YG15 Showcase: Ben J. Crick

By Brett McKenzie Posted on Nov 09, 2017

Shining the spotlight on this year's Young Guns winners

Young Guns 15, arguably the most prestigious portfolio-based competition for creatives under 30, is going out with a bang! This year's winners were unveiled last week, and it's safe to say that this is one of the most eclectically talented classes in Young Guns history. 

Next week is the traditional Young Guns ceremony and party, (you've scored your tickets, right?) and nearly all of this year's winners will be travelling from across the globe, across the country, or across the Williamsburg Bridge to attend. Ahead of the festivities, the One Club for Creativity is highlighting many of the winners you'll be able to meet.


Graphic Designer
Based In: New York, NY
Originally from: Sydney, Australia


What does winning this award mean to you?

Winning is an absolute honor. I’ve always considered Young Guns to be a particularly prestigious award; the standards are high, and there are only a handful of winners each year. I think the fact that this award is based on a body of work rather than a single project means the most to me — this idea that I was chosen based on a range of works as opposed to just a piece.

I have entered once before a few years ago when I moved to NY from Australia. My portfolio back then was quite different to the one I entered with this year, the work was smaller and its impact was relatively modest. Since that time my understanding of the role graphic design can play in the world has evolved. There is often this notion in the design community that scale and impact means sacrificing quality and craft. I refuse to accept that, and I think the work coming out of that ethos is what gave me an edge this time.

"There is often this notion in the design community that scale and impact means sacrificing quality and craft. I refuse to accept that, and I think the work coming out of that ethos is what gave me an edge this time."

What sorts of challenges have you encountered to get where you are today?

Many, many challenges. Too many to list here! The way I try to overcome such challenges is pretty straight forward though. First, I think being a successful graphic designer requires a particular kind of masochistic optimism. Contrary to popular belief, I don't think passion is the primary motivation for good design — though it does play a big role. I think dissatisfaction is more of a driver for me. It's the feeling that things can and should be better (that's the optimism) and the willpower to continue working on them when you have no idea how to get them there (that's the masochism).

To put it another way, in the end the quality of your own work is usually a personally imposed standard, rather than a client prescribed one. That means a mix of hard work, personal sacrifice, and pure stubbornness usually wins the day. I would add to that a little luck, and an understanding and trust in your own instinct also go along way.

Since Young Guns 15 allowed you to submit six projects for consideration, some self-curation was required. How did you decide what to enter?

Curating myself was a real challenge. In my eyes, part of being a successful graphic designer is walking the line between flexibility and consistency. I wanted to show a breadth of discipline, skill, and scale of work, while still having a clear point of view. It was a painful process deciding which projects best represented those ideals.

Can you name any past Young Guns winners who you look up to?

I can, but I won't. I admire and respect everyone for all different reasons. I don't want to play favorites! What I will say is it’s inspiring to see what past Young Guns have gone on to achieve — it sets the next benchmark for me.

What keeps you going, creatively speaking? What drives you and your work?

Perpetual curiosity, a persistent feeling of dissatisfaction (see question 2). Probably some level of ADHD. If I wanted to sound wise, I would say something like: everything can be better, perfection doesn't exist. Both an inspiring and terrifying thought.

Now that you’re a Young Guns winner, what’s next?

Quit design. I did it. I'm out. I'm going to pursue my passion for lazy Sundays and takeout food.

Just kidding. Not really sure, but I have a few ideas. Roughly speaking, do more work, better.  

Ben and his fellow winners will be honored at the Young Guns 15 Ceremony + Party, taking place on Thursday, November 16 at Highline Stages in Manhattan's Meatpacking District. 

Young Guns 15 is presented in proud partnership with Shutterstock, Levene/Leavitt and MTV.



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