This is the third year we’ve run our New Visual Artists: 15 under 30 issue. What was once a highly edited list of 20 of the best and brightest young designers is now a deeper exploration of 15 of the most original talents working in visual communications today.
This issue of Print comes at an interesting time. This new group of designers, while undeniably adroit, is part of a generation fully proficient in the art of self-promotion in a digital age. Getting the word out about one’s work is now de rigueur. But at a time when new work is relentlessly blasted out on platforms where seemingly everyone in the room is shouting, is it really possible to break through the volume of voices all vying to captivate and capture attention? Moreover, in the Insta-culture of the early 21st century, how does one navigate through the metadata to find the meteoric? As in years past, that’s exactly what we’ve sought to do here. We’ve gone in quest of craft and cunning ideas and ideals. We’ve looked for substance and style and star-power. The list of Print’s New Visual Artists has become a who’s who of the industry’s leaders, and includes Scott Dadich, Eddie Opara, Alan Dye, Jessica Walsh, Jessica Hische, Frank Chimero and, more recently, Zipeng Zhu, Joe Hollier and Joey Cofone. This year’s 15 New Visual Artists are bold in name and in voice, and are bravely making new work in a new world.
“I love puns, so hiding the ‘15’ literally under ‘30’ seemed like a fun way to showcase the gems we find after digging down.”
Meet New Visual Artist Colin Webber
From: Ellicott City, MD.
Current city: Brooklyn, NY.
Education: School of Visual Arts; BFA, design.
Earliest creative memory: Drawing and doodling, for sure—ever since I can remember. I’d fill sketchbooks and notebooks with made-up characters and comics. In school I’d always draw in the margins on my tests.
Path that led you to design: I was always very particular about the way things looked. I felt a connection to everything from book covers to playing cards, album art and packaging. During my childhood, I collected bottle caps, foreign coins, arcade tickets, etc., because I liked what I would later learn was the design. Now, being in the industry, I love creating and curating a vision that hopefully resonates in that same way with others.
Career thus far, in a nutshell: During school I interned at the Visual Arts Press and Knopf Doubleday. After that I worked part time at the Public Theater and started full time at Penguin Random House.
The key to good design: The key to good design is understanding. The content should drive the design as much as possible. The better you know the project, the better you can fight for your work and explain to a client the choices you made (and why you’re right!).
Work of which you’re most proud: I’d have to say the covers I did for Samuel Bjork’s thriller series. The hardcover got approved pretty quickly and it was my favorite project for the longest time. …When book No. 2 and the paperback for book No. 1 came around, I was crushed to learn that they wanted to see a brand new direction for the series. My art director called me in and gave me the choice to either try something new or give it out to a freelancer for a fresh take. After much thought, I decided to stick with it. Having some extra parameters to work around this time was difficult, and I tried so many different things before finally landing on the cover with the girl’s dangling legs and the gritty hand-rendered type. This new look went over even better for The Owl Always Hunts at Night, where the big piercing eyes pop out at you from the shadows. This experience taught me to never give up and always push yourself. That one last comp really makes a difference, and you’ll be happy you took the time to do it.
Biggest influence: Ephemera and old design from back when everything was done by hand and carefully crafted.
How you would classify your style: Colorful and tactile.
Design hero: Saul Bass.
Favorite artist: It’s hard to pick just one, but I’ve been a fan of Mattias Adolfsson for a long time.
Favorite typographer: Paul Renner.
Favorite writer: Kurt Vonnegut. He was a sassy old grump who knew how to tell a good story. He dabbled in design and rocked a sweet mustache.
What defines you: Humor and a lip ring.
Cause that means the most to you: Climate change.
Biggest fear: Stagnating and settling.
What you want to accomplish before all is said and done: I want to work with people who aren’t afraid to take risks. I’d hate to limit myself to one thing designwise, but I aim to always be improving and taking on new challenges.
Your idea of happiness: Corgi beach day meetups.
The future of design is: Economical, sustainable and beautiful. The mediums will always change but the principles remain the same.
Anything else: Shout out to my wife, Lisa, for always helping me through the rough days and my parents for letting me chase a dream in New York.