Trial, error and truth is what David Benski’s work is based on. And boy does it look good. The Berlin-based graphic designer’s work has gone from strength to strength since we last wrote about him a year ago, and before that, nearly two years ago. The man behind the dynamic design of Plasma Magazine (made in collaboration with his long term partner in crime Laurens Bauer), Nuremberg-born David has also waved a wand at a bunch of new work for Nike (which we’ll get to in a second), as well as contributing to a multimedia art and design exhibition in Moscow, Zeitgeist 2030.
As we speak to the busy designer, he tells us that Laurens has just moved from Hamburg to Berlin, and the two have just moved into a new studio space. “It’s amazing,” he says, “and now our collaborations will get done much easier and faster.” He proceeds to talk us through a couple of his most recent projects. First off, an in-demand brief from Nike, which tasked the designer with creating a zine for the latest Nike Gyakusou Collection.
Approached by Nike senior creative director Michael Spoljaric, David was presented with a set of images that he would use in his design for the zine. “I loved the images,” he says first and foremost, which is pretty useful when you’re working on a project. The cast in particular caught the designer’s eye, who can be seen engaging in all kinds of sporty motions under the zine’s theme of urban brutalism and field notes. Using behind-the-scenes images shot by Michael, as well as an array of collaged pictures hand-treated by David, the designer crafted together a one-of-a-kind zine embodying both the rawness of the theme as well as David’s playful aesthetic.
During the shoot, the models/runners were also provided with small notebooks which they could doodle in. These scribbles also made it into the final design, adding a hand-rendered quality and a further sense of DIY zine-ness. David also used a typewriter grid to accentuate the project’s personality, sometimes colliding columns with other content in a mish-mash of cool craziness. “They did an amazing job with the footage where they composed a surreal urban brutalist view to the backdrop of Saxon Switzerland,” adds David on the dynamic shoot, which serves as an effective foundation for the textured design.
In another project, the one aforementioned titled Zeitgeist 2030, David was invited to design a poster around what the future will feel like. An apt and interesting project given the current state of pandemic, back then, David was keen to explore how our visual systems may change. The exhibition aims to show how different people from an array of countries and contexts will experience the future, and with this in mind, “the poster deals with the future of visual language by cutting down communication codexes,” explains the designer. The colourful experiments reinterpret formal means of communication like the alphabet, and he jumbles up shapes and patterns so they possess only a small hint of recognisability, but a potent one nonetheless.
Elsewhere, in his long-term work for Plasma Magazine, along with designing the actual publication, David has also recently designed a poster for their online shop. Commemorating more than 150 years of the periodic table of elements, David’s satisfyingly blocky design outlines what everything in our world is made up of, in one trusty poster. For now, given the craziness of the world’s situation, Plasma is one certainty that David can look forward to. He goes on to say what else he is looking forward to, research and exploration being at the top of the list, as well as learning new skills and working on a music project titled Amanda Deff. Finally, he concludes, “But until then, we must all try to deal with this new situation that has got into our lives and try to help each other.”
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.