Desert island designs: Ben the Illustrator

If you were stranded on a desert island, as a designer, what items would you be lost without? Your favourite book, iPod, sketchpad...? What would you choose to take with you for inspiration?

With this in mind, we've spoken to designers from all over the world to find out what items they couldn't live without...

Ben the Illustrator

Featuring in this week's desert island designs post is Ben O'Brien (aka Ben the Illustrator).

Having worked in the design and illustration world for over a decade now, Ben takes inspiration from nature and creating inspiring, epic and ethereal landscapes.

Ben has been commissioned by and collaborated with Smart Cars, Pixar, Westfields Shopping Centres and The New York Times.

The Landscape of England by Brian Cook

The illustrations of Brian Cook from the 1930's, 40s and 50s have become iconic

"When I was a teenager I was given a book about an old illustrator called Brian Cook, and it turned my world upside-down. Cook painted British scenes for travel books in the 1930s, and going against the norm he used really wild colour palettes, purples, oranges and blues to convey green fields, it was a wonderful discovery.

"This one illustration in particular was the one that changed my view on using colour." album sleeve by Airside

The artwork for the ky cover was created by Lemonjelly's Fred Deakin's Airside studio

"Before I had a clue who Lemon Jelly or Airside were, I was in a record shop in Kingston and saw the fold out vinyl sleeve for the collection of EPs, being a sucker for colour and fresh design I actually bought it without knowing what the music was like at all.

"The shapes and colours combined to be so striking, so fresh and so 'new' that I couldn't resist it. Luckily the music was pretty good too."

VW Logo

The original VW logo was created in 1939 and after many iterations was redesigned in 2000 to what we see today

"My absolute favourite logo (with the Adidas trefoil logo in a very close second place).

"I have always had a good relationship with Volkswagens. My very first car was a VW, my current car is a VW, I was a Beastie Boys fan in 1986 (although I never stole a badge), and I have grown up loving their logo. To me it looks strong and reliable, and as with all the best logos, it's timeless."

Cooper Black

Cooper Black is a heavily weighted, old style serif typeface designed by Oswald Bruce Cooper in 1921

"I know it's not the most high-brow of design fonts, but I really do love Cooper Black, it's friendly, clear and is made up of some perfectly sweet curves, inspiring me to create illustrations with the same feel.

"It's frequently misused, and when it is the product looks dated, but used right, it brings an affectionate charm to its location. Personally I admit that I have overused it before, and (like most people on the brink of addiction) had to control my use of Cooper Black, but still today I'd still turn to it today if the right project called for it."

'Duck and Duckling' by Hans Blling

The duck and duckling were created following a famous spring day in Copenhagen in 1959 when a police officer stopped traffic in order to let a duck family pass.

"Blling was actually an architect, but these wooden ducks that he designed, in my eye, are absolutely perfectly formed.

"I have always tried myself to take the natural world and recreate it with graphic shapes, Blling achieves it to the nth degree with these carved wonders, they're beautiful, simple and super inspiring."

Thanks Ben!

So, what do you think about Ben's choices? What items can't you live without or inspire you? Let us know in the comments box below...