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Meet Richard Perkins of Perkins Design in Concord

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Perkins.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’ve always been interested in art. As I kid, I would draw a lot of superheroes. Later, during my career as tall ship captain (on the Regina Maris and Harvey Gamage), during my sails around the world, I would sometimes get out a sketchbook and draw some of the amazing places we went to. As time went by, due to the rigors of life at sea, I decided to start living ashore. I was interested in computers, and a friend of mine, who later became my wife, got me a job as a beta tester of graphic design software. Getting exposed to this graphic design software planted the idea that I could make a living doing this, as graphic design combines both art and, in a more abstract way, navigation, in that I currently help people navigate their message throughout the all types of media.

I enrolled in Mass College of Art’s evening graphic design program, and after three years, I got a certificate degree in graphic design. It was a really great program. When I graduated, I got a job at an architectural and planning firm, where I eventually became an Associate. I stayed there nearly ten years, doing a lot of logo, retail facade, and environmental graphic design work.

After the time, my wife wanted to back to work full time, so she and I switched roles, where I could be the more flexible parent, while she went back to full time work after having two children. I started Perkins Design, which has been growing at a slow and steady pace for the past six years.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It has not always been a smooth road. As a small business owner, it can be hard to balance the demands of doing the actual design work, doing the business development work, and working on the business itself. I joined a networking group early on, which helped me find a lot of small jobs. I realized I needed to hire people; fortunately, in this gig economy, it is easy to find programmers and designers.

Another struggle is not having enough collaborative work. I enjoy working in a collaborative way with clients, but something was missing. I had an idea to find a partner, but I knew it had to be the right person. So I went a few years without having a partner, until about a year ago. My partner thinks more about business development and messaging, which I focus on art direction and design.

Perkins Design – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Perkins Design produces clear, consistent, and compelling visual messaging that sells a product or service to a specific audience. We design logos, print collateral pieces, websites, and designs in the built environment (such as signs and wayfinding systems).

We like to work collaboratively with our clients to tell stories.

Every designer says that they listen, but I would say we listen better than others. Only once have I began a project without first speaking with the client face to face. I need to have a long conversation about what they are trying to do. Often, a client is not sure about their message, so we listen to help make the message more concise. We write a creative brief that summarizes the goals of the clients, and how we will help them get their message out in the world. I am most proud of the fact that I have had excellent feedback through nearly all of my projects, and I think it boils down to me understanding what each client is trying to do.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success can be defined in so many different ways. One of the ways that many people define success is by net income. By this metric, Perkins Design has grown each year, although not to the degree that I would like. Design usually takes time, and many people don’t understand the process that goes into design.

Otherwise I define success by how long a client uses a website, and whether they continue to work with me. I have several clients that have worked with me for the six years that I have had this business. That is a measure of success I believe.


  • Logos: from $500 to $5,000
  • Websites: $3,000 to $35,000
  • Trifold brochures: $750 to $1200

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
All designs by Perkins Design; photo of Mill Building is the location of the company office, at the Bradford Mill, Concord, MA

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