Ryan Thompson

Ryan is a a graphic designer with over a decade of industry experience, producing work for clients of all shapes and sizes in Scotland and beyond. He founded his design practice — Rydo — in Glasgow in 2009 and has steadily built up a varied portfolio of work for a similarly eclectic client base.

Ryan believes passionately in the power of design to influence, inform and delight. His work is produced with an emphasis on clear and engaging communication, informed by a rigorous conceptual, intellectual and typographic focused approach. He is a long term member of the International Society of Typographic Designers (ISTD) and an organiser of the LongLunch (www.longlunch.com) design lecture series.

Job Nº1: Fast Eddy’s Delivery Boy

My first foray into the world of gainful employment came at the tender age of ten. Yes, you read that right… ten years old. I was living the expat childhood in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, attending a large, American-dominated international school and living on a private compound with my family, that was owned by the airline my dad was working for at the time. The compound, Saudia City, was a pretty comfortable place with many amenities: swimming pools, tennis & basketball courts, indoor rec centres (for alternative air-conditioned sporting activity like ping pong or pool) and a ‘commercial centre’ which included a supermarket, dry cleaners, chemist, donut shop, chinese restaurant and… FAST EDDY’S.

This was the place to frequent for any self-respecting Saudia City youngster. A glorious Bangladeshi-run stainless steel laden establishment serving up burgers, chicken nuggets, pizzas and a variety of other western and sub-continental delights. Job number 1 for me: Eddy’s delivery boy. Fairly self explanatory but I’ll elaborate on what the duties entailed: taking bags of hot food to a customer’s dwelling place by bicycle, for which I would be paid the princely sum of 1 Riyal (if memory serves correctly) and a tip if I was lucky. That works out at around 17p per delivery, excluding tips. The duration of my employment was very brief, I’m sorry to say. I started the job during school holidays and quickly realised that cycling around the compound in 35ºC+ heat for a pittance wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. On my fourth or fifth day on the job, the heavens opened — a rare occurrence — and I took the decision to remain indoors. I took the same decision the following day as well. In fact, I never delivered another pepper steak for Fast Eddy again.

Job Nº2: Sunday Shop Assistant & Boss of Paper Boys

Fast forward to age 14 and the considerably less sunny, more precipitous climes of Inverclyde. My aunt Joan runs a family-owned newsagents in the west end of Greenock, Hall’s, which has been in business for eons. It was always a happy place for me and my siblings when we were young pups as a visit there usually meant being supplied with a 10p mix. A joyous experience, each and every time! Imagine my delight when I was presented with the offer to step behind the counter and be the guy (/boy) who makes the 10p or 20p mixtures… and I would be paid for my trouble; £15 cash money per 9am-ish to 2.30pm Sunday shift.

So, that was my gig almost every Sunday — and sometimes a Saturday too — from the beginning of my Standard Grades through to my time as a big, gangly awkward 6th year at Greenock Academy. I learned how to drag myself out of bed on a weekend day, work a till, boss paper boys around, fill a drinks fridge, chat to old ladies about the weather and speed-read the Sunday Sport. All essential life skills, I’m sure you’d agree.

Job Nº3: Burger Flipper under The Golden Arches

Next job on the list sees a return to the world of fast food and employment with one of the most recognisable names on the planet, McDonald’s. After a few happy years in the newsagents, with only a few months of school left, I decided I needed a new challenge, in terms of my ‘career’. I had a couple of friends who had been working for one of the THREE McDonald’s in Greenock town centre and waxed lyrical about the camaraderie and ‘generous’ hourly pay on offer at the Golden Arches.

I duly applied, went through a proper job interview and was promptly supplied with blue trousers, a checked shirt, clip-on tie, apron, cap and my very own name badge. (I was disappointed not be given a red curly wig, stripy tights and size 27 yellow shoes but I think years of intense training was required before team members could make the step up to Clown.) Anyway, I spent the next six months in the Oak Mall McDonald’s kitchen, making Big Macs®, quarter pounders, sterilising shaky machines and disinfecting the ball pool. More invaluable strings added to my bow. Then, one Saturday while I was enjoying a shift on the tills away from the kitchen heat, some management bigwigs turned up, told us we were closing early, made us pull the place apart, clean everything from top to bottom and then informed us that the they ‘had to close the store’. Forever.

Job Nº4: Barman & Server of Dundee’s Finest All Day Breakfast

After the dramatic closure of my beloved McDonald’s, there is bit of a gap on my CV. To be fair, I moved from west coast to east — Greenock to Dundee — within that period and took a few months to come to terms with starting life as a first year art student in a strange new town. I had toyed with the notion of enquiring about part-time employment in McDonald’s in the city centre but my passion for Big Macs had all but disappeared by that point. After some careful consideration, I decided that pouring pints of lager was probably more my thing, now that I was a fully-fledged student and adult (technically speaking).

I went about asking every bar that I walked past if they needed staff and filled in loads of application forms. I got a call from O’Neill’s, the Irish chain pub, and invited to attend an interview which proved to be more of an audition. Three hours on a Monday night telling jokes, role playing, designing posters for imaginary events and downing bottles of a disgusting alcopop known as Reef. There were 25 people in attendance and there were four jobs on offer. ‘What a waste of time’, I thought to myself after, but… I got the call the next day informing me that I’d made the grade! The next four years were spent pouring perfect pints of Guinness, clearing up broken glass off the floor on St Patrick’s night and chatting to old dudes about football. (I also managed to read design books on the quiet Sunday shifts, which no doubt ensured that I passed my dissertation in fourth year.)

Job Nº5: Sender of Facsimiles at the Royal Bank of Scotland Mortgage Centre

Last on my First Five Jobs list, and most definitely the least, was my stint working for the good old Royal Bank over two summers while I was still a student. I had an ‘in’ through my cousin, who had been working at the Mortgage Centre in Greenock for a few years and was delighted to get a taste of my first ‘proper’ job, wearing a shirt and tie and working in an office. No fries, no burgers, no all day breakfasts, no pints of Guinness, no broken glass; I was moving up in the world!

My enthusiasm proved to be short lived. On day one, I was asked if I minded sending some faxes to lawyers and estate agents around the UK to confirm mortgage offers. I was given a pile and quickly shown the fundamentals of the office fax machine. I dispatched the initial pages in good time and felt pretty pleased with myself. ‘Oh good,’ remarked one of my erstwhile superiors, ‘here’s some more for you to do after lunch time.’ The next day, I was presented with another great heaving pile of faxes to send, which again took up the duration of my shift. This was repeated ad infinitum for three months… and it was exactly the same the next year I did that job.

It was absolutely mind numbing. However, it filled me with a sense of determination to work really hard when I went back to art school in Dundee and try to make a success of being a graphic designer. I didn’t want to spend hours on end sending faxes in a carpet-tiled, strip lit office and I didn’t want to wear a shirt and tie everyday.

So, I don’t.


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