In loosely legal terms to the best of my understanding, a “rider” is an addendum made to a contract that specifies certain things not covered under typical circumstances. Say, you are buying a house and use a state- or Bar-issued contract, well, it might have no clause that states that the 13-year-old cat piss smell must be removed, so in your rider you would say something like “Crazy cat lady must get rid of cat piss smell.” I’m no lawyer, so the wording might vary. However, in Rock and Roll terms, a rider is a document that specifies the indulgent, frivolous, pampered whims of artists.
The most famous rider is, of course, Van Halen’s 1982 concert rider that requested M&M’s with an all caps warning: “ABSOLUTELY NO BROWN ONES.” This may be the most representative of the caricature or Rock and Roll excess and power indulgence, but as The Smoking Gun reveals in their rider collection, there are plenty of documents prescribing the strict needs of everyone from Robin Williams to Ted Nugent. For example: Celine Dion requires a temperature of 73°; Jennifer Lopez requests a white room, with white couches, white flowers, white draps, white candles, and white tables; and The Game will not wear a name badge, so “security is to be briefed to who this person is.” More regular requests are deli spreads, bottled water (specific brands of course), PlayStations and condoms.
In the past six months I have done a lot of talks around the U.S. and they have as much glamour as the bucket of KFC chicken that Ice Cube demands. There is no first class flying, no trailer, no dressing room, no after-meal requests, no temperature control. Disclaimer: I love doing these things, don’t get me wrong, but maybe it’s time that graphic designers put on their diva hats and start making some demands for their presentations. So, dear event organizers, here is my ludicrous design-related rider for my upcoming speaking engagement:
A. At the Venue
1. No dressing room is required, but a Green Room, where speaker can rest after flying coach is.
2. Green room must have the following items:
2.1. A Helvetica, special edition Moleskine; absolutely no regular Moleskines.
2.3. A Pantone Solid Chips Two-book Set; remove all pages that have 4-figure PMS colors, only 3-figure PMS colors are acceptable; why use PMS 1795 when PMS 179 will do?
2.5. A Blu-ray player.
2.6. A copy of Stefan Sagmeister’s out of print Made You Look; do not attempt to replace with Things I have Learned in my Life so far.
2.7. A first edition copy of Philip B. Meggs’ A History of Graphic Design.
2.8. Design samples from local designers that are using varnish in innovative ways.
1. Coca-Cola in Turner Duckworth-designed aluminum bottles; no “classic” glass bottles or cans.
2. A selection of Jones Soda beverages; labels can only contain pictures of dogs, color or black and white are both acceptable.
4. A pre-2003 Hershey’s chocolate bar with tin foil and matte paper wrapper; no plastic and do not attempt to fake it with store-bought aluminum foil and printing a wrapper in Epson.
5. Personalized M&M’s that say “I’m the best”; all colors acceptable.
1. Please refer to any other requests made in the comments section in the Speak Up post “The Graphic Design Speaking Engagement Rider,” dated March 11, 2009.