Regulars / Nicer Tuesdays

Ben Ditto on art directing Dazed Beauty to be “uncomfortable and new and different”

Art director, designer and creative consultant Ben Ditto joined us at April’s Nicer Tuesdays to take us through his art direction that led to the launch of publishing powerhouse Dazed Media’s new digital and print platform, Dazed Beauty.

With over ten years experience in the industry, Ben told us how he came to the project after being introduced to Dazed Media’s editorial director Bunny Kinney by makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench. The initial idea, he told us, was to create a beauty platform totally immersed in “the future of identity” and dedicated to “changing the narrative of beauty from a prescriptive version of what we think beauty should be” to a new understanding of beauty as personal identity. What they’ve ended up with is something, in Ben’s own words, “uncomfortable and new and different” which celebrates alternative forms of beauty in the digital age.

On the night, Ben discussed the platform’s launch for which the team built a digitised, interactive landscape of an alien planet on which new ideas of beauty and identity could spawn, as well as working with CGI artists to turn beauty icons into otherworldly characters, developing face filters with AR specialists and conducting a photoshoot with Kylie Jenner using images produced by a generative adversarial network to style her makeup and hair.

Even with this emphasis on emerging computer technologies, Ben also acknowledged the necessity of print in the beauty media world. “Having done all the CGI stuff I wanted to show we could do straight-forward beauty things as well”, he said of the art direction for the printed magazine.

The digital, however, is Dazed Beauty’s bread and butter. “We know about all of this stuff now,” Ben said, so it’s about figuring out how CGI, AR and AI intersect with human experience, and at what point they “become indistinguishable from the human touch”. For Ben, this kind of technology has a big part to play in the future of beauty and aesthetic identity – “I don’t want to scare anyone, but the machines are coming, for sure”.

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