Denying Mediocrity at All Levels: Graphis Master Ron Taft in Graphis Journal #373

If you’re looking for a creative mind who’s as talented as he is passionate, look no further than designer, creative director, and chief commercial officer Ron Taft!

The recipient of 22 Graphis awards as well as numerous international design and industry awards, including two Emmys for Columbia TriStar Television, Ron brings a broad range of brand and media services to market. His many disciplines originate from his diverse background in advertising, television, film, and music. He formerly served as executive vice president and creative director of Dailey Interactive (an IPG company) before founding his own company in 2008. He has extensive experience in corporate communications, luxury brand development, entertainment marketing, fashion, automotive, and consumer electronics, and has created many brand identities, advertisements, and promotional campaigns for clients such as Sony Pictures, HBO, the Emmys, Leo Schachter Diamonds, Hästens, United Recording, Guitar Center, Microsoft, Nike, Ferrari, Stella Artois, and NASA. Ron has served on the board of the Quincy Jones Foundation Music Consortium and the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation and has created outreach campaigns and promotional initiatives for Music Rising, the NARAS Foundation, the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and Kidspace Children’s Museum.

Across dozens of projects in nearly every design-related industry you can think of, Taft leaves a mark wherever he goes. He meticulously considers every aspect of his works from start to finish: he examines every angle, visualizes every possible solution, and integrates even the smallest details. While it may seem like Taft has already achieved perfection, he continues to grow and adapt with each new project. With every past success and opportunity, he creates an even more promising future. For future designers, Taft offers this advice: “To use a music analogy: Don’t stop at three chords, even if you master them. But in general, deny mediocrity at all levels.”

Here is a snippet from Ron Taft’s interview:

What inspired or motivated you into your career?

I was a fine art major back in the ’60s when I became aware of the creative work being done in graphic design by the likes of Saul Bass, Lou Dorfsman, Herb Lubalin, and Pentagram, and I said to myself, “Hold on… Now that’s some really creative shit.” I saw how conceptual thinking and graphic design could marry and lead to extraordinarily compelling communications. I was hooked. That, naturally, took me into advertising, which allowed me to bring all my music, art, and creative writing to the party. And the ’60s began one helluva party in advertising.

What is your work philosophy?

There’s a quote by Henry Ford I have pasted on my forehead like a refrigerator magnet: “When everything seems to be going against you, remember that a plane takes off against the wind, not with it.” For me, every assignment starts with a little fear—“Will I be able to deliver on the expectations I just sold to the client? What if I can’t this time?” It can be quite daunting searching for the big idea—the right idea. You just have to stay with it and trust that if you drink enough coffee, lose sleep, and keep challenging your imagination, the right idea will eventually lift off.

What do you like best about design?

For sure, there’s joy in the journey, but when I land on the right solution, it’s pure exhilaration. It feels like you’re a kid who’s just opened the big box you’ve anticipated as your most wished-for present—and it was.

To read more of Ron Taft’s interview and discover other great artists, check out Graphis Journal #373, which you can purchase online at

Author: Graphis