Pandr Design Co. & Charles Bennis


Phoebe Cornog and Roxy Prima of Pandr Design Co. finally got an opportunity to create art in South Dakota – one state closer to accomplishing their goal of painting in all 50 states. This design team shared how South Dakota inspired them on their visit as well as what it was like connecting with Brookings, South Dakota artist Charles Bennis. Read on about Charles’s experience living in South Dakota and more about the Pandr Design team’s tour through the state.

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Pandr Design Co.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and life in Brookings. What makes the town unique? 

We moved to Brookings five years ago to work and raise our family. I have my degree in Art Education and have 20 years of experience in non-profit management. Brookings has it all—great schools, parks, support for the arts, healthy industries and a wonderful university.  

Describe your style of design. Run us through your creative process.

My style of design is definitely a reflection of me. It is fun, bold, creative, positive and unique. I am grateful for my patrons that see my artwork as a way to bring beauty to their project or organization. I am constantly writing and sketching ideas, preparing for future commissions I haven't been presented with yet.  

How has living in Brookings and South Dakota as a whole influenced your life? How have those experiences there been reflected in or influenced your work?

My first memories of Brookings as a child were art-related. My family would come up from my hometown of Brandon, South Dakota, for the Brookings Summer Arts Festival every year. I remember the impact of seeing Prairie is My Garden by Harvey Dunn at the South Dakota Art Museum for the first time. It warms my heart to share the same experiences with my children.

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What were some of the most inspiring stylistic elements of Pandr Design Co.’s work?

Any time seeing an artist working who is a master of their craft is inspiring. Hand-painted lettering is nearly a lost art. When you know the time, skill and attention to detail that is needed for work like this makes it even more special for the city.  

What are some of the top highlights about your experiences with Pandr Design Co.?

It is exciting to see how your other artists view your home through their work. Artists connecting with other artists is also important. I enjoyed hearing about their support of women artists, networking and design process.

How will they have an impact on you going forward?

As the community lives with the mural art, it will take on a new life of its own. The art will become a part of our lives as we live with it every day. I am looking forward to seeing it reflecting our creative community.  

Tell us a little bit about Pandr Design Co. and the creative services you offer. What type of design work do you do?

Pandr is our design agency and we are based in San Diego, California. We (Phoebe Cornog and Roxy Prima) founded it in 2016 after both quitting our full-time graphic design jobs. We have continued to grow the business and have installed over 120 murals in 17 different states and 3 countries. We've worked with companies such as Visa, Target, the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Phillies, and Lululemon. We manage multiple social media accounts, teach business workshops, and host a podcast! Our style typically involves bright colors and bold letterforms, as we have both come from a background in graphic design. With the dream of having murals on every street corner in the USA, we are constantly on the lookout for our next opportunity.

What was the most surprising thing about your experience in South Dakota?

All of the wildlife! We saw SO many bison, bighorn sheep, and prairie dogs in the Badlands. We thought it was something that would maybe happen, maybe not. We weren't expecting to be surrounded by all the animals the entire time we were in the park. It was surreal. 

What attributes/areas of South Dakota did you find most inspiring?

The Badlands were absolutely gorgeous but as typography nerds, we have to say we loved all the old lettering on the billboards and signage. Wall had some pretty amazing signs! The Corn Palace was also inspiring. The time and effort that goes in to creating the corn murals each year must be insane. We actually witnessed someone cutting the parts of the mural on a circular saw and that was great to see. 

What stylistic elements of Charles Bennis’ work inspire you? What were some of the highlights of meeting with him?

Chuck was super high-energy and fun to be around. He was welcoming, and we were so glad we had the opportunity to meet a local artist.

Pandr Design Co
Courtesy of Pandr Design Co.
Pandr Design Co
Courtesy of Pandr Design Co.
Pandr Design Co
Charles Bennis
How will your experiences in South Dakota impact your future design work?

South Dakota has taught us that anything is possible. Put your dreams out there and make them happen! We have had a goal of painting in all 50 states and South Dakota was one of them. We put the word out there and our dream came true! In a way, this also relates to what we learned at the Corn Palace, Crazy Horse, and Mount Rushmore—they all seemed like impossible or outlandish ideas, but they are coming/have come to life. We will likely take more risks with our work and create bigger and better things because of what we've seen in South Dakota. 

On your next trip to South Dakota, what area(s) of the state do you plan on visiting and why?

We would definitely love to spend more time in Rapid City and the Black Hills. The Black Hills were BEAUTIFUL, but we only had a few hours to drive through. It would be great to camp and visit some of the wineries and breweries. Rapid City was also very charming, but we didn't have a ton of time to explore. We loved the architecture and all the art galleries! 

Illustration of mountain goat in front of Mount Rushmore
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