New Designers returns this June & July for its 32nd edition. The show, based at the Business Design Centre in Angel showcases fresh thinking talent from the UK’s leading design courses and the most entrepreneurial new businesses. We at The Holborn are excited to be part of this year’s show.
This year the show welcomes over 3,000 of this year’s most creative and innovative design graduates from across the nation. They will exhibit alongside over 75 emerging designers in their first year of business, selected for the entrepreneurial showcase One Year On. And we at The Holborn have sat down with a handful of these designers for a series of interviews in the build up to launch of the show in late June. This week we welcome designer Benjamin Craven.
Tell us about your work and how you came to set your company up?
Well it all started when I was around sixteen, I was heavily into design and streetwear, I started designing really basic graphics for T-shirts, I then posted on Facebook and everyone went crazy and wanted one. From then on it started to progress and I kept on running the clothing brand until I was around twenty/twenty-one, I made a nice amount of money from it and never needed a ‘real’ job. I went on to study Printed Textiles at Leeds College of Art as I wanted to learn more and really push the boat out in terms of textiles and design. Those three years really opened my eyes and pushed me in a much different direction, for as long as I could remember I wanted to focus on Fashion but by the time I finished university I wanted to do interiors and much bigger things! That’s when I decided to start posting daily photos on Instagram and build up an audience, from then I started to do commissions, prints and so on.
The reason why I do it is because I cant stand being told what to do by somebody else, I want that freedom to create what I want, its even more of a bonus when somebody wants to purchase it!
What have been your chief influences when designing?
The outdoors and the environment plays a huge influence in my design process, from bold primary colours to textures and architectural structures. It sounds silly but the simplest ordinary things inspire me, it was just the other day I was taking pictures of the colour combinations in a petrol station or a yellow cone against a concrete wall, I’m forever taking quick snaps on my phone and documenting it all. Then sometimes a lot of my designs can be totally random, a lot of my scenic pieces tend to be based on places I’ve been or places I wish existed, I love the idea of creating a place nobody has been, it creates a kind of euphoric feeling. Oh and music, music plays a huge part in influencing my designs and processes.
How does texture and materiality play a role in your work?
Well I feel like texture, pattern and colour play I huge part in how someone feels, what mood it puts you in and why you like it. I try and keep my designs bright and colourful, something you should enjoy and find fun. When designing, depending on the colour pallet I tend to use natural everyday textures always tend to creep in, this grounds you and makes you feel at ease, somewhat satisfying.
You are part of the One Year On exhibition at New Designers? How has the past year been and what role has last year played over the past 12 months?
Its been rather interesting, I was working a nine to five graphic design job in London. (my first ever proper job!) I was getting sick and tired of it so I decided to apply for New Designers, I got accepted so I moved back to Leeds (my hometown) I got a creative in resident space at my old university so I could create and be free again! At the same time I’ve been freelancing and trying to find that balance between paid work and my own; I’ve got a real taste for what its like to be working off my own back. So the past 12 months have been a bit crazy and manic, I’m excited to show everyone what I’ve been working on!
Who have been your biggest influences in developing your business?
I’d say my parents, my Dad being freelance and owning his own multi media company has always inspired me to work for myself and be your own boss in a sense.
Camille Walala is also a huge inspiration in how she has gone about setting up her own business, so bold and fun! That’s also another influence, having fun, I don’t see the point in creating or even working if I’m not enjoying myself, it always shows in the work I think.
There are loads of other creatives which inspire and influence me. I used to be heavily into graffiti and still am but watching artists such as Felipe Pantone and Hense really make themselves a creative icon, they are killing it at the moment and traveling all over the world doing what the love, that’s a huge influence!
If you could offer any advice for designers exhibiting for the first time this year what would it be?
Be yourself, smile and be confident. Shows/exhibitions are important, not just to show off you’re work but to talk to other creatives, networking is key and you never know who you might meet. For me coming out of a show I like to have a body of contacts, future collaborations and even potential jobs.
What is in the future for you and your company?
Carry on creating and expanding the company, more products and bigger commissions/installations. – I also aim to have my own multi purpose design studio based in Leeds, this will be full of like minded creative who all bounce off each other. I just want to create and sell my own work for as long as possible.
Interview by Morgan Hamilton-Griffin
New Designers : Part 1: 28 June – 01 July | Part 2: 05 – 08 July
Business Design Centre, Islington, London, N1
Use code NDHOLBORN to get 25% off day tickets in advance for £10.50 instead of £16 on the door. Book online now at https://goo.gl/wUUkY2