Happy Squared

Nickelodeon pulled out all the stops to celebrate the 10th "birthday" of one of their most beloved characters – SpongeBob. Nick.com hired Big Splash to create a microsite for this big event. We conceived, designed and developed an interactive experience that includes a 3D navigation, multi-level platform game with downloadable prizes, a sweepstakes, trivia, hidden features and more.

Some content is password protected. Use the password, "HAPPY"

View the Promotion

IBM Datagrams

Datagrams are small bits of data that can be launched from Instagram, and from there can be spread through multiple social channels like Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook.

The Datagrams campaign was awarded a bronze medal for most innovative distribution strategy at the 2013 Content Marketing Institute's Content Marketing Awards.

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for IBM

Strategy: John Lane
Project Management: Erin Craft
Art Direction: Ben Harris
Design: Ben Harris, Kristen Collosso
Dev: Ben Harris

Datagrams on Tumblr

Demitri Martin.
Sketch Pad

Created by Big Splash on spec as a proposal for Comedy Central, "Demtri Martin. Sketch Pad." is a fun way for friends to share Demitri Martin-style sketches with each other online. Select your marker and take as much time as you need to create your sketch. When you're done, send it to your friend. He or she will receive an email and be directed back to the site to view their sketch.

Try it

Where's Mrs. Butterworth?

In 2008, Big Splash was hired to help introduce Mrs. Butterworth's syrup to a new generation of kids. The idea was to create an online game where Mrs. Butterworth would help you on an adventure. All along the way, introducing you to the homespun humor of Mrs. Butterworth. The promotion was so successful (949,579 page views and 60,590 unduplicated sweepstakes entries), that Big Splash was hired to create a second version for 2009.

Play Version 1 Play Version 2

SpongeBob Buddy

In this co-branded promotion for Nickelodeon and Walmart, you get to play games and interact with your buddy, SpongeBob. SpongeBob remembers your name and how long it has been since you last visited him. If you're gone for several days, he starts to get sad and expresses how much he misses you. Come back every couple of days to keep SpongeBob happy.

View the Promotion

IBM Barrier Breaker

Barrier Breaker is designed as a fun, engaging way for potential customers to learn about IBM Websphere.

The game is essentially a clone of the classic game Breakout written in Javascript and HTML5. Other than using the javascript library Box2d for physics calculations, I wrote the entire game from scratch. Try it on mobile.

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for IBM

Strategy: Ben Harris, Cait Smith
Project Management: Alisha Hawkins
Design: Ben Harris
Dev: Ben Harris

Play Now

IBM Triviaball

Using cutting edge technology like 3D graphics and real-time physics, IBM Triviaball is a a fun, addictive learning tool for IBM employees. Competitive elements like a PHP/MYSQL driven leader board and questions that change with each visit keep people coming back. Give it a try and see if you can set the high score!

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for IBM

Strategy: Ben Harris
Project Management: Kimberly Corrigan
Design: Ben Harris
Dev: Ben Harris
3D Modeling: Bret Kruse, John Anderson

Play Now

Physicians Pharmacy Alliance

This is the website for a network of Phycisicans and Pharmacists that use their combined power to help reduce medical costs for senior citizens. Medical industry branding is notoriously stale and devoid of color, I decided to make this brand stand out from the crowd by making color paramount. In addition to the website, I designed the logo and brand guide for this client.

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for PPA

Strategy: Joh Lane, Cait Smith, Ben Harris
Project Management: Lauren Childs
Design: Ben Harris
Dev: Scott Heath

View the Website Download the Brand Guide

Gravy Restaurant

A website for one of Downtown Raleigh's premier Italian American restaurants. The design strategy for Gravy Restaurant was to put their delicious food front and center. The home page serves as a full-page gallery of their beautifully arranged dishes and restaurant. This site includes a content management system so the restaurant staff are able to update site content, including menus and news, themselves.

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for Empire Eats

Strategy: John Lane, Ben Harris
Project Management: Rachel Rooney
Design: Ben Harris
Dev: Ryan Keefer, Andrew Kinnear

View the Website

Wake Defense

The goal of the Wake Defense microsite is to illustrate why Wake County, NC is an ideal place for businesses in the defense industry. I designed a compelling landing page to draw users in quickly. But I kept the rest of the site, light and airy. The effective use of white space throughout the site is intended to help portray a clean, business friendly, informational experience.

Produced in association with Centerline Digital for Wake County, North Carolina

Strategy: Ben Harris
Project Management: Katie Keukes
Design: Ben Harris
Dev: Ben Harris, Ryan Keefer

View the Website

TimTam - A Memory Game

TimTam is a simple memory game that I made as a personal challenge. I wanted to see if I could build a game using nothing but html5, css3, javascript, php and MYSQL. There are no images. The entire game is in code.

