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Meet Erik Ratensperger of Aerial Weather in Silver Lake

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erik Ratensperger.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I started skateboarding and playing music at a very young age, and I think both really shaped the world around me. I was mesmerized by skateboard graphics — everything from color and imagery to typography and layout. The old Powell Peralta graphics and artwork always blew me away. But it was also the culture and community of skateboarding: it really made me feel like I had a place to be weird and creative.

Same holds true with music: I played in punk and hardcore bands when I was a kid, and that underground culture really fostered a DIY ethic in me. We recorded our own records, put out our own records, designed our own album art, silk screened our own t-shirts, booked our own tours and made our own zines. And there was a real crossover and commonality between skating and music… it was my world, and it felt very sacred at the time.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Fast forwarding through my youth and then studying Advertising and Marketing at FIT in New York, I started working for a big sportswear brand in their marketing department right out of college. It was a very promising path out of school until I was asked to join a band that had a record deal. That was an insane rollercoaster ride that (kinda) disrupted what I thought was going to be a traditional path of working with brands and “climbing the ladder”, so to speak.

That band was 4 years of my life. I learned a lot, and we actually did ok for a while, and it was pretty awesome to always be touring, but it was very hot and cold for me, and it wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be. At the end of the day, I needed something that was a direct extension of my own creative output.

This eventually led me to create my own company. It’s called Aerial Weather. I established it 2.5 years ago, and at the time, really didn’t know what it was going to be, other than a creative platform of my own.

Please tell us about Aerial Weather.
That said, Aerial Weather has evolved into a full-service creative company that partners primarily with small to midsize brands and companies to help strengthen and elevate their presence across all channels through strategy, design, and content — we’ve been doing a lot of content lately.

My objective as a designer and strategist is to create work that amplifies whatever the client is trying to communicate in the most efficient and visually beautiful way possible.

I often find myself referencing Dieter Rams’ 10 Principles of Design, but the two that are really ingrained in me, is 1. Good design is honest, and 2. is aesthetic and makes a product understandable.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Making nachos at my grandmother’s and making chocolate milk with WAY too much Quik! That and making skate ramps in the woods with my friends.

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