If you haven’t heard of Veerle Pieters… Where have you been?
Veerle is one the design industry’s most savvy and branded designers. Her candid interview with The Graphic Design School, reveals a charm and savoir faire that has seen her (deservedly) shoot to the top of her game. Based in Belgium Veerle studied graphic design and print, before moving into web design.
The Graphic Design School loves Veerle, her philosophy to open herself and her processes to educate and share charmed us. Thanks Veerle, a beautiful lady!
Welcome to The Graphic Design School Blog. Please tell us a little bit about yourself. A brief bio.
I’m a graphic/web designer living in Belgium. I went to school in Mariakerke, Gent.
I began my career in 1992 as a freelance graphic designer under the name of “Duoh!”.
As a child I always loved drawing and considered it a hobby. I always thought it wouldn’t be possible to make this my day job so that’s why I studied tourism until I discovered that you could actually study graphic design. That may sound crazy now, but if you put it in its context and time frame (1987) it wasn’t very well known that you could actually study that. I always thought about it from an artistic point of view and believed there wasn’t a future in it.
Studying graphic design changed that, and from that point on my hobby became my passion and income.
You have been voted in the top 50 North x East’s Fifty Most Influential ‘Female’ Bloggers. How do you think you can use this title/influence to further your cause/career?
It is nice to see your name on a list and it delivers an attention span towards you but in all honesty this doesn’t bring food on the table. The biggest catalyst towards your career is your work. Your portfolio is what should do the talking as these lists are only short term.
Speaking of your blog. How much time do you need to spend daily on the upkeep of your blog… do you ever sleep or play?
I think I spend an hour to two hours when I’m just doing my approved list checking and answering all the mails and comments. Most of my weekend time goes in to researching tutorials and creating them.
Two last question on the subject of your blog. What was your goal when you started blogging?
I didn’t have any. I’ve started this to learn CSS/HTML and my first blog was a test case after reading about pMachine in MacAddict magazine.
Did you ever expect the success, or the fantastic Google page rank of 8?
No I didn’t have any idea that would happen. I didn’t have any expectations.
We are a blog for beginners and graphic design students. Can you share with us the most enjoyable moment, subject or lesson that you had while studying?
To be honest I have no idea since it is like 20 years ago. The only thing I vaguely remember is a bookbinding lesson that we had to craft a book from scratch with headband, bookmark… and everything.
How did that moment, subject or lesson shape what you do now?
Eye for details.
Describe your style of graphic design in a few words. What kind of advice would you give students who wish to excel in this style?
Illustrative with a strong preference towards colors. The best advice is to be passionate about what you do and keep on trying after failure.
Why did yourself and Geert Leyseele (partner and one would assume the ‘brain’ in the self professed ‘beauty & brain’ duo) decide to open up your own Graphic Design studio as opposed to working for a larger firm, or independently?
We had a few opportunities over the years to sell our business and become part of a larger group. We both are not interested in becoming a manager and direct other people. That would break the creative part that we love so much.
Do you use hand drawn techniques to help you develop a design. How important is this in your process as a Graphic designer?
Yes I still use a pencil and paper from time to time. It depends on what type of project I have going on. Most sketching is done for icons and logos and also wire framing for websites on occasions. It definitely is a bonus if you can draw your thoughts.
Do you keep an ideas journal? If so can we have a sneaky peek?
Yeah I do and you can see some on my art section on my blog and also in the duoh.com blog, “Illustration for Espresso Application Startscreen”
Do you have a special method for brainstorming, i.e mind mapping etc?
No, not really.
We have noticed on your website that you are very open about sharing your process as a designer. Why is it important to you to communicate this side of your work with your visitors?
Because we believe it show valuable information towards students. We don’t believe in not sharing what we know.
What are your favorite websites at the moment?
Who are your 5 all time favorite graphic designers?
What typefaces do you use the most in your designs?
Mostly Sans Serif ones.
What about your job do you find the most rewarding?
To see a client happy with a design that we created.
A moment to brag… who are the most prestigious clients that you have worked with?
Netvibes, Google, Library of Congress, Ernst & Young, Coca Cola…
Where do you see your career and your studio in five years?
I am where I want to be meaning earning a good living and loving what I do.
What advice would you give to graphic design students around the world. About shaping a great portfolio?
Let your work have the spotlight.
One last question, that is on everbody’s mind… Billy Elliot feels on fire when he dances… how do you feel when you are designing?
On cloud nine, not in this *real* world.