Benny Gold is a San Francisco independent graphic designer, inspired by the skate industry and punk-rock.
Gold's humble beginnings were working retail at shoe stores. He graduated from the part-time world to working for ad agencies and big design firms, what he thought was his dream job. He soon found himself unsatisfied in the creative department, designing products he didn't really care for. He wasn't finding the creative outlet he craved and desired.
"After years of plodding along the corporate path, I realized I was losing sight of the ideas and creative freedom I cherish. I had spent the majority of my 20s bringing other people's dreams to life, and I didn't want to spend another twenty doing the same.”
That’s when he designed a glider plane sticker with the mantra, “Stay Gold,” to remind him that the ideas and experiences we hold dear, are the real gold inside each of us.
"Staying gold is what shapes us, what preserves our sense of self, and what keeps us young.”
On his days off, Gold would take that sticker and slap it around San Francisco, and printing tees out of his house for friends.
Around the same time, Gold was helping Huf with some design work. He had a hand on a lot of the early designs there, and he even did their original logo. Keith Hufnagel from Huf noticed the attention the glider plane sticker was getting, and encouraged Gold to start his own brand. Hufnagel helped Benny get the wheels turning by showing him the ropes of the business, and helping him with distribution.
By 2010, the simple sticker design had started to turn into an internationally distributed brand. Every inch of Gold's house was used to store inventory. He'd outgrown the space and was forced to find a new location to run his business out of.
He moved over to San Francisco’s Mission where he planned on having just a work space and a shipping station for his brand 'Benny Gold'. After taking advice from his friends, he turned it into a retail shop.
Fast forward to today and Benny is now located at 968 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA where he offers creatives a cool place to chill and shop simultaneously. There's great coffee and chai along with some of the most stylish apparel you could find in San Francisco.
This weekend I had the opportunity to talk and hang out with Benny Gold at his shop, where he shared a great deal of insight and inspiration for a young graphic designer and brand owner like myself. I couldn’t help but relate a lot to Gold. He told me I reminded him of a younger version of himself, because of my work ethic and dedication to the craft. I was relieved to hear him say he didn’t know what he was doing in the beginning either, and he still really doesn’t know. I'm not the only one!
Gold also reminded me of how important a brick and mortar is to this culture. Connecting with the brand through its graphics is one thing, but really connecting to the person or people behind the brand is another thing. I grew up in an era where I had to go out and search for boutiques that sold my favorite brands. Now, it’s a lot easier to get access to all these brands; you just google it! I feel like we're losing the deeper connection to things because of social media. It kind of takes the culture out of it. I personally love the culture, and connecting with brands is important to me. I don’t only buy these shirts because they are cool, I buy them because I relate to the brand on a different level. I feel like I’m apart of a family and a community.
Thank you Benny for keeping the fire inside of me blazing. I lose focus from time to time and discouragement comes in waves, but you, along with everyone else who takes the time to engage with me, keep me going on this road.
Thank you for reminding me to stay true to my passions, and to grow up without growing old.
Check out Benny Gold