Ben Johnston is a 24 year old self-taught designer from Cape Town. We got to know him a bit better this week and found out about his start in the industry.
Ben studied Industrial Design for 2 years at Cape Tech, only to find out it wasnâ€™t the thing for him. His next step was to work at a small PR company as a junior graphic designer, something he’d been dabbling in part time during his studies. After a year he pulled a bold move by trying out freelancing for two years, sharing a studio with Simon Berndt of One Horse Town who Ben counts as a huge inspiration and help with getting his foot in the illustration door.
Currently Ben works for the Ogilvy group at Zoom Advertising by day and slumped behind his computer at home by night doing his own design work.
We asked him a few questions about his design and what he loves about it. This is what he had to say, “I do traditional graphic design, from logo design to packaging and illustration, but recently have found a new love for custom typography and lettering. I like creating something new from scratch.
Starting off by sketching the letters/illustration by hand and then tweaking and perfecting on the computer. Nothing beats getting back to traditional hand crafted work. I also try to take on an exhibitions or host my own in order to force me to do new fresh work that I otherwise wouldnâ€™t be doing. Itâ€™s good exposure both locally and internationally.”
On influences he says, “Working amongst other really good designers helps to keep you on your toes. In my early days I was lucky enough to collaborate with Jade Klara on some projects which really helped me.
Some amazing local talents such as Adam Hill, Emma Cook, Jordan Metcalf and Dani LoureiroÂ are a few designers thatÂ consistentlyÂ do amazing work and are making huge headway in the industry and I always like to keep an eye on what they are producing which helps to push me to produce better work.”