Name: Ben Capazo
99designs handle: Forest Giant
Could you tell us about yourself and your story?
I’m originally from a small town on the Ohio/Michigan line. I’ve always been a creative type, and recently went back to school and earned a degree in graphic design. I spent too many years figuring out what I didn’t want to do with my life, and deep down I always wanted to be designing in some way. I just turned 30 and feel like I’m a little bit late to the game.
I’ve only been into “graphic” design for maybe 5 years. Before it was all fine arts, although I have since acquired an Associate Degree in graphic design from the AIC college of design, in Cincinnati Ohio. I feel I have grown greatly in these few years designing, and I hope to continue.
How did you get started in design and when did you find your particular style begin to emerge?
I’ve always been an artist. I started out drawing dinosaurs and ninja turtles when I was real young. Growing up I became obsessed with movie posters, with all my walls being covered. This was a huge influence. Also my father was in the beer and wine business so I can see where my fondness for beer branding has spouted from.
Package design for Laguna Beach Brewery
What brought you to 99designs and what about it appeals to you?
It appeals to me because of the ease of designing from home, and working on the projects that pique my interest. Everyone likes being their own boss. Saves quite a bit of gas money as well.
How did you come up with your 99designs handle?
I just recently have gotten into traditional archery, and would like to start building my own bows someday. I’ve always been an outdoorsy type of person, so I love to go camping with my girlfriend and our two dogs. I also consider myself to be somewhat of a Sasquatch enthusiast, hence the name ForestGiant.
Winning design for 10th District Brewing Co.
What is your 99designs strategy?
I really try to read the brief thoroughly. I try to pick out details that others may have missed, possibly giving me an edge. The devil is often in the details.
What kind of contests get you going? It looks like you have a fondness (or perhaps just a particular success) in beer label design. Why do you think this is?
Beers are just fun. So much opportunity to let loose and create something memorable and cool. I often spend a lot of time in the beer aisle at the supermarket, and have quite a collection of bottles going.
What do you do with your designs that don’t win in contests? How do you deal with the loss?
If I feel they are done particularly well I’ll add them to my online portfolio, if not, they just get filed. It’s nice to come back and look at them with fresh eyes after a few months. Sometimes you can see more easily what should have been done to make it work.
ForestSword’s portfolio poster work from his website
What are your favorite kind of design tasks?
I can’t say I don’t have a sweet spot for beer related design, but I always love doing logos, posters, book covers etc. A well done logo, or design in general, just always intrigues me.
Do you like to listen to music while you design?
I listen to music maybe half of the time. If I’m really concentrating hard on a project, I’ll probably turn it off. I’ve listened to The Wall by Pink Floyd more times than I’d like to admit.
Who is your favorite artistic celebrity?
Drew Struzan. He may not be a “celebrity”, but in the movie poster world he’s the best of the best. He’s done all the Star Wars, Back to the Future, and Indiana Jones movie posters. I think everyone knows his work but not everyone knows who he is.
Design for The Crafter’s Barn
Where do you see yourself with your design in 5 years?
I honestly don’t know. As long as I’m much better in 5 years I’ll be happy.
What kind of advice would you give to designers who are looking to do what you do?
I am still an aspiring designer, but, I would say the core of good design (I feel) is good typography, and that’s more than half the battle. Pay close attention to how a typeface makes you feel. Look at big brands and see how they do their type.