Straight out of South Wales comes self-taught graphic designer Ben Arfur. Ben’s adventures in graphic design unfolded when he began Cardiff-based clothing brand and shop Blue Honey and started designing posters on PhotoShop for his club nights. Luckily, it turned out that the designer, who describes himself as “multi-disciplined” is also multi-talented, so it was no surprise to hear that since we last posted about his work back in 2016, labels and musicians have started to pick up on his ever-evolving, constantly fresh style.
“This year everything’s fallen into place; it’s been mental,” Ben tells It’s Nice That. “I’ve been lucky to be able keep my work tightly connected to music, and had the pleasure to work with top brands and musicians. I’ve produced multiple vinyl labels for new producers on FINA Records, and a stint of club posters for Trunkfunk Records out in Gothenburg. I’ve also had the pleasure of recently working with one of my long loved labels, Ninja Tune. There’s a ton of new projects in the pipeline, not to mention my brand, Blue Honey has just opened up a night cafe in Cardiff so I’m looking forward to seeing the way its identity develops. The club posters have taken a bit of a back seat recently: I’ve been working with a number of brands on t-shirt designs, so hopefully they’ll be out in the wild soon enough. I’m also working on release artwork with some exciting musicians, unfortunately I can’t delve too much into that yet, but yeah, it should be a good year.”
Drawing lines between his work with music, Ben says, “for me, I think it’s the unpredictability; like a hearing a song for the first time. You don’t really know where it’s going to end up but nevertheless you’ll get something from it. As with design, I can form an idea pretty quickly, but by the time it develops it’s completely different – a process I find synonymous with music.” Surprisingly though, the designer prefers a quiet working environment. “Despite my work being closely affiliated with music, I tend to work in silence,” he says. “I try to compile experiences into a visual narrative, as I think its important that the design communicates atmosphere as well as necessary details. If I do listen to music, it’s usually something gentle that still lets me think, lately I’ve been bouncing between Ludovico Einaudi and Nils Frahm.”
Recently, Ben branched out into a less expected territory when he added his voice to the growing chatter around the snap election this June by using his profile to encourage Cardiff’s young people to register to vote via a set of posters which borrowed from the visual world of clubbing. Which reminds us – and hopefully you – the clock’s ticking, get registering.
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