“Remember to celebrate milestones as you prepare for the road ahead.” nelson mandela
In the fall of 1971, as a high school senior, I “accidentally” designed a logo for my church. However, it wasn’t until July 1973 that I joined the professional ranks and actually got paid for my graphic design work.
On July 19, my friend Ken Neill and I showed up at the same time at Adcom Advertising in Arlington, Texas, to apply for a design job. Neither of us knew the other would be there. I’m not sure whose idea it was, but on the walk back to our cars we discussed starting our own design business. After all, I had designed a logo for University Baptist Church and had two semesters of graphic communication under my belt, and Ken had completed several semesters of architectural design. How hard could it be?
The next week, we met every day to strategize. We decided we would only work with churches and Christian business people and named our studio Christian Design. On July 26, we got our first job designing three logos for Ken’s uncle. With newly printed business cards in hand, we built two drafting tables in my garage, set up our studio in Ken’s apartment, started making appointments and began designing.
Over the next months, while going to school full-time at UTArlington, jobs began to trickle in. We created logos for FBC Grapevine, FBC Colleyville and stationery for a Century 21 office. However, we spent most of our time making the rounds, trying to drum up business. Despite our best efforts, by the end of November, it was clear we weren’t going to be able to make a go of Christian Design.
After the New Year, Ken got an internship with an architectural firm that brought in much-needed income and complemented his architecture degree. And although I had various “real” jobs while finishing college (including school janitor), I continued to do graphic design on the side, as Christian Design, to make extra money.
Rick Boyd Graphic Design
In March 1976, with my wedding and the end of my junior year rapidly approaching, I intensified my efforts to supplement my income with freelance work. I renamed my business Rick Boyd Graphic Design and printed new business cards. My logo combined a self-portrait created in a printmaking class (originally an etching) with a stylized signature (which I still scribble today). Since my life would be in flux for a while, I printed the logo on the card’s front and jotted my current phone number on the back.
Even though I was newly married, studying full-time at UTA or later at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, working full- or part-time as a janitor, layout artist or music/youth minister, I managed to complete numerous freelance projects.
In November 1978, I moved my young family to Oklahoma City to work as a graphic designer for my father’s car dealership. I had previously designed Boyd Chevrolet’s logo while a student at UTA. The move (and increased income) was necessitated by the need to pay off recent medical bills before returning to seminary.
Within months of the move to Oklahoma City, I realized there wasn’t enough design work for Boyd Chevrolet to occupy my time. I arranged with my father to still office at the dealership and keep my job on retainer with medical benefits. This allowed me to actively pursue freelance work. In February 1979, I started Boyd Graphics and immediately secured clients. While most of my work was still for the dealership, I completed projects for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), churches and small businesses. It was during this time I realized that graphic design was my true calling, not youth ministry.
By 1983, I concluded my studio name was creating confusion. Since several local printers were using “Graphics” in their names, many assumed I was printer. To address this, I renamed my business BOYDesign. It has remained that ever since.
The year 1983 saw an explosion in the amount of design work landing on my drafting table. Yes, this was still before computer-aided design. This was also the first year I presented Church Publicity Workshops for Baptist Associations, which spread my name among churches in major Oklahoma population centers.
Although the oil bust and bank closures of the mid-80s hit the Oklahoma economy and me hard, I was able to bounce back by 1988. Beginning in 1991, my biggest client for the next 21 years would be the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). For several years I designed the logo and collateral materials for their annual meeting, and after creating a prototype, I designed their monthly journal SBC LIFE for 16+ years.
In the 2010s, I assisted the BGCO by designing fundraising materials to raise more than $13 million for three building projects. One of those projects culminated in the design of an award-winning book commemorating the 100 Year Anniversary of Falls Creek Conference Center. I also completed dozens of projects for the SBC International Mission Board. After returning from a five-month working vacation across Europe, I gave BOYDesign a facelift in 2013.
BOYDesign Rebranded (2018)
In 2018, while updating my website, I again refreshed the BOYDesign logo and branding. Since then, I’ve designed two magazines (one monthly, one quarterly), several books (another First Place award winner) and a variety of projects including logos, press kits, fundraising materials and brochures.
2023 and Beyond
As I enter my 51st year as a graphic designer, I look forward with great anticipation to the road ahead. I love what I do more than ever and believe my best work is yet to come.