If you’re the kind of person who is sceptical by nature, you may well have been put off our recent competition with the Design Museum in London: a £1000 and a £500 printing voucher covering all of our services up for grabs, and all you needed to do was watch the Designs of the Year Nominations – which you might have done anyway – and vote for your favourite video?! Is that really all? Must be a catch!
Well, it might have sounded too good to be true, but it wasn’t. If you watched the video and then entered your favourite in the field below, you were in with a chance of winning. One lucky young man named Ben Slater did just that, and bagged the runner-up £500-voucher.
As it turns out though, Basingstoke-native Ben Slater (now in London), is more than just any old competition participant. He is a fully-fledged graphic designer and art director for pioneering international magazines. Not just that, he works as a graphic designer for Richie Hawtin and music technology company Liine – and even studied architecture at university before starting his career…
In short, he sounded like a thoroughly interesting bloke. So much so, in fact, that we thought we’d make him work a bit for his voucher and give us an interview. So in a way, perhaps our competition did have a bit of a catch!
Ben, it’s all very well winning a competition somewhere online, but have you ever been to the Design Museum “IRL” and, if so, what did you like about it?
Yes I’ve been to the Design Museum a number of times, and always found their exhibitions inspiring and forward thinking. I also love the magnetic white building, mixing the Thames waterfront vibe with the contemporary designs within.
By the same token, SAXOPRINT is an almost entirely internet-based operation: had you ever come across online printing services before the competition?
I use a lot of print companies, coordinating with them via internet and phone, but they always have a physical shop. Purely online printing services is an interesting idea which I’m excited about exploring, especially now a lot of the biggest online retailers are thriving. Certainly I’m impressed with their website – super-clear, functional, with a strong brand and a wide range of services offered.
Have you ever done your own printing (like screen printing, etc.)?
I have touched on screen printing a few times. I love the input you get into the product, but also the unique variations and details carried through into the output.
Ben Slater, glass magazine cover
Tell us about the projects and jobs you are currently working on. What do you most like about them?
I’m working on four main projects at the moment. Firstly we are building the next issue of Glass Magazine, an exciting time when we always work so hard to squeeze the gap on perfection! Secondly, I’m working on quite a few Richie Hawtin projects with his team, and it’s always a pleasure working with such talented and forward thinking people – this includes releases by people like Plastikman and Minus, upcoming events, and a few things that are still under wraps…
Give us a sneak preview?
Ben Slater – ENTER Ibiza, poster for week 1
Well, we can try…
Anyway, I’m also developing a new music app with the cutting edge music tech company Liine. And finally I’m just putting to bed the next issue of WeTheUrban, a cutting edge viral Tumblr magazine led by one of the youngest Editors-in-Chief in history, the spirited Willie Greene. It should be available online and in print very soon.
If you could meet any designer, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Alexander McQueen – his work is such an inspiration and I have a few questions I would have loved to ask and dig a little deeper. I also really admire what Tomato, Yayoi Kusama, Kate Moross, and Jack Featherstone are doing and would love to hang out with them over some tea.
Speaking of hanging out, cups of tea, and suchlike: how do you best like to work?
Work best in the morning – I find the really good ideas spring to mind when the brain is fresh from rest and the world is quiet. I find early mornings are also a bit of a vacuum of calm and no stress for me. I can make a lot of headway on the day, and then, if possible, catch a quick powernap during the day.
Ben Slater, vinyl album cover for Human Album by Max Cooper
What’s your favourite painting/photo?
I love all the photos by Guy Bourdin.
Ben Slater, glass magazine cover
And your favourite book/magazine/record cover?
I love Sagmeister & Walsh’s new book, Interview Magazine, and the Jamie xx album cover. I may be a bit biased, but I also love our Plastikman EX and Max Cooper’s Human album covers – they were a lot of fun to make and it was an exciting creative process.
Favourite colour and shape?
My favourite colour is black (black clothes, white home, colourful life), and my favourite shape is a circle.
Colourful life, eh? Well, what will you be using your voucher to do?
I’m thinking about printing some artworks for our new flat – or might print some birthday cards or Christmas cards for people.