Diffuse is an Austrian based brand founded by graphic designer Benjamin Hammerschick. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself getting hypnotized by Diffuse’s “Illusions” tee, or any of the other mind-bending designs that make up the brand’s latest collection. Diffuse offers hand printed artwork available on t-shirts, tote bags and copper-plate printing paper. We got a chance to catch up with Benji and explore the world of Diffuse.
TM: When did you begin Diffuse?
I started Diffuse a year ago. It was like the rebirth of my creativity after a long time of not drawing a single line. It also was a kind of getaway from daily working routine as a graphic designer.
Tell me about your journey as a designer. Are you self-taught or did you go to art/design school to learn the basics?
I love to draw and illustrate since I was a little boy. After quitting my dream about becoming an architect, I attended the college and masterclass for graphics and communication design in Linz, Austria. There I was able to perfect my skills.
When I look at some of your pieces I see multiple layers and get lost in the design. Without giving too much information away, what process do you go through to achieve movement, space and density within an image?
Through the combination of drawing techniques (like charcoal, fine liner, marker or acrylic paint), computer visualization and printing techniques I want to achieve complex images. Especially the contrast between automated procedures and the inaccuracy of handwork influences the viewers perception. Nevertheless I also like to use the coincidences of computer editing like glitches or moire effects.
Where do you tend to draw inspiration from and how does this translate into your work?
Most of my illustrations are inspired by experimental electronic music, which provides lots of patterns and bizarre landscapes. Some motives are also inspired by Dystopian movies and themes of changing social values.
I love that your products are hand-made because it makes each piece authentic. What would you say are the pros and cons of hand-made pieces?
From a designers point of view I would say that the advantage of manual printing is the work process itself because it gives me scope to develop. The cons are that it is very time consuming and costly – but the second aspect you have to generally ignore as an artist.
Your products have a distinct look and I can recognize a Diffuse piece without having to look at the label. How did you develop your own style?
Thanks for the compliment – honestly I didn’t know that they have a recognition value and I have never been so self-confident that I dare to say I have my own, unique style.
As a European based company, what methods of marketing do you use to reach international customers?
Mainly I spread my stuff on social media like Facebook and blogs. But it’s still very hard to reach a lot of people with the intention to reach those who really appreciate it.
What has been your greatest accomplishment during your time running Diffuse?
For me the greatest achievement was the first time on a Viennese design market where I got a lot of positive feedback. That’s the thing that keeps me going.
What valuable lessons have you learned from running your brand?
The greatest lesson was to trust the feedback of people when deciding which motive to produce and not to listen only to my intuition.
Thank you for sharing Benjamin! When can we expect the next collection of tees?
It was a great pleasure – after all your book was my incentive to get off my backside! I’m working on some multicolored motives right now and I plan to launch the next collection in Spring 2015.