Vale Ross Renwick
10th August, 2012
Sydney writer, designer and surfie, Ross Renwick died on Thursday 9 August 2012. He was 77.
For those that don't know, Ross and business partner Aaron Kaplan (d.2008) established the irreverent Billy Blue magazine in 1977. Running for 106 issues, the award winning publication was riddled with Ross' wordy wit and playful design.
Ross and Aaron went on to establish influential Sydney-centric design firm Billy Blue Group, later Billy Blue Creative. For thirty years Billy Blue was a peak Australian design company, and in many ways the country's most individual. Ross' own work was published widely and he received design awards from around the world. In 1998, AdNews magazine voted him one of 12 legends of Australian design. Ross and Aaron also established the very successful Billy Blue College of Design as well as other associated private colleges.
For those that do know, Ross was a great friend, caring mentor and fun collaborator.
Simon Pemberton, designer and former head of Billy Blue College of Design, has said: “For someone who began a career surrounded by words, he (Ross) has an extraordinary sense of colour and design ... of aesthetics. Streamlining all of the above is his candidness. Ross will always call it as he sees it and, although he’ll frequently see it differently, when he tells you what he sees, again it feels totally familiar. It helps that his oeuvre is more often than not tinted with humour, which makes much of his work so accessible.”
Ross never ventured far from Sydney or the sea. He was one of Australia’s original surfboard riders, featuring on the cover of the March 1958 issue of Sports Illustrated. He found time to do a lot of fun branding work linked to beach culture: Beach Without Sand, Just Prawns, Café for Obscure Avalon Painters!
On behalf of friends, colleagues and thousands of students, goodbye Ross and best wishes to your family.
More comprehensive words and works will be available on the AGDA site within a few weeks.
Thanks to photographer Bruce Usher for his portrait of Ross.
Thanks for keeping things real Ross.
Graham Rendoth, former head of design, The Billy Blue Group