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Work / Graphic Design

Graphic designer David Benski modifies typographic visual systems to tell stories

“For me, it’s the constant collection of people, vibes, technology and culture that pushes me to respond in a certain way,” explains Berlin-based graphic designer David Benski. Originally from Nuremberg, David’s work flits between earnest typographic treatments, affable illustrative graphics and experimental editorial layouts, responding to his surroundings and telling stories through his continually developing visual language.

David found graphic design through the familiar routes of skateboarding and music. “Certain T-shirt graphics and album covers influenced me in my teens and I really wanted to make something like them by myself,” he recalls. Now, he frequently collaborates with other designers on everything from moving image to book design, for clients ranging from Adidas to Tush magazine.

“I always start with typography and, these days, I’m trying to focus on the language part,” David tells It’s Nice That, “How the story is going to be told, and how it is going to be presented.” This focus on language stems from his love of music and film, in which he finds narrative inspiration. “You can tell the same story in so many different ways and even mix languages,” he outlines. To facilitate his want to tell stories, David sculpts and modifies visual systems for each project, creating distinguished building blocks by which to structure his outcomes.

When working on The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole in collaboration with Laurens Bauer, for example, David appropriated the stringent and formal design of a law book. The anthology contains a wide range of creative expressions including poems, essays, photos and artworks all of which relate to the management of natural resources or which discuss fundamental views on nature. Bilingual (English and Norwegian), the publication’s somewhat stern design reflects its serious topic, with Pantone blue used throughout to mirror its title.

Although clearly able to produce clean, thoughtful visuals, David’s work for Lodown magazine demonstrates his more unorthodox side. Having worked on the magazine since 2013, often alongside art director Oliver Zuber, his work here morphs and adapts to fit its content. With typography that breaks conventions and a changing format, the magazine features popular culture and boardsports. “Lodown magazine is legendary,” David explains, “it’s been around since 1995 and will be forever. Paper or screen. It’s one of the last magazines with real attitude.”

Whether offbeat or reigned in, David’s designs are distinctive due to their exuberance, an energy that can only be produced by someone constantly trying new things. This year, he and his good friend/long term collaborator Laurens are due to start their eponymous studio, providing a chance to share a space and work on bigger projects together. Our two cents: keep your eyes peeled for studio Laurens Bauer & David Benski…

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