Hans Bennewitz is always ready to pull up a chair and discuss all things design. “A lot of designers don’t want to talk about design after their work day ends at 5pm, they’d rather do other things – not me.” Hans is currently an in house Senior Designer at VSP Vision Care, and does freelance work with several companies nationwide. For his Nine to Five job he helps create event graphics, packaging and marketing materials for VSP. “Everyone is passionate about what they’re doing at VSP, it’s a very creative environment – and I’m able to get immersed in a project from beginning to end which I really enjoy. I’m currently helping with a total rebrand of the department I’m in.”
Hans has worked for both creative agencies (Fuel Creative Group) and as an in house designer (UC Davis Health System, Office of State Printing and VSP). His interest in design started after applying for an internship in high school. “I always liked to draw, but didn’t know anything about graphic design. My senior year I heard about a graphic design internship and decided to apply. I didn’t get the internship, but it opened my eyes to graphic design as a possible career.”
After high school Hans enrolled at Sierra College and started doing design work at his church, Rock of Roseville. The pastor offered him the opportunity to attend Macworld. “While I was at Macworld, I picked up a Com Arts [Communications Arts Magazine] and I remember thinking – what is this thing? It totally blew my mind! That’s when I realized I could have a career and be creative.”
After graduating from Sierra College, Hans was accepted into the Sacramento State Design Program. He returned after graduating from the program to teach several semesters of Portfolio and Advanced Graphic Design II.
Currently, Hans freelances for Ghirardelli Chocolates, CBS Digital Sports, the City of Folsom, Hoodzpah Design Co., Javelin and Hot Italian. He works on projects including: illustration, logo conception, music posters and creative branding. “I don’t want to get too comfortable. That’s what drives me to do freelance.” He is also part of Interval Press, a collective of designers looking to unplug and explore visual communication using craftsmanship and analog experimentation. They create screen printed posters for a variety of clients and for their own enjoyment.
Why does he stay so busy? “I want to stay on top of things, I don’t want to be left behind. I think ‘they were good once…’ shouldn’t apply to designers. You can always do better. I want to do work I’m proud of, along with the projects that pays the bills.”
I asked what he is looking for in a creative community. “We shouldn’t feel like other designers are the enemy. I want to have a place where designers can get together and talk about design, get inspired and learn something new.” That’s why he is helping to organize the next CMND SHFT conference in August.
“You have to put in your time. Do the small projects, show yourself trustworthy. Always try to find inspiration. When you stop doing that – that’s when you start excepting the status quo.”
“Be a good person too. Be relatable. No one wants to hire a jerk. It’s good to be humble.”
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