Ben Bos at the 2013 Offset Conference

Ben Bos, the influential Dutch graphic designer and key member of pioneering firm Total Design for 28 years, has died aged 86. 

In 2013 he gave a presentation at the Offset Conference. Watch him speak about his work and career. In addition to his presentation at the main stage, below you can watch a short interview and a conversation with Conor Clarke of Design Factory.

2013 Offset Conference in Dublin kicked off with Ben Bos (Total Design) and a list: ‘Looking, Seeing, Drawing, Writing, Photographing, Conceptual thinking, Designing.’

Bos talked of the importance of understanding a problem before designing. Another list included ‘Function (+)’, the necessary addition being emotion, because ‘without emotion it’s too cool.’

He declared: ‘Design is not a profession, it’s a way of life,’ and demonstrated this with a huge number of projects that spanned his extensive career. He showed corporate identity work, focusing on Randstad. He showed his posters, many for charitable causes, plus postage stamps, photography and what he calls ‘free work’, not work without fee, but without a brief.

‘The best tool we have is this (pointing to his head),’ he said. ‘Much better than the computers.’


Straight off the main stage Ben Bos was filmed to see what his reaction was to his talk, the crowd and the event.




In this conversation with Conor Clarke, Ben Bos covers his lengthy career at the forefront of European graphic identity design, which spans most of the latter part of the 20th century.

The image and sound quality leave’s much to be desired, but it contains some valuable insights about his work as a designer.