Ron Miriello, founder and president of Miriello Grafico Inc., has a vast array of clients. He has designed everything from new packaging for the technology company Iomega Corp. and Carlsbad golf ball maker Maxfli to a completely new look for the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System’s buses and trolleys. If you’ve noticed the stylized red bursts on a white background that cover the sides of MTS buses, you’re already familiar with some of his work.
Miriello may specialize in graphic design for the modern age, but he has a reverence for how business was run before the advent of the Internet and the prevalence of multinational corporations. He is in the process of writing a book entitled, “By Hand,” which contains interviews with 15 old-world craftsmen about how they run their businesses, which he sees as an important influence on his modern business philosophy.
Name: Ron Miriello.
Company: Miriello Grafico | brand expression.
Titles: President and founder.
Education: Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design, Colorado State University; La Poggerina in Florence, Italy.
Birthplace: Cranford, N.J.
Current residence: Coronado.
Family: Wife, Marlane, and 17-year-old son, Ben.
Essential business philosophy: Old world meets new and innovates.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay curious, have fun. Pay attention when things go wrong and find out why.
Guiding principles: Always remember your roots. Be the example of the change you want to see.
Yardsticks of success: Good relationships and time for creating new things.
Goals yet to be achieved: Becoming my own client, collaborating with my wife, living several months at a time in Italy, writing a book, flying ultralight aircraft over pastures and buttes.
Best business decision: Putting our creativity and risk-taking into action for ourselves by buying and renovating our new building in Barrio Logan. Believing in our business potential to affect a neighborhood through design and good intention.
Worst business decision: Using business as the reason to travel to Italy.
Toughest business decision: Leaving my salaried job with Convair in 1985.
Biggest missed opportunity: Not buying a building in downtown sooner.
Mentors: My retired school teacher neighbor Bill Seager, who’s doing more community good now than he did even as a beloved teacher for 30 years. Craftsmen I have befriended that are committed to quality as the driving force behind their businesses.
Words that describes you: Focused, curious, fascinated by what makes things work.
What you like best about your job: The invitations to apply my creativity to solve high-level business problems for clients in vastly different business arenas. The left brain/ right brain thinking required to be both highly creative and highly pragmatic simultaneously. It keeps your thinking elastic and retards aging.
What you like least about your job: Whatever isn’t working right now.
Pet peeves: Waiters that interrupt a conversation, entitlement, overcooked pasta.
Most important lesson learned: It’s not about me. It’s about you.
People most interested in meeting: Steve Jobs, Sergio Pininfarina.
Three greatest passions: Family, Italy, design.
First choice for a new career: Dilettante inventor of the archives of curious objects sketched in my journal books.
Favorite quote: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough, we must apply. Being willing is not enough, we must do.” , Leonardo da Vinci.
Most influential book: “Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die,” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
Favorite status symbol: My father’s 1942 Elgin chronograph.
Favorite restaurant: Bandar Restaurant or The Guild.
Favorite place for business meetings: Hob Nob Hill restaurant at 8 a.m.
Favorite vacation spot: Radicondoli, Italy.