Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Meet Our Judges: Benjamin Bours, Art Director

During his studies at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) his goal was to join one of the leading design firms in New York as a brand designer. While his love for magazines, the design, the photography had always been there he never considered it as a career path. Close to graduation he stumbled upon the Society of Publication Designers annuals and could see that designing for magazines was a lot like building a brand. Upon graduation the resumes went out to design firms but it just happened there was an opening at GQ magazine, he got the job and spent the next five years reshaping what he thought about design.

Next came Bloomberg where he was art director for the Pursuits platform while also working on Businessweek. After a couple of years he headed back West to work for Wired. His job there entailed not only being the art director for the magazine but also working on webpages, videos and daily illustrations.

As an amateur illustrator he enjoyed commissioning artwork and working with artists—he’s always had a long roster of illustrators to go to. Personally he was instrumental in developing a design system to create artwork for Wired’s Ideas platform. Icons that required a fast, sometimes same day turnaround. Relying on their own icon illustrations as well as picking from Noun Project’s vast archive and a icon suite by Luzi Type the team could tackle abstract concepts with clean, graphic visuals.

Treating icons as design elements helped overcome the lack of training as an illustrator. Not only was there work for him at GQ but New York Magazine and Consumer Reports came calling. His go-to for inspiration is Gerd Arntz which also helped him better understand basic human forms and other isotypes.

For design inspiration he enjoys Coverjunkie, the up-to-date collection of print covers from around the world, he’ll listen to The Stack, a Monocle podcast and for typography Typewolf, It’s Nice That and a small blog, Dark Side of Typography.

Awards have followed Ben every step of the way including The Society of Publication Designers, GraphisCommunication Arts, Type Directors Club and Print.

We are pleased to have Ben join our jury, his design background and well-rooted appreciation for illustration makes him an ideal judge. Ben is joined by fellow art directors Nathan HuangKatja Kollmann, Victoria Bee and executive design director Syndi Becker. Illustrators Rafael AlvarezTatsuro KiuchiEmile HolmewoodCecilia RuizNatalie PudalovThomas Danthony and Takahisa Hashimoto round out our distinguished panel of judges.

Benjamin has just recently moved on to his new position at Apple.

Photo by Evan Ortiz

Our show is open to all illustrators, art directors, publishers, educators, students in all countries for commissioned, no-commissioned and personal work produced or published prior to our show deadline.

3x3 International Illustration Annual No. 17
Deadline: March 27, 2020 (midnight EST)
Late Deadline: April 3, 2020 (late fees apply)

Open for entries

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