2011 NVA Winner: Brett Tabolt

By the Print staff

Title/Type of Work: Graphic Designer
From: Clifton Park, New York
Lives in: Brooklyn, New York
Age: 25
Education: BFA, Graphic Design, University of Illinois

When asked what distinguishes his work from others, graphic designer Brett Tabolt responds, “That’s a very poignant question,” and one he says he would answer in one of two ways… Either “I am concerned with what’s next and not with what’s current” or “I did it.” Pretty simple and straightforward for someone whose ultimate goal is to produce work that, he says, “has no boundaries.”

How Big Is Walmart? combined posters.

He credits the work of Dutch master Karel Martens as having had the greatest influence on this design philosophy, explaining, “He explored the form and the medium of graphic design for its own sake. He created work that isn’t in service for anything but itself while exploring the medium’s limits.” And Tabolt’s work certainly exhibits qualities of his idol. He maintains a fresh and timeless appeal through the use of simple, clean typography, with an emphasis on legibility and the inventive use of repeated simple geometricshapes. The current assistant art director of Surface magazine (which they just redesigned) has produced work for MTWTF, Triboro Design, The New York Times Magazine, Bureau TM, and Ninth Letter.

As for how he’d describe his current practice, Tabolt explains that it rests in a somewhat temporal state. “It is in its early stages right now and exists between the margins of when I work for others. My practice is my work that I feel has no compromise.” Outside of graphic design, Tabolt cites Stanley Odyssey as inspiration. “I find movies set in space to be interesting because there is a collision of the incredibly functional and incredibly fantastic.” Fitting for someone who ultimately seeks to create work that, with no limits, makes no apologies.

I find movies set in space to be interesting because there is a collision of the incredibly functional and incredibly fantastic.

Rebel Waltz. Unrealized project for MTWTF.

Click here for more about Brett.

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