Logo Designer Interview 01: Jeroen van