Eric Benson was born in Arizona and raised in Mid-Michigan where he later received his BFA in graphic and industrial design from the University of Michigan in 1998. He worked professionally as a UI/UX designer at Razorfish and Texas Instruments before he received his MFA in design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. His MFA thesis became the internationally recognized and award-winning sustainable design website www.re-nourish.com. His work with Re-nourish translated into an academic career where he currently is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and teaching at Illinois laid the foundation to create the Fresh Press Agri-Fiber Paper Lab. Fresh Press explores the potential of papermaking to be zero waste, environmentally sustainable, and a catalyst for a thriving local economy. Benson has published and lectured internationally on the importance of sustainable design. His work has also garnered numerous design awards and has been seen in notable venues like The Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and RISD.
- Flyspace 2: TableThe second phase of this project focused on using only environmentally sensitive materials (industrial felt, recycled steel, & organic cotton) while tasking each discipline involved to explore their own identity in relation to patterns and structure (with an emphasis on the wearable and domestic).
- Flyspace: Shadow DressFLYSPACE 1: In order to advance the trajectory of each individual discipline, could the architect and graphic designer instead create a solution not showcasing an artifact recognizable specifically to each discipline? Shouldn’t this interdisciplinary venture result in a new exploration instead of a building or a book? This project explores such a collaboration between an architect and graphic designer.
- Onward RadioOnward Radio is dedicated to discussing and promoting socially conscious design. Hosts Eric Benson and Yvette Perullo dissect the intersection of social, sustainable and service design with experts from across the globe in 25-35 minutes – your commute to work or home. Onward Radio features news, interviews, and tutorials on a more responsible design practice every other Wednesday. We hope to help weave responsible design principles into the creative practice starting today and onward. You can l
- Fresh Press BrandingWe want to change the paper supply chain from forest to farm. At Fresh Press, we explore and enact the potential of regional sustainable agricultural fiber waste as paper and paper products. Watch our video to learn more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1EYXIOGXHh8 Our paper is in the Peace Paper Private Archives at Robert B. Haas Arts Library, Yale University.
- Re-nourishRe-nourish is an award-winning 501(c) that advocates for increased awareness & action for sustainable systems thinking in the communication design community. Illustrations by Veronica Pham Site design and content by Eric Benson and Yvette Perullo A “wonderful web app where designers can figure out the optimum way to utilize printing with as little waste as possible.” – Stefan Sagmeister (Sagmeister & Walsh) My TEDxUIUC talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh0vvPVGgU8
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Projects credited in
- Eric BensonI hadn’t taken a holiday in four years. My job was all-consuming. I led six accounts and had twenty direct reports. I ate out every day at the greasy food trucks nearby. I gained 15 kilos. I was lonely, overworked, tired, and feeling sicklier every week. Jacob called me one Sunday. He wanted a pint at The Tipperary Inn. There, he begged me to take some time off. He slid me an address for a place thirty kilometres away. He said it would save my life. I booked a room for the following weekend. N1
- Eric BensonPops died eight years ago. For years, Mom did her best at keeping the two of us afloat, but the day I turned 13, she gave up. She shuffled out of the door to work and stumbled back blacked out. I was left alone to scavenge for food and navigate the confusing terrain of my changing body and emotions. From then on, my life was coordinated chaos, drudging as a maid while failing my classes. Since studying didn't pay rent I dropped out. Things are never tidy for me, yet I fantasize about a better3
- Eric BensonRoger was tough. He wasn’t that big, but as he grew up playing on the streets of Terrytown, he knew how to take care of himself. He could recognize trouble before it happened. That was the key – avoid needing to defend oneself. Roger didn’t consider himself smart, just aware. He could read a situation at a glance. He knew just by how someone talked, that he needed to keep moving. He didn’t much care for small talk anyway, except if it was with Joe. Joe was 75 and told him stories about the world5
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Associate Professor of Graphic DesignThe University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Champaign, United StatesFull Time
Responsible for faculty teaching assignments and the formulation and execution of the curricular concerns of the Program, provide leadership in the long term strategic planning for the Program, to represent the Program to other campus units, prospective students and faculty, and others outside the University, report on the teaching and research of the faculty currently teaching courses in the Program, and assist in matters regarding promotion and tenure and the assembling of all relevant recommendations and documents for submission to the Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Design ConsultantWhole Foods Market
- Austin, United StatesFreelance
My position at Whole Foods is to provide concepting for current and ongoing corporate projects. I am currently in charge of creating the look of the in-store holiday signage and print collateral (recipe books, and organic informational guides). All of the work is printed on 100% post-consumer paper and printed with vegetable inks to keep with the company goals of health and sustainability for our planet.
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- Graphic Design