my drive to work. That was a fun one!
The Logo Creative – What’s the best logo you’ve designed that clients DIDN’T go for?
Steve Raboin – I started a logo design project that ended up getting killed super early. Some of those marks are my favourite and will most likely never see the light of day. Oh well.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite logos of all time?
Steve Raboin – The UPS logo by Paul Rand is awesome!
The Logo Creative – Can you describe or give us an overview of your logo design process?
Steve Raboin – I try to get as much info from the client as possible regarding their brand, their positioning, how they want to present themselves, and who they want to attract. I always bring a bit of user-centered design into the mix to help remove initial emotional reactions from the client.
From there I do moodboards and stylescapes to get a sense of the overall visual direction nailed down. Once that’s approved by the client I design logo options that fit within the chosen direction.
I do a ton of research and sketching to try to reduce the mark to the simplest possible version that’s also legible, visually different, and works on all required applications large and small.
I do a ton of mockups to show usage as well.
The Logo Creative – What brands do you most admire and how do they influence your creative thinking?
I look at how they construct their branding projects in a way that’s all encompassing. I try to emulate top tier brands and firms as much as possible.
The Logo Creative – What do you consider your most successful design project, and why?
Steve Raboin – Helping Labyrinth Brewing Company, a local brewery with its line of beer labels, is super rewarding. They contacted me when they first started canning their beer and had no idea what to do.
It was great to sit and talk to them to help them discover what they wanted their brand to be. It wasn’t the highest paying job I’ve ever done, but I it’s definitely the most fun, and they’re super fun to work with.
The Logo Creative – How long does it take to complete the average logo design project from start to finish?
Steve Raboin – 4-6 weeks typically. I do a ton of work upfront with the client to get as much info out of them as possible. That usually takes the most time.
After that, the logo almost designs itself and can be done in a few days or weeks. Sometimes if I can get a solid day or two of sketching my ass off, I can get a few dozen solid things to work with. Usually, my options are spot on and require a few minor tweaks that could take another week.
The Logo Creative – What are your recommended design books to read?
Steve Raboin – I would recommend these books.
- Logo Modernism,
- American Trademarks,
- Jon Contino’s Brand By Hand,
- Draplin’s Pretty Much Everything,
- Trademarks and Symbols Vol I and II.
The Logo Creative – Which software do you use frequently and is there any you would recommend to designers?
Steve Raboin – Adobe Illustrator. Hands down the best platform for logo design.
The Logo Creative – What is your favourite style of logo design? And why?
Steve Raboin – Geometric and Modernist logos are my favorite. I think all of the best logos are super precise.
The Logo Creative – What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Steve Raboin – I love Pinterest, Instagram, Logo Modernism for gathering general inspiration.
The Logo Creative – When you’re not designing do you have a favorite free time activity you like to do?
Steve Raboin – Lift a ridiculously heavy weight. Cooking. Visiting new breweries and restaurants.
The Logo Creative – What was the biggest challenge you ever faced on a project?
Steve Raboin – Working with unhinged clients who are super demanding, have no boundaries and send incorrect files to press without my knowledge
The Logo Creative – In your opinion what’s the best and worst part of your job as a designer?
Steve Raboin – Best part: Making new things, exploring, playing, and the fact that I can make anything anytime. – Worst part: Trying to convince folks that what we do is hard work and should be valued more than it is.
The Logo Creative – Who is the most inspiring person to you and why?
Steve Raboin – Chris Do inspires me a lot. Not just as a designer but as a person and want to be a business owner. He’s helped me with my design work, my client skills, and presentation skills more than anyone else in the creative industry.
The Logo Creative – Who is your favourite graphic designer and why?
Steve Raboin – Paul Rand. He’s the GOAT.
The Logo Creative – What’s your favourite design quote or quote in general, and do you have a mantra or saying you live by?
Steve Raboin – Not design, but I like this one right now. Don’t spend major time on minor things. – Jim Rohn
The Logo Creative – In less than 10 words what is graphic design?
Steve Raboin – Visual problem solving with the use of type and images.
The Logo Creative – What steps did you take to start your graphic design business? Did you have to make any sacrifices on your journey?
Steve Raboin – I started doing a ton of design work for my local CrossFit gym in exchange for my membership. Other members began to reach out to me for design work with their work or businesses. My network grew from there, and those folks then referred me to their friends, and it went on and on.
My most significant sacrifice so far has been sleep.
The Logo Creative – Do you have any regrets? Is there anything you would have changed early on in your career?
Steve Raboin – I would have gone to trade school to be a plumber or something. Those dudes make a ton of money and no one fights them on the price.
The Logo Creative – If you could go back in time, what would you tell your younger self?
Steve Raboin – Be a plumber! HAHA! Or, move to New York or Boston after design school.
The Logo Creative – What’s the most important piece of advice you have received as a designer that’s helped you?
Steve Raboin – If you want to charge more money then make your stuff look expensive.
The Logo Creative – What would be your advice for new Logo and Graphic Designers?
Steve Raboin – Go after the best internship that you can after design school — Seek out mentors. Take on the side or personal projects. Try to work in industries that you’re passionate about.