Eric Benson

Educator, designer, author, papermaker

Eric Benson

Eric Benson

Associate Professor Graphic Design at University of Illinois

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Eric Benson was born in Arizona and raised in Mid-Michigan where he later received his BFA in graphic and industrial design from the University of Michigan in 1998. He worked professionally as a UI/UX designer at Razorfish and Texas Instruments before he received his MFA in design from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006. His MFA thesis became the internationally recognized and award-winning sustainable design website www.re-nourish.org. His work with Re-nourish translated into an academic career where he currently is an Associate Professor of Graphic Design at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and teaching at Illinois laid the foundation to create the Fresh Press Agri-Fiber Paper Lab. Fresh Press explores the potential of papermaking to be zero waste, environmentally sustainable, and a catalyst for a thriving local economy.

Benson has published and lectured internationally on the importance of sustainable design. His work has also garnered numerous design awards and has been seen in notable venues like The Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, the Hammer Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, and RISD.


Experience

Chair, Graphic Design Program at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
August 2015 – May 2020 Champaign, IL
Co-Founder & Chief Researcher at Fresh Press
Feb 2012 – Present Champaign, IL
Co-Founder & Principal at Re-nourish, LTD.
April 2006 – Present Tewksbury, MA
Associate Professor of Graphic Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
May 2012 – Present Champaign, IL
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
August 2006 – May 2012 Champaign, IL
Contract Print Designer at Whole Foods Market
Aug 2005 – Dec 2005 Austin, TX
Senior Web Designer at Texas Instruments
March 2002 – Aug 2004 Dallas, TX
Senior Web Designer at Dawson & Duncan
Nov 2001 – March 2002 Dallas, TX
Senior UI/UX Designer at Razorfish
March 2000 – Feb 2001 Cambridge, MA
Graphic Designer at Lexicom Publishing
Dec. 1998 – Feb 2000 Ann Arbor, MI

Education

MFA Design at University of Texas
August 2004 – May 2006 Austin, TX
BFA Graphic & Industrial Design at University of Michigan
August 1993 – May 1998 Ann Arbor, MI

Awards

2019
Graphic Design Award, GDUSA
2017
Excellence in Innovation Award, SSC
2017
Merit Award, UCDA
2013
(Re)Design Award, AIGA
2013
Silver Medal, International Design Awards
2012
Award of Excellence, UCDA
2011
Winner, Poster Heroes
2009
(Re)Design Award, AIGA
2009
Award of Excellence, 16th Annual Communicator Awards
2008
Bronze Award Winner, Admissions Marketing Report (AMR)
2009
People’s Design Award Finalist, Cooper-Hewitt
2009
Winner, American Corporate ID
2009
Gold Award Winner, Admissions Marketing Report (AMR)
2008
Gold Merit Award, UCDA
2007
Silver Merit Award, UCDA
2007
Merit Award Winner, Admissions Marketing Report (AMR)
2007
Mission Sustainability Winner, German Council for Sustainable Development
2006
First Prize, Foresight Design Initiative

Exhibitions

2019
The Alchemy of Paper at Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, IN
2018
Fresh Press at McLean Count Arts Center, Bloomington, IL.
2017
Paper, Paper, Paper at Taos Center for the Arts, Encore Gallery, Taos, NM
2017
Pulp as Portal: Socially Engaged Hand Papermaking at The Center for Book Arts, New York, NY
2014
Social Paper at Columbia College, Chicago, IL
2014
Green Patriot Posters: The Revolution Will Be Designed at Design Museum Boston, Boston, MA
2013
Printing Green: American Print Alliance at Illges Gallery, Columbus State University, Columbus, GA
2013-2016
Graphic Advocacy: International Posters for the Digital Age at University Galleries, MCAD, Boston, MA
2012-2014
Graphic Design: Now in Production at Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN
2011
The Wearable Arts Awards at City Hall Galleria, Port Moody, Canada
2010
The Great Oil Leak Show at Bricks & Bombs Gallery, Baton Rouge, LA
2010
Spill>>Forward at MediaNoche, New York, NY
2010
Art D’Eco at Gallery 125, Trenton, NJ
2010
Hello: Graphic Design Group Invitational at University Art Galleries, Univ. of South Dakota, Vermillion, SD
2009
Sustainable? at Central Connecticut State Univ., Chen Art Gallery, New Britain, CT
2008
Live Debris at Hangar Gallery of Umam Documentation & Research, Beirut, Lebanon
2007
Earth Matters: International Art Exhibit at The University of Texas Pan-American, Edinburg, TX
2007
The means by which we find our way. A project in two parts at Waikato Institute of Technology, Ramp Gallery, Hamilton, New Zealand
2007
Sublime Climate at Cambridge School of Weston
 Gallery, Weston, MA
2007
Global Warming 2007 at Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA
2007
Other Heroes at Jackson State Gallery, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS
2007
Subvertisements: Using Ads and Logos for Protest at California State Univ., Northridge Art Gallery, Northridge, CA
2007
Tossed and Found at Outside In Gallery, Portland, OR

Clients

  • Toyota
  • Whole Foods
  • Vanguard Group
  • Scholastic
  • New Leaf Paper

Specialties

  • Sustainable Design
  • Systems Thinking
  • Graphic Design
  • Education
  • User Interface Design
  • Speaking