• About: Ben Biondo

    Graphic Designer Ben Biondo makes type and color sing with a pared-down style that channels his hometown of Costa Mesa, California. We visited Ben to take a look inside his awesome Costa Mesa home and to chat with him about life on the West Coast, learning to surf, and how to keep things simple. 
    Photos by Kristian Punturere 

    Who is Ben Biondo?
    A designer and maker of things originally from Grand Rapids, MI currently living in Southern California.

    Tell us about life in Costa Mesa.
    Life in Costa Mesa is laid back. It’s easy to get around, the ocean is a mile away, and LA is close enough to hop up to for a show or to hang with friends. The weeks here consist of a few morning surf sessions and a whole lot of design. The weekends are pretty much beach days with friends and exploring about with my lady.

    When did you first realize you wanted to be a graphic designer?
    I think have always been conscious of design in one way or another. Way back in elementary school I was really into coloring books, I had this Garfield one that I was very particular about. After that, I always had some sort of sketchbook or notepad with me and drawing became an obsession. I spent my first two years of art school studying illustration and found myself trying to make my work very symmetrical, clean and almost mechanical. I then became more and more attracted to graphic design. I realized there was a whole world of things I had not yet explored – typography, grid systems, the list goes on. I’ve been jamming on it ever since.

    Are there any artists or designers that have inspired your work?
    A couple of designers I dig are Jon Contino and the boys at LAND. They have been and continue to be big inspirations for me through their process, content and style. I am inspired by people who always seems to be making things in a variety of forms – Donald Glover and Chaz Bundick are two prime examples of this sort of creativity in my mind. Chaz makes music, shoots photos, started a record label, does graphic design, etc. I like the idea of not just being creative in one way or another, but rather living a creative life.

    Can you walk us through your process a bit? How does a design start for you?
    It all depends on the project, honestly. To start I go back and forth between looking at some stuff on the internet (getting inspired a bit), listening to music and noodling around in my sketchbook. It is a nice way to start to gather my thoughts. From there I’ll start working on my computer and start flushing out ideas and trying them out in all sorts of sizes, colors, and layouts. I always seem to have a few projects I am working on at one time. I find myself constantly hopping around between them. It is fun that way, going from one style to the next, from the computer to paper… like juggling, but with making things.

    Your work is set apart by your fresh color choices. You use a lot of pinks and blues in particular. How did you develop your distinct palette?
    My palette has been developing since I was an illustrator - over time, through different influences. I have always been drawn to non-traditional color schemes. I like how working within a realm of colors allows for my work to feel consistent even if the pieces are not related. Pastels tones and the more retro feeling colors have always felt right and seemed to work with what I make, but then again, I do love a classic black and white design. A lot of times the colors I use for piece will be chosen after the design is done. Once I feel good about the design I will start playing around with the palette and matching it to the feeling of the rest of the piece.

    How long have you been surfing?
    Since the beginning of the year and man, do I enjoy it.  A few good friends took me under their wings, showed me the ways and that was that. I bought my 9’4” Dano and am in the water a few times a week now. My advice is that if you live by the sea...get your body in it.

    Any essential spots to stop by on a weekend trip to Costa Mesa?
    Start your day off with a juice from the boys at PorroVita. For a late lunch you are going to want to grab some Poke from Bear Flag Fish Co. And finally, head to Casa to for a choice cocktail to end your day. At some point in between all of that, get yourself to the beach.

    Can you tell us about I Pet That Dog? We kind of love it.
    First, you should know that I have never had a dog (or any kind of pet for that matter) but I think they are incredible. I don’t know what it is within me but every time I see a dog I am bit overjoyed and want to pet it. Two years ago I saw a hound tied up outside a grocery store in Portland and asked Kayley to snap a photo of me with it. The rest was history. My hope is that one day Ellen will have me on her show and release 15-35 hounds my way and I would be allowed to keep one. But for now, it is just my lady taking photos of me petting stranger’s pups, and I am ok with that. 

    Any recent projects you’re excited about?
    Absolutely. For the last 2 years I have been working with photographer, Parker Fitzgerald and floral designer, Riley Messina on a project called Overgrowth. We are in the midst of producing our second installment of that project which includes exhibitions of the works in Japan, a 160 page book and a few other items set to be released in October. 

    Also working on a little something called “Some Days” with Kayley that I am pretty excited about. That, and of course a bunch of other things.

    What’s next for you?
    Keep on making things. Never Not Have Fun.