Richard van der Laken is an acclaimed Dutch graphic designer working on and for the impact of design as a tool for social change. In the nineties he co-founded the design studio De Designpolitie and Gorilla, a designers collective that produces a daily, graphically simple current affairs column in one of Holland’s leading newspapers. Six years ago he also co-founded What Design Can Do (WDCD), an international design conference, publishing and challenge platform on the impact of design on society, now active in Amsterdam, São Paulo, Mexico City, Nairobi and New Delhi.
Which living person do you most admire?
My mother and Barack Obama.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being in control.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Many, amazing and tangible.
Which talent would you most like to have?
A talent to convince people.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Sometimes i am able to convince people.
Where would you most like to live?
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
Philip Roth, Jonathan Safran Foer, Yann Martel, Paulo Coelho, Leon de Winter, Bas Heijne, Griet Op de Beeck, Jan Wolkers, Arnon Grunberg, Adriaan van Dis, Tommy Wieringa and many many more.
Who is your hero of fiction?
Which historical figure do you most identify with?