Rick based the checkerboard design on his childhood experiences, when he would watch test patterns on TV, as well as an alternative to Buddy Guy's polka dot guitar design.
1978 Hamer Standard - Checkerboard Custom Design
My fascination with the checkerboard pattern, which is pretty much my signature, began when I was a young kid and the TV stations would go off the air at 10 o’clock on a Sunday night. I would sit there sometimes and just stare at the bug races or the Indian test patterns. I knew if you stared at them long enough, something good or bad was going to happen. I guess I could have gone with polka dots like Buddy Guy, but I always felt like there was too much empty space between them. - See more at: http://www.guitaraficionado.com/ricks-picks-1978-hamer-checkerboard-standard.html#sthash.aQXZUZx4.dpuf