Dutch design director and dedicated lead of MediaMonks’ creative design department. Sebastiaan’s a jack of all trades, using his skill set to connect digital design and UX.
I always thought I wanted to become a fighter pilot until a certain point: me seeing my first graffiti as a twelve-year-old kid luring out of the window of a train. It kickstarted an interest for art and design. From that point, the interest continued to grow, ultimately making me apply to a graphic design school. With a degree in my pocket, I started working as a graphic designer at a local design agency. They were mainly focused on typography which, in the end, made me hungry for a new challenge: combining graphic design and interaction design.
Just looking at beautiful designs didn’t make sense to me, they needed a different perspective — I wanted to interact with them. Having experienced a eureka moment, I knew what my future should be. So back to school I went, this time art school with the curriculum interaction design. Graduation meant the beginning of the future, time to bring it all into practice. Now, some years later, having gained a lot more experience (and hopefully a bit of maturity) I'm sharing my passion and knowledge with the world’s most amazing and diverse design team.
My day-to-day isn’t as structured as it used to be since becoming a dad three years ago. I try to spend as much time with my loved ones every day, so starting off with a fresh cup of coffee and a quick playdate with my son before switching his toy trains for an actual one. My morning commute — and soundtrack — get me in the creative zone, officially starting my day. First, I check out the latest developments and fresh designs at the office. Whatever comes out of my morning catch-up usually defines the rest of my day.
I mostly divide my time between projects. Jumping from one project to another and trying to guide them into the most ideal direction which means being less hands-on than I used to be (the world has enough micromanagers). It feels a bit like designing with a full team’s skill set on my palette, giving me access to a huge variety of colors. It’s been quite an adjustment for me as a designer, but it’s rewarding to feel, ever so slightly, responsible for a growing design department that’s making a change. At the end of the day, I catch the train back home, using the time let everything sink in and recuperate for the next day.
For new projects, it normally starts with the deep-dive — figuring out what the problem is and how to solve it in the best way possible. Other than that, inspiration can come from anywhere: having discussions with other colleagues, getting lost in thought, discovering patterns in nature or an architectural piece that’s out of the ordinary. They all help shape your thoughts and approach to the challenge at hand. It's not hard to get inspired if you have the right, positive mindset. A designers main task is simply keeping your eyes open and staying susceptible to the amazing details around you. If that doesn’t do the trick, there’s always the internet’s little helpers; Pinterest, AGI, Instagram and tons more.
I saw an interesting case from Pentagram, the new visual language of Slack. They dubbed it “A new brand identity for the collaboration hub [that] captures its simplicity and ease of use, updating its familiar hashtag logo to work consistently in different scales and contexts”. They managed to keep the playfulness and simplicity, and more importantly create a smart system which will be usable for there whole new visual language. I'm quite impressed by their work. The same goes for Mastercard’s visual language, the changes are so simple and minimalistic but it’s elevating the brand into a separate niche. The elite cadre of brands that are represented not by name but by symbol, totally in love with it.
I’m extremely proud of our FWA of the month for Google: Your Plan, Your Planet, and the first FWA of 2019 for Adidas Yung 90s campaign, both made by MediaMonks.
Your Plan, Your Planet is a platform that helps you plan for a more sustainable future in a playful way. In addition to simple tips, it’s full of incredible isometric illustrations, taking material design to whole other dimension.
The Adidas Yung campaign transports you back into the 90s with a homepage homage. It’s the hub of a radically retro campaign featuring a music rhythm game, wallpapers and product videos — all tied up with animated WordArt and vibrant visuals as slick as the shoes themselves.
Our biggest challenge is to stay on top of our game. How do we maintain the level of quality and keep everyone motivated, while upgrading our skills and evolve towards the next level at the same time? Helping the team in the right direction by setting the right goals and asking the right questions is a huge challenge, but I tackle it gladly.
Open door is open. Be eager and hungry, work hard, listen, and never be satisfied or ashamed! Try to measure yourself, compete, set goals to strive towards, know where you want to be in the next couple of years. But above all, learn from all the talented designers out there.
First of all the company of course! With twelve offices and counting, MediaMonks is always looking for new talent. If you’re interested, don't hesitate to reach out to us.