Riccardo brings an innate and uniquely aesthetic approach, a stylish Italian expertise, too many awards to list, enviable chef skills, and decades of experience in branding design, advertising, publishing, and direct marketing to his many identity projects. His design studio in Italy supported Bruno Magli Shoes, Intersport (Europe's leading sport fashion retailer), Limoni Group Profumerie (Europe's equivalent to Sephora), and Art'e' Spa (Europe's largest art consignor).
Since joining ZIMMERMAN (2011), Riccardo has led several branding re-design projects for clients including White Castle, Boston Market, Firehouse Subs, and Ashley Furniture HomeStore.
Riccardo was born and raised in Northern Italy in the small town of Medicina, just outside the large metropolitan city, Bologna, where is the oldest university in the world. This largely intellectual and deeply cultural area had a strong influence on Riccardo’s artistic genius.
Forever drawing as a child, Riccardo had always wanted to be a cartoonist and started out creating satires for the local newspapers at a young age. After completing the required five years of high school, Riki enrolled in the University of Bologna, the world’s oldest and sometimes considered the most prestigious global university. It was there that Riccardo developed an expertise for contemporary art, design, architecture and photography. At the age of 24, Riki was drafted into the required Italian military service for a year. Initially, he was trained as a communications specialist. After a short time, his commanders recognized the random chaos that is Riccardo’s creative mind, and they reassigned him to one of the most important jobs in the army: Riccardo was the coffee barman for the Army General.
Returning to university, Riccardo met his first love: the Apple computer. He combined his formal art theory education with the practical application and began graphic design for his city. He designed three different magazines: for the young people, for the municipality newspaper and a third for card collectors. Then, when one of the largest newspaper groups noticed his designs, Riki helped them launch a newspaper product in Rome. Riccardo’s talents echoed across northern Italy with all the regional editions. Because Riki was exceptionally fast as well as talented, the publisher then assigned him to the most important layouts: the special sections, particularly fashion.
Then the fashion dominos began to fall. The layouts Riccardo created for the newspapers drew the attention of Limoni, a highly prestigious perfumery. About the same time, Europe’s leading art consigner, Art’é, (“art is”) knocked on Riki’s door. It was through this company that Riccardo came to assist one of the world’s most celebrated, and certainly Italy’s most gifted creative director, Gavino Sanna. Only phenoms were allowed to work with this master designer, and Riccardo stood the test. In fact, it was Riccardo who was graced with the Photoshoping and layouts of the president of Art’é with Pope John Paul II. Anywhere in the world, but especially in Italy, this was an awesome responsibility for whomever was talented enough to receive the assignment.
Then in 1999 at the age of 33, Riccardo had the most rejuvenating and also the most debilitating experiences of his life. Everything was on an upswing when all of this recent work serving the Milan fashion industry, and his pairing with Gavino Sanna, allowed Riki to open his own shop, Studio Sabioni. This freed him to hire three production artists and take on prestigious clients. Then came the fall.
Riccardo had been playing soccer from age six and had reached the semi-pro status. It was the first match of the season when he hit the ground like a horse. He looked down to find a protruding break of his left leg and before the doctors could reach him on the field, he snapped it back into place. Three weeks in the hospital, six months in a cast and a year of rehab changed his life. In Italy, they don’t believe in pain medicine, despite the ankle reconstruction and pins all the way up to his calf. Also a master-level skier, this fall forced Riccardo to leave those poles behind.
Through it all, Riccardo’s work soared. He met the family of Bruno Magli, the shoe company made famous in the US first by Jacqueline Kennedy, then later OJ Simpson. He began designing all their seasonal catalogs for all the lines, including the featured Monica Magli Spring Collection. Riccardo implemented the new corporate identity onto the Web site and across virtually all their marketing pieces.
Studio Sabioni’s clientele grew to include the illustrious
Allurella magazine, where Riccardo designed some of the best-selling
covers with Uma Thurman and others. The official air filter to Ferrari
Formula One, BMC Air Filters, asked Riccardo to design the marketing
and packaging. Riccardo began earning top awards for his Web designs
for the Fondazione Golinelli, the non-profit arm of the international
pharmaceutical company, Alpha Wasserman. Riccardo created the children’s
characters, Tica and Bio, (short for technology and bioethics) to
help share the funny world of science with kids – a perfect
match with Riki’s ever-playful, silly humor. The award-winning
site is still available in both Italian and English at www.TicaEBio.it.
Riccardo’s work with the foundation grew to include most of their scientific brochures, event graphics, user cards, mouse pads and the logo for the Life Learning Center. Later, even after Riccardo closed his offices in Italy and started Lulu Strategy in the US, the Fondazione Golinelli pursued Riccardo to create the identity for the launch of La Scienza in Piazza, (science in the square). From America, Riccardo designed the logos, brochures, programs, posters, photo recommendations and more.
To further stretch Riccardo’s talents, an international food cooperative, “good for us”, Buon Per Noi, requested he do a substantial portion of their design. Riccardo’s brand splashed the industry, resulting with an impressive increase in business for them. To date, Riccardo’s Web design is available at www.BuonPerNoi.it". This introduced him to NaturItalia, the national organization of farm products.
In 2001, Riccardo paired with another phenomenal mind, Paolo Boneretti, to form Wildcard Associati. Paolo’s depth of experience as the creative director in Italy with FCB (Foot Cohen and Belding) for Kraft, Braun, Colgate Palmolive, among an impressively long list, allowed the two men to offer full-strategic advertising. Up to that point, Studio Sabioni had focused primarily on design.
This duo rocked the advertising industry in Northern Italy. For decades, the Milan fashion industry was served by Milan agencies. Riccardo’s design had changed that. The same folks who made the runways possible now were looking two hours east to Bologna. Riccardo’s clientele list grew to Fashino and Exilia lingerie companies for projects such as posters, outdoor advertising, catalogs and magazines. Riccardo didn’t mind those extensive photo shoots or touching up the photos of all those models. Still very proud of this work, these photos are hung around his office today.
The ongoing list of Riccardo’s clientele and experience would generate volumes of explanation. Suffice it to say that his other clients included Intersport (athletic clothing), Coach (sports rehabilitation), Ciacci (luxury jewelry), Doxa (leading focus group research company in Italy), Artenauta (premier contemporary art site), SCRIPTA (international society of art and culture), Fior di Fiorista (florist wholesaler), Boccedi & Pifferi (pasta and food), Ecole & Co (mac’s products and services).
While in Italy, Riccardo was actively involved with Emergency, a nonprofit/nonpartisan organization for doctors in international war zones. He is a Bologna Football Club 1909 fan!