Ben Johnston is a Canadian-born designer who grew up in Cape Town, South Africa and has been working in Toronto as a freelance designer for the past three years. We talked about how he ended up in graphic design after a brief stint of studying industrial design in school. Ben talks about the work he's doing now, the realities of being a freelancer and the often difficult process involved to land on the type of work you really love to do.
Tell me a little about what you do and what fills your days at the moment.
I’m a freelance designer and lately my work has started to become a lot more multidisciplinary. As opposed to doing just digital work, I’ve been doing a lot of mural painting and exhibition work as well. So, silk screens, hand painted work and hand drawn things--very mixed media. Opening myself up to different types of work has opened the door to some great opportunities and being able to work with some great clients.
You’re entirely self-taught, is that right?
Yeah, I studied industrial design and product design for about a year and a half but I didn’t really go to college much [laughs]. So, I decided to drop out, it just wasn’t really my field. I enjoyed experimenting with different materials and building stuff but I’ve always been more focused on the graphic side of things. I left school, got a Mac and just taught myself the programs and went from there.