Visually’s Marketplace connects thousands of designers with clients seeking to commission infographics and data visualizations. Every week, we feature a member of our designer community here, on the blog. If you are interested in participating, please contact us at blog[at]visual.ly.
Name: Ben Pirotte
On Visually: bpirotte
In Design: 3 years
1. Tell us a bit about yourself: how did you get into design, and how long have you been doing it?
I ended up in design in a very roundabout way. I have always been a photographer and was an avid fan of the National Geographic-style travel/nature photography/photojournalism, and decided that’s what I wanted to do. I went all through high school working on the newspaper and yearbook staffs as a photographer, and was taught a bit of design. It was a secondary skill for me. Then I went to Journalism school at The University of Kansas and continued to shoot, but also took a job as a page designer. After showing a lot of promise in the design world, I quickly moved up to Design Editor, then Art Director of both our daily newspaper, The University Daily Kansan, and our yearly publication, The Jayhawker. I then was awarded an internship through the Society of News Design to work at The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Florida in the graphics department, so it seemed as though design had really found me. I was introduced to the world of infographics through a start up website again run by the University called PoliticalFiber.com, and the rest is history!
2. In 7 words or less, describe your style.
Simple yet versatile.
3. If you could take a seminar with one designer or artist, dead or living, who would that be? Why?
Definitely Leonardo da Vinci. I mean, you’d get a seminar in painting, design, architecture and even human anatomy. The man was a straight-up genius.
4. What’s your favorite color? Why?
This is a tough question, so I’ll have to answer it three-fold: 1. Crimson and blue, the colors of my Alma Mater (The University of Kansas) make a great pair. 2. In clothing, I wear a lot of grey. 3. I really like it when I can incorporate orange into a design for whatever reason.
5. What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in your work and what did you learn from it?
I’d say not having an actual graphic design degree might be my biggest mistake. While it hasn’t inhibited me from working professionally, I feel personally like I might be better if I had studied it.
6. What about your biggest achievement? Tell us about the project you are most proud of in your career so far.
I would definitely say I’m proudest of my ability to work freelance in general. It has allowed me to have the life that I want, traveling basically non-stop! In the past 6 months I’ve lived all over Australia, traveled throughout Northern Europe, came home to Kansas for a bit, am writing this from Sardinia, Italy, I’ll be living in Iceland for a few months, then traveling through more of Europe and Africabefore moving back to Australia by the end of the year! (The Internet is an amazing thing). My favorite project I’ve worked on would have to be a piece I did for an Australian client. I worked with some very important and influential leaders in Australian politics on a piece that could potentially change the entire education system in the whole country. Not only was it fun and challenging, it could change lives. I enjoyed working with that client so much I plan to move back to Australia to work for them more starting later this year, so I’d say it was definitely a success!
7. Who should we feature in this space next?
I think Column Five Media is a fantastic outpost of Infographics. I started seeing their work in GOOD magazine a few years back and always thought their work was top-notch.