Ric Grefé's illustrious career includes working in naval intelligence during the Vietnam War, working as a journalist for the Associated Press, and contributing as a business writer for Time magazine. His most recent and significant contribution to the world of design has been his 20 year tenure as the Executive Director of AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts), where he was committed to advancing creative thinking from 1995 through to 2015.
"Under Grefé's direction, AIGA not only turned inward to support its members, but also outward to underscore design’s importance to society. The evolution of design from its physical embodiment in print to a larger digital existence has inevitably left its mark on Grefé's AIGA. The organization's journals, competitions, and exhibitions now live online, with physical archives in New York City and at the Denver Art Museum. Members now have more opportunities than ever to meet and exchange ideas, not just at the annual AIGA Design Conference, but also at the more than 1,000 events hosted by chapters each year. His commitment to expanding AIGA's reach and righting the balance of power in a federation of design may be the most important mark of Grefé's long, productive tenure."
- Written by Julie Lasky on AIGA’s website.
If you could be rich with one thing, what would it be and why?
If I could be rich with one thing, it would be the opportunity to observe and record what I see in others as they carry on their daily lives—for hidden in plain sight are all the emotions, sensitivities, character, and charity of human interactions. This is the world as we should know it.
What do you have (by the sheer virtue of who you are) that you think others should too and why?
Curiosity and a consuming interest in weaving from observations and experiences. This would create a larger narrative that might reveal ways we can scale enhancements to the human experience.
If you could give more of one thing that you have, what would it be and why?
The ability to understand challenges as they touch real people, rather than as how institutions might respond. Only this confluence of curiosity, perspective, and empathy can help to create purposeful alleviation of the issues of inequality, poverty, hunger, poor health, and intolerance.