• 4
  • 9
  • 5
  • 11
  • 10
  • Work-bell-small
  • Work-canonblue-halcyonep
  • Work-canonblue-small
  • Work-friend-small
  • 13
  • 12
  • 8
  • 7
  • 1
  • 2
  • Work-canvas07-cover-small
  • Work-canvas07-opencover-small
  • Work-canvas08-firstpage-small
  • Work-canvas08-featurepage-small
  • Work-fineartsaward-small
  • Work-fineartsaward-detail-small
  • 6
  • 14
Graphic Design

Graduates 2009: Ben Tousley

Posted by Will Hudson,

We’ve cheated a little with our final student of the Graduates 2009 feature. Ben Tousley technically hasn’t graduated yet but with a portfolio this good we could hardly say no, and he does graduate in December so we’re well within the 2009 deadline.

Born and raised in Zionsville, Indiana, Ben is currently attending Indiana University and will graduate with a BFA in graphic design. Currently 22 his first big freelance client came about when he was just 18 when he designed Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House. Having worked with several clients internationally over the years since then, Ben has gained invaluable experience for any young designer, let alone one yet to graduate.

“Regarding almost all the music packaging, particularly with Grizzly Bear projects, I’ve also been completely in charge of designing all related promotional materials. For example, with their newest album Veckatimest, I’ve done all the web, print and poster ads that you might see. This has included billboards, stickers, buttons, everything… That’s definitely been the largest and most all encompassing project I’ve ever worked on. And it was taking place at the same time as my thesis semester.”

Currently working on a new project for Rounder Records, in-store artwork for the Rag & Bone flagship stores in NYC as well as art directing NY based record label Twosyllable Records Ben certainly keeps himself busy. After all this he also aspires to gaining his MFA in design, but not until some “real life experience”. Wherever he goes we’re confident Ben Tousley is a name you might see a bit more of in the near future.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was little, it was between being a meteorologist (but strictly the kind in Twister) or an architect (but mostly like the kind in a Frank Lloyd Wright book my aunt gave me). When I really had to start thinking about it, I was pretty sure I’d go into journalism. I was very involved in my high school’s newspaper all four years and was an editor for three years. As an editor though, we also had to design our own sections. And although I really had a love for journalism, I think I gradually realised I was more interested in visually communicating the stories rather than writing them.

In reflection, how bad was your work in the first year?

Of course there are definitely things that I wish I could go back and change or details I wish I’d paid more attention to, but I would never say any of it was bad. I actually think it’s fun looking at the trajectory of it and seeing how certain aspects did improve with each project. Part of my BFA thesis show at IU was gathering every bit of design-related work I’ve ever done and displaying it all at once. Parts of that feel like maybe it should be embarrassing, but the idea behind it was to show that every little thing you make, no matter how small or trivial, is an opportunity to practice and improve. It almost feels cheesy to say because it’s such a generic idea, but I think it’s especially true for designers.

If you could show a piece of your folio to one person, what piece would you choose, and who would you show it to?

Tough question! No matter what people come to mind, I can’t think of anything I’d actually want to show them without feeling embarrassed in their presence. I’d love to speak with the guys from Non-Format, if only so I could tell them how much they made me want to be a designer in the first place when I was in high school. I think it’d really help me to hear them talk about how boring and unimaginative my work is in comparison to theirs.

If you had your own business, who would you employ and why?

I’d love to own a record store with my friends. I worked at a great record store in Indianapolis for several years and it’ll probably always be one of my favorite jobs I’ve ever had. We always tried to make sure it was a very special and positive environment for everyone. Sometimes I feel like there is little better than listening to music with your friends and meeting nice people who enjoy doing the same. As long as I could keep designing at the same time, of course.

If you’ve got any left, what will you spend the last of your student loan on?

In reality, I’d probably end up spending it on ridiculous amounts of things I don’t need like records or eating out. And it would happen without me really paying attention. That and/or I’d treat myself to another special road trip to California.

Where will we find you in 12 months?

I’m not sure, and I’m not sure I want to know just yet! I graduate in December, so right now I’ve mostly decided to pursue some jobs in New York, if only for a little while. Otherwise I’m excited to go anywhere and everywhere at this point.

Wh-300

Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Graphic Design View Archive

  1. List-motherdesign_sundancefilmfestival_2

    “It’s been funny seeing ‘Robert Redford to sign off’ on our work plans in recent months," Mark Aver, Mother Design New York design director tells us, revealing the new identity for the 2015 edition of the Sundance Film Festival. The independent film festival, which started in 1978 in Utah, is chaired by Redford, who from the sounds of it, takes quite a hands-on approach.

  2. _llisr-meteor

    French design duo My Name is Wendy caught our eye earlier this year with the innovative D/I/M/E/N/S/I/O/N typographic poster series. The studio recently launched a new site showcasing some great new projects that suggest the pair’s Bauhaus-esque graphic approach is going from strength to strength. Two projects particularly intrigued us – the first being a poster series which acts as a part of a wider project in which the studio creates the fictional land of Meteor.

