Who are you :
My name is Benjamin Gehlen, a Belgian graphic designer who grew up in Brussels and decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean to live and work in Toronto.
I first came to Canada in 2004 to learn english and experience life as an exchange student. The following year, I started a 3 year program in Advertising at ESA St-Luc Bruxelles before moving to Canada late 2008.
Since then, I have been freelancing for a multitude of clients in different fields.
Your current job :
Freelance graphic designer specializing in branding and logo design.
In which city are you located?
A word to define what kind of worker you are :
Perfectionist. I believe in details: Some of them may not necessarily be noticeable to a client, but I believe that unconsciously they will be factors in their appreciation of the project.
What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)
To me, every project starts on paper so my essential tool will always be my pen before moving on to Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesign.
What does your office space look like?
My home office is high up and overlooks the East side of Toronto.
My work office is on the second floor, doesn't have any windows but comes with two happy colleagues, a massive printer, a creaser, a cutter and everything a graphic designer needs to survive most demands.
What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?
I enjoy listening to music that I selected through my Soundcloud. It ranges from Hip Hop to Electro Pop, Soul and Experimental Beats.
Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?
Go through my emails and make a clear list of projects to work on along with their deadlines.
Crossing them off when completed is always a great feeling.
What tips would you give to improve productivity ?
Focus on one project at a time and sketch any ideas that come through your mind, even the "not so good" ones: If not used in your current project, they can always be recycled later.
You're better than your colleagues to:
Save energy. I always turn off everything before I leave the office.
What is the best advice anyone has given you ?
"Make your client happy but don't forget your own happiness."
It is important to please your client but the final result should also reflect your vision. What the public sees is what they will remember you by. As a graphic designer, you have the power to create your own image and branding yourself the way you want is the key to a happy future.
What is your best tip for saving time ?
Be honest. Don't be afraid to ask questions and express your opinions. It will save a lot of time and give you a better understanding of the client's wishes.
What is your routine start and end of the day ?
My day can't start nor end without a smooch to my wife.
Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?
None really but if I could, I would carry my books everywhere (anything from the Viction:ary publishing brand). Even though I get a lot of my inspiration online, I will always prefer flipping pages over scrolling and clicking.