Highlighting The Best Visual Artists, This Week: Caleb Bennett
Written By Chuck LoCascio
Saturdays for Designful Arts will be the new day that we feature new, young, visually talented artists. Today we will be focusing onCaleb Bennett, who has been awarded by Print Magazine as 2012′s New Visual Artist.
Caleb Bennett is the kid from a small town in Texas who walked up to the design director of The New York Times Magazine, introduced himself, and got a call three days later about a job. He wasn’t looking to leave his position as associate art director at Texas Monthly, but of course he took the unexpected offer from Arem Duplessis. “I was in shock myself when he brought me on here, as a designer from Texas at 26,” Bennett says. “But also, I believe you have to go after what you want.” That straightforward attitude matches not just his signature cardigans but also his clean and inviting editorial sensibility.
For a cover story on the disappearance of Air France Flight 447 over the Atlantic Ocean, he paired a disarmingly still seascape with a tiny white headline that floats above it. The cover evokes the essential mystery of the tragedy with graphic precision—and grabs the reader’s throat. Aimed at a similar spot is a spread on werewolves in popular culture. To give the visuals some teeth, he dropped two adjoining strokes in the W below the baseline. In clumsier hands, it could have been a groaner, but it’s pitch-perfect for the story.
Although Bennett easily holds forth on editorial design, there’s a topic that’s even closer to his heart: professional sports logos. “Most of them used to be so considered and iconic, and now they’re all blending together trying to outdo each other,” he says. (He should know: He spent many hours as a teenager drawing them over and over.) He sees a connection between sports teams—some of which have been returning to their golden-era designs—and print publications trying to adapt to the internet. “We have to remember how to expand upon identities and designs that have already proven successful,” Bennett says, “not forgetting the tradition and brand they have previously established.” It’s a debate he’ll likely be a part of for some time to come.
Thoughts On His Approach To Design.
What captures the attention of so many is his attention to using a photo to it’s full potential. Powerful yet subtle photos that really pull on the emotions combined with light font to support the photo. Clean lines and colors give the design another level of complexity yet maintaining an overall sense of simplicity. His approach to each design seems to be uniquely different from the next, keeping a consistent level of creativity with each design. Whether it is positioning of the photos, font, enhancing the color, or simply leaving most of the design to one black and white photo, people really seem to connect with Caleb Bennett’s designs and The New York Times really found a great visual artist who was once from a small town in Texas.