  3. List-tumblr_ncojdd7pid1tap5jeo1_1280

    Taiwan-born graphic designer Wang Zhi-Hong claims the place that most stimulates his imagination most is one with “no one but me”. In a somewhat reluctant-sounding chat with French magazine Post IM, he paints a careful picture of himself as a man of solitude and precision. Whether or not this makes for a happy life, it certainly makes for some superb graphic design work. From his impressive portfolio we were most drawn to his book design, which takes this idea of a simple, uncluttered existence and turns it into beautiful pared back, precise creations. We were particularly seduced by the monochrome Yohji Yamamoto book designs, with the glorious curved forms of Japanese kanji characters given space to breathe against this restrained aesthetic.

  4. List-dhub_brochures_inside

    Pitching for a design museum identity that will act as the platform for some of the most celebrated designers the world over can’t be an easy task. How to merge tradition and modernity? To create something beautiful, that doesn’t detract from the work itself? So when Mallorcan agency Atlas put forward their proposals for the new Barcelona Design Museum’s identity, it’s perhaps little surprise they worried their ideas were “too modern and risky.”

  5. List00_mitml_posters

    Pentagram partner Michael Bierut and designer Aron Fay have designed a new identity for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, creating this striking, labyrinth-like look that brilliantly communicates the faculty’s “anti-disciplinary” approach.

  6. List-2

    When it comes to psychedelic album artwork, it sometimes feels like the very best might already be behind us – Wes Wilson, Mouse & Kelly and Rick Griffin already having worked through the golden era. There’s something reassuring about the knowledge that graphic designers are still looking for ways to incorporate psychedelic elements into their designs though, and French graphic artist Lucas Donaud is foremost amongst them.

  7. Stationary

    Hotel branding can so often be a dowdy affair, as if the design nods to the temporary nature of the building’s inhabitants – something to move on from, rather than to dwell on. So it’s wonderful to see a brave, opulent new identity for the Connaught in London’s Mayfair, designed by The Partners around a stunning new artwork by Kristjana S Williams which now hangs in the hotel.

  8. List

    I was surprised to learn that Amsterdam’s HOAX studio don’t seem to have been on the site before, and faced with their wide-ranging portfolio it was a challenge to focus in on a narrative that made sense. Founders Bram Buijs, Sven Gerhardt and Steven van der Kaaij joined forces based on their “shared love for typography, material and experimentation” and this passion for fresh creative thinking runs throughout their work.

  9. List

    Creating a cohesive identity for a design conference might not seem like such a tall order, but the reality of producing flyers, bags, programmes and that all-important logo mark for an international event isn’t as simple as you might think. For starters there’s an abundance of conferences out there, each with it’s own unique look and feel, so creating visuals that present a point of difference will always pose a challenge; secondly how on earth do you make a talks timetable look exciting?

  10. List

    Boasting PVC-clad bottoms, surreal jazz photography and beautifully-rendered risograph prints of basketball hoops, Shabazz Projects’ homepage certainly offers a well-curated and striking experience. The LA-based publishing platform was founded by Hassan Rahim and Brian Okarski, releasing art, photography and design-focused books and objects, all with a run of 200 or fewer editions. Stand-out pieces include the Various Basketball Hoops risographs, which put a whimsical spin on these often weary-looking monoliths; and Eric Wrenn and Antje Peters’ Jazz photographs, which place instruments against a dramatic plume of smoke. Hassan and Brian say their aim is to “provoke and surprise,” and from the images on their site alone, they’re certainly not letting themselves down.

  11. Hellotalja_kit-list-image

    Many a blue-sky-thinker and envelope-pusher has been extolling the virtues of meditation and mindfulness to pseudo-spiritually swell their business jargon lately. So it’s refreshing when a beautifully branded, creatively-minded product emerges that promises to offer that lucrative “pause from modern life.”

  12. List

    If all the magazines and small publications that used the internet as their subject matter were dumped on your head it’d be curtains for you – there’s bloody loads of them. Some, like Offscreen, deal with the people that make digital culture happen and try to bring these unsung heroes out from behind their screens into the RGB limelight, others, like French publication Nichons – Nous Dans l’Internet (Tits – We In The Internet) are more conceptually-minded, analysing and assessing the social and cultural phenomena brought about by the ubiquity of technology.

  13. Main

    Setting up a design studio and changing your name to a cool pseudonym is a good two-fingers-up to life on the quiet side. Parisian designer Julien Ducourthial decided to make this leap, and now overseas The Jazzist, offering bold, fluoro design work “serving in fields of graphic design, illustration and art direction in digital & printed media.” When Julien emailed us he told us he was inspired by 8-bit imagery and cartoons, which gave us an immediate inkling that we were going to like his work. Anyone looking to commission a great French designer any time soon? Julien is your man.