In our 12 Questions blog series, we feature interviews with someone from the crowdSPRING community. For these interviews, we pick people who add value to our community – in the blog, in the forums, in the projects. Plainly – activities that make crowdSPRING a better community. Be professional, treat others with respect, help us build something very special, and we’ll take notice.
We’re very proud to feature Connie Zegers (crowdSPRING username: StudioZ) today. Connie lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
1. Please tell us about yourself.
I live and work in Amsterdam and I’m single. Since 2000 I have been self employed as a graphic designer and illustrator. I also paint.
Before that, I worked for almost 20 years as a packaging designer for HEMA (department stores). I started off working the old fashioned way; pencil, markers, ink, drawing board, scalpel, repro camera, Letraset etc. (showing my age now).
When the Mac came into our studio, it was love at first sight and Illustrator became my favorite creative tool.
After HEMA I worked as a desk top publisher for almost a year, but I quit as I missed the creativity. I learned a lot though.
Starting as a free lancer work was slow at first, but luckily I was asked to do 2 illustrations weekly for a national newspaper, which was great and meant a regular income.
In between jobs I did a lot of painting for fun and on commission (mainly portraits). I always use photographs but I work on them first in Photoshop. Then when I’m satisfied with the result, I start the painting.
Since discovering crowdSPRING almost 2 years ago however, I’ve said goodbye to my brushes and have been back at the computer almost full time.
2. How did you become interested in design?
Can’t remember exactly, but I was always drawing as a child. I used to make my own little magazines with advertisements copied in a funny way from magazines. I was also interested in typefaces from a young age and had a strong opinion about how things looked esthetically (shoes, furniture, fabrics, clothes, houses, interiors etc (never cars though).
When I heard about the Design Academy whilst in high school, I instantly knew that that was what I wanted to do. And I have never regretted it.
3. What is the design industry like in The Netherlands?
Although I can’t really compare with other countries, I do think we take design seriously.
These days everyone seems to want a logo, which is good for us designers and businesses like crowdSPRING, but I sometimes doubt whether all buyers can recognize a professional design.
I once saw a logo on a truck made out of 4 or 5 letters with wheels, wings, arrows, speed lines and shadow. I hope they didn’t pay for it. It was a foreign truck though.
4. Who/what are some of the biggest influences on your design work?
I’m a huge fan of David Hockney, so he may have influenced me, I really hope so but it’s difficult to say. Maybe the bright colors I tend to use.
When working for HEMA, we used to go on business trips a lot to check out the packaging design in other countries. In London I noticed at the time that the British were far more creative in their packaging design than we were. That’s a long time ago and I’m sure we have caught up since. But I remember that was a big influence in my designs at the time.
At present it changes all the time, it’s just things that I see or come across, either in magazines, in the street or on the internet. For quite some time now, I’ve been ‘into’ the handcrafted trend. My challenge is to make something “hand drawn” in Illustrator.
5. How do you come up with ideas for concepts after you read a creative brief?
To be honest, I don’t always read the whole briefing. I’m convinced many designers are lazy readers. Especially when the brief is very long, I think that the buyer is too specific in their wishes, which doesn’t leave much space for the designer. Then again, too little details is not good either. It does help when the buyer attaches some examples of logos and styles they like.
Sometimes it just happens, I get a picture right away. I just start sketching (in Illustrator) until something nice appears. Funnily enough it may be completely different from what I had in my mind.
Also I have saved a lot of sketches for logos I made over the years. When browsing through them I sometimes get inspired. And yes, I recycle sometimes.
6. What software and tools do you use?
Mainly Illustrator, a bit of Photoshop (CS3).
7. What is your dream design project?
If they had asked me to design the euro notes, they would have looked better for sure.
Seriously, maybe a packaging line in handcrafted style.
8. How do you promote your work?
I don’t, sometimes friends do it for me.
9. Please describe your typical work day.
Quite boring. I love being on my own. I get up very early (usually before 6) make myself a coffee and get behind the computer. I check my emails and then either pick up on work-in-progress or browse through my crowdSPRING watch list. More coffee. By 1 am I usually need a change and go out, meet a friend or go shopping with my sister Back home, I have a glass of wine, cook a meal and then chill out or go back to the computer for some more work/play. Bit of tv and quite early to bed.
10. Which of your designs are your favorites and why?
Hard to choose. I tend to go for simple and flat, but with a handmade touch.
A nice example would be the second project ever I entered on crowdSPRING (Ariels Point) and everything in this project was how it should be; lots of feedback with every entry, good cooperation and… I won!
So that has a special memory for me and it made me a crowdSPRING addict.
More personal favorites are some real nice logos (I think) that were strangely enough not at all appreciated by the client. They were however ‘gallerized’ on Logopond and shown on Pinterest.
I also got an email from a website designing company requesting if they could use my logo as an example.
11. If you weren’t designing, what would you be doing?
I’d be lost! It’s what I love doing most.
Obviously it would have to be something creative, probably painting or cooking.
When growing up I wanted to be a chef, but having watched all the cooking competitions on tv, I’m sure I couldn’t stand the stress. I can cook, but preferably for no more than 4 persons.
12. What do you do with your free time?
I regard all my time as free time, so it would probably be doing what I’m doing already!
Dank je wel, Connie!
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