Brian Harward staff writer
Most high school students are not approached by major companies for their designs, but that attention has become a normal occurrence for one senior.
Senior Benji Liker began making his own designs in 2014, creating tailor-made edits of sports stars for his social media accounts. Three years later, he has amassed over 3,000 followers on Instagram, and has created a website full of hundreds of his designs.
“I post sports designs to social media, and either I approach or I am approached by companies like ESPN, NBC, private sport teams, other companies, and if they want to do something, then I do designs on a commission,” Liker said.
Liker began learning the basics of design in third grade, but he did not fully understand the tools of the programs he used until he had more experience making designs.
“When I was younger, it was more of me messing around with different settings on Photoshop to make them look cool, but not really doing as much with advanced elements or much more than what the basic tools of Photoshop allowed,” Liker said.
Now, Liker makes his designs in Photoshop and Lightroom, mixing stock photos with effects using the advanced tools that these programs offer.
“I manipulate those [stock images] and use them for coloration, shading, layering, effects, etc. and then combine those with the original sports image,” Liker said.
Liker brought his design talents to the lacrosse team, creating designs for the program’s shirts, sweatshirts and other gear.
“A year or two ago, I asked Benji if he could create a shield or insignia that we could use for the lacrosse T-shirts,” lacrosse coach Kyle Kobe said. “He came back with a shield that we’ve been putting on our shirts for the past year, and I think it looks really great and we’re going to keep using it.”
As a result of his social media success, what began as a pastime for Liker has become a full business, one that he hopes to expand in the future.
“For now it’s just a hobby, a way to make extra money on the side,” Liker said. “It’s something I enjoy doing, and for now it’s gonna stay that way, but if someone approaches me and an opportunity comes up, I’ll definitely consider it.”