Play Now

Raleigh Neighborhood Map

This "typographic map" uses hand–drawn typography to showcase the historic neighborhoods of Raleigh, North Carolina. The name of each neighborhood is drawn using the boundaries of the neighborhood as a guide.

A few weeks after printing the first run, the city of Raleigh got wind of the design and a representative from the city's Public Affairs department contacted me to order a custom run of 30 prints to give away as awards to people who perform services for the city.

Sold Out

Buffalo Neighborhood Map

Another "typographic map," this one shows the neighborhoods of my hometown of Buffalo, NY. Similar in concept as the Raleigh map, this map is much different in execution. I spent over 2 weeks illustrating this with a fine pen.

Buy a Print

The Ramones – 
53rd & 3rd

A 2 color screen print depicting a scene from the Ramones song, "53rd and 3rd." I was inspired by the punk-comic style that is well known to Ramones fans. I believe this style is the perfect compliment to the high contrast aestetic of their music.

I designed, illustrated and printed these myself. The prints were featured in the grand opening of a music art gallery in Raleigh, North Carolina. I still have a few prints available for sale if you're interested.

Buy a Print

Can you remember the last three songs you listened to?

Chances are you've only been able to recall the most memorable one or two. Our memories are slippery and for something to stick, it has to be engaging. Like music, design needs a hook to make it stand out. Our minds must feel occupied by it.

There are many ways to engage people with your brand and ensure that you will be remembered long after that first introduction. At Big Splash, we design websites, mobile apps and more, but most of all, we design memories.

Ben is one of the top 5 designers
I've worked with in my career.

Brooks Bell

Founder and President, Brooks Bell Interactive

The client, [...] said over and over again that we were their go to vendor when the project needed to go flawlessly.
Ben deserves much of the credit for the reputation we earned for that client.

Jesse Lipson

VP, GM of Data Sharing at Citrix Systems

Ben and his team took the small idea that I had, expanded it, simplified it and then implemented it as a Facebook game quickly and elegantly.
A true pleasure.

Dan Ariely

New York Times best selling author and behavioral psychologist

Read More on LinkedIn

Big Splash Advertising, Design & Illustration is the alter-ego of art-director, designer and daydreamer – Ben Harris. For over 10 years, Ben has worked with organizations both big and small to help get their message to those who need to hear it.

Oct 03, 2015

Ben Harris honored with a Communication Arts Award of Excellence

I’m thrilled to announce that my neighborhood map of Buffalo, NY has been selected for a 2016 Communication Arts Award of Excellence in Typography. 

CA awards are one of the most coveted awards in the world of design and advertising. It has been on my personal bucket list for some time. 142 winners were selected in 16 categories. Award winners will be published in the Communication Arts 2016 Typography Annual which comes out in January.

What I’m trying to say is, this is a B.F.D. for me. I’m in disbelief that my name is going to appear in print next to the design giants whom I follow and respect so much.

More about the award at Communication Arts.

To see the design, or to purchase prints, visit my website

May 02, 2014

A print I designed and an interview with me are featured in a book on the history of the Ramones

I’m pleased to announce that I finally have a copy of “Ramones Sniffing Poster” – An Italian book on the history of posters and art inspired by the punk band The Ramones. My Ramones print, 53rd & 3rd was featured in the book along with a 3 page interview with me.


Luck. Martino Pasina, a Ramones collector in Italy, and one of the creators of the book happened to buy one of my prints online from a gallery I sell through. He liked it so he contacted me to tell me about his idea for the book and asked if I’d be interested in contributing an interview. Of course I was honored to be considered for the project so I agreed. Here is the text of the original email I received from Martino:

From: [email redacted]@libero.it
To: Ben Harris

Hello! I’m Martino and I’m working for the Italian Ramones website www.gabbagabbabook.it. We are going to publish a book containing our collection of Ramones promo and gigs posters (over 250). This is a little project but one our big dream. The book will be printed in a limited edition and will be a work by collectors for collectors. Will be published in the book only posters belonging to our collection. The images will be photos taken by us of these posters. ( you can find all the ramones photo poster on our web site here: http://www.gabbagabbabook.it/MEMORABILIA/POSTERramones.HTM

NOW, We have one poster/silk-screen that you have produced as tribute to The Ramones precisely: “53rd & 3rd”

We want to ask you if we can quote you freely in our book and if you want to participate in answering some of our questions?

Thank you for your time and we hope for a positive reply.

Honestly, Martino


(Martino) Your work is based on the philosophy of DIY a process that makes your works unique. Explain better to us how you create your own paintings.

