Monday, March 21, 2011

Design It Together: Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis

Design it Together is a design studio based in Troy, NY featuring original artwork & clothing designs as well as providing graphic design services to clients. The artists behind this collection are Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis. Ben came up with the idea of designing an original line of screen printed apparel when he was touring with his band, performing, but also designing merchandise for the band, and other musicians. He admired the work of some of the artists who were vending in the circuit, which he describes as t-shirts which have “constructive messages that young people would be interested in.” Having just moved back to rural upstate, NY, he was inspired by his surroundings and decided to populate the line with designs that spoke to themes of nature and renewable energy.

Ben and Taylor met when they were both at in-between points in their lives. Ben's band had just broken up, and Taylor, a graphic designer, had been sharing a studio with other freelance designers whom had just disbanded. Working together at the St. Rose bookstore led them to build a solid friendship and go into business together. Taylor brought more graphics to the collection, and the line is now expanding to bring even more artists into the mix. When you visit their website, you can vote on which latest design will go into production and be available for sale.

With Taylor's background in graphic design, and Ben's in fine art, the team started working on other projects together. Last summer they established Design it Together, a design studio cooperative, and completed some projects you may be familiar with. They recently designed and launched the Anchor No.5 website, and are helping Petra realize her vision of branding the store, including the boutique's mascot, a flirtatious, sailor, pin-up girl. Ben and Taylor describe Petra as their typical client, a small business owner who's shop has it's own style and persona, but needs help executing the necessary marketing materials. Ben and Taylor function as creative directors who work with a network of designers, artists, and programmers to tackle a variety of projects.

Their latest, very exciting expansion is the addition of a new printer. Not many studios in the U.S. use this type of machine, which produces a very unique and unconventional look. They hope to use it for their own work, the work of other artists, and for the printed material they produce for clients. We will undoubtedly see more great things to come from the Design it Together team, Ben Karis-Nix and Taylor Gillis. Make sure you stop into Anchor No.5 Boutique this Friday for Troy Night Out, or any time in April to check out the featured t-shirt line, Run We Must.

Kristin Gallo

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