I live and work in the beautiful small city of Hasselt, Belgium. It once had the tagline "capital of taste" but they changed it a few years ago. It just says "Hasselt has it all" now and that's a pretty bold statement. We do have nice restaurants and bars and when I walk out my front door I have a beautiful view over the Corda Campus, which is the Silicon Valley of the province of Limburg. So we do have a lot, but all... not sure 🙃
I started out as a graphic designer way back in march 2007 when smart phones weren't a thing yet. I worked at a pretty big agency and even though the market was transitioning into the digital space rapidly, they kept focusing on print. It may sound romantic, but at the time I felt I was missing out. Slowly but surely, they started doing some web design here and there and I tried to get my foot in the door. Some projects popped up on my planning, but my main focus was still print design.
It was the beginning of 2020 that I decided it was time to leave that comfort zone of print design behind and try and pursue a career in web and UX/UI. With a lot of support from my girlfriend, I applied for a job as a senior digital designer. I didn't have a proper portfolio and hardly any experience in the web design field, but somehow they had confidence and hired me. We all know what happened in march 2020, so I started working at a new job in the midst of the whole pandemic, which was interesting.
I'm a real morning person. There was a time I got up at 6:30, exercised at the gym, did some headspace, some daily writing, made myself a great breakfast bowl and freshly ground Aeropress coffee. That time is way behind me; and although I love that morning routine, it's shifted more into getting up at 7:30, taking a quick shower, waking baby Otis, preparing his breakfast, dropping him off at kinder-garden and biking to work. It is my ambition to get back to that morning routine but when you have a little baby crawling around the house, you tend to break those habits easily.
That said — not complaining at all!
So after the morning rush I get to office by bike, which is awesome. I love it that I'm living so close to the office and can do pretty much everything on my bike. When I arrive at the office, I always start the day with a fresh cup of coffee. We have a coffee subscription so we regularly get to try out some new coffee beans. Always cracking that aroma dial to 11.
After my shot of caffeine I open up Asana to see what my day and week looks like. Since I'm the only designer here, I have some playing room to plan my days. We're currently in the midst of a lot of branding stuff for our clients. So I'm still spending a lot of time in Indesign and Illustrator these days. However, it's a nice variation. Other weeks are packed with web design stuff and those are the golden days. I love getting my Figma hours in!
I was a one screen kinda guy for a long time, but I'm experimenting with the dual screen setup. If I'm being honest, I have pretty much all apps running on the big screen and only my Spotify on the laptop.
At home I just recently invested in a large 27" monitor. I feel there's no need for my laptop screen any more since it gives me a ton of real estate to play with. Really liking that setup, just need to look for a new desk and chair — all in due time.
We use Asana for project management at the office. Personally I started using Notion for my own to do's and life management. Still not fully sure if I can stick to the routine, but some days are better than others, even when it comes to using Notion.
I only use Notion on my phone and sometimes play around with Figma Beta. But most apps are desktop only for me.
I'm more of a web designer and the biggest challenge is trying to come up with a new design that follows the logical industry standards but doesn't look too similar to everything else. I feel that digital design is always a step ahead of print design when it comes to new trends. But, at the same time, everything tends to look and feel the same. It's finding the sweet spot between having a great user experience and still feel fresh and exciting.
Jumping into Figma and pushing those pixels around. Hands down. Well... and then seeing the end product and people using and enjoying it, of course.
There's a bunch of projects that start off really good but then the client starts having a say in it and everything kinda breaks. It's part of the job, but it makes it hard for me to point to one project I'm most proud of. But, since I can't leave you guys hanging, the project I'm most proud of would probably be Trigo Verzekeringen, which is Dutch for Trigo Insurances. I came up with the name, did all of the branding and web design. We made some compromises along the way, but all in all it was a fun project with a happy client at the end of the line.
I love my Master & Dynamic headphones. It has a really clean but retro design and they sound amazing. I got the MW60 which is an older version, but still. They look like no other pair of head phones.
When I need to be creative, it has to be instrumental. The Jazz Vibes playlist has probably the most mileage on it. When it's more production work I try to look for new, exciting music. Currently spinning the new War on Drugs album. Best band around at the moment, without a doubt.
Check out the chill Memorisely Playlist I made a while ago. Full of fun, chill, summery tunes to get the positive, creative juices flowing!
P.S. — Hand. Written. Notes. to thank me for just being part of this awesome community and typing some words in Slack now and then. I rest my case.
P.P.S. — now that you have my address, don't hold back to send me coffee, hand written notes or big 🍑 cheques. A man's gotta eat.