(Ben) DIY to me means that everything about the piece came from the artist… He or she didn’t outsource any of it. Not that I’m against teamwork but the work should be labeled as such. Nothing is more disingenuous than an artist or designer who labels his work as his own but that was really developed by a team. So I make sure that I actually create all of my work. I don’t just design it. I produce it.

You have produced one silkscreen for tribute to The Ramones in 2010, is it right? Are there more works that you have done for the Ramones? (You know! That’s important to know for us collectors! :-))

I’ve only produced one silkscreen tribute to the Ramones (So far!). But I really enjoyed working in that style. I’m thinking of doing a Richard Hell one in the same style soon.

These serigraphs are limited copies, how many prints are there? There are also versions in flyer format, these are in limited?

I only printed 50 of them. I didn’t print any flyer versions. If you saw some online, let me know because they’re not from me.

Why did you choose to do a tribute to The Ramones?

I’m a huge fan of theirs. I like punk music in general, but I especially like New York punk. There was a slice of life aspect to it that I think got lost once bands like the Sex Pistols got into it.. then it got too political and it was all about shock value. The Ramones weren’t really out to shock anyone. Maybe they changed their names, but really they were just being themselves. If you found it shocking… that was your problem.

Tell us about how you chose the subject and what inspired you to create it “53rd & 3rd” is a song not so common, I mean you could have chosen songs like Blitzkrieg bop or Sheene is a punk rocker. This song was written by Dee Dee and refers to what was then a well-known spot for male prostitution in New York City and probably to some events real happened in Dee Dee’s life. Why did you choose this song?

There’s a couple of reasons… One is that it was a song that I could easily visualize. It tells a story and stories are easy to draw pictures to. I wouldn’t know where to begin to design a poster for Blitzkieig Bop… but 53rd and 3rd was easy for me. Another reason is what you already said, that song is based on Dee Dee’s real experience. I think making this poster helped me understand him better in some small way. Think about it. He had to sell his body for money and he hated it.. but he still wanted to immortalize that experience in song. He just laid it all out there. How many artists are that honest with their audience? Reason #3: I really really like the song. Apart from the lyrics, the music.. that slow drum.. it just sticks in your head.

I think that you are addicted by The Ramones, so what did it means for you to do this silkscreen?

It was just a way for me to pay tribute to the song and to Dee Dee’s memory. I hope someday he’s recognized by the wider world and not just by fans like you and me.

Have you ever seen The Ramones in person? Do you have any personal story to tell us related to the Ramones?

I wish I did. My experience with them is all from my headphones and youtube.

In our collection, among the many posters of the Ramones, there are also works by Arturo Vega, Lindsay Kuhn, Jim Evans aka TAZ, Derek Hess, Shepard Fairey OBEY, Matcho Mark and more… Do you know this artists?

I don’t know any of them personally. But I did once meet Derek Hess when he came to my town and had a show at a friend’s art gallery. I’m aware of Arturo Vega and Shepard Fairey’s work too… Just amazing.

Now we’d like you to tell us if you like, in particular, a few posters from our collection and why? And if you do not like a particular one and why? You can find all our posters here http://www.gabbagabbabook.it/MEMORABILIA/POSTERramones.HTM

The Tales of Pinhead one is pretty cool. Comics and the Ramones go together so well. I’ve seen the Weird Tales one before and it was actually part of the inspiration for mine. And this one is really cool too.

Honestly,what do you think about our book? Give us a feedback!

I think it’s a great idea. Sounds like something I would buy and read and I can’t wait to see it.

MANY THANKS FOR YOUR TIME, We will inform you about our project. THANKS AGAIN



if you’d like to purchase one of these limited edition prints for $15 (I only printed 50 of them), please do so here.

Apr 01, 2014

A pair of wooden sunglasses I made out of laminated sheets of Padauk – a tropical hardwood similar to rosewood.

Rather than use solid wood, I decided to glue several sheets of veneer together, alternating the grain direction for each sheet. This made for very strong and flexible frames. Using this technique, I was able to make the wood as thin as the design required without sacrificing much strength.

Mar 11, 2014

The idea that time is flexible and that our perception of time may be something entirely different from what it actually is fascinates me. I created this code experiment as a study for a larger piece that I have in mind. The intent is to help the user explore his or her perception of time using live video. 

This application creates two video streams. One which is live, and one which is delayed by eight seconds. The streams are then blended together to show two “instances” of the user, changing the way he or she is perceiving time. With practice, the user can interact with his or her past self creating a bridge between recent past and present. 

This was created using the Processing language. Download the experiment here. (Mac application. 54mb)

NOTE: Some people have had trouble getting the app to open. If you get a message like, “TimeCamera is damaged and cannot be opened you should eject the disk image” follow the instructions on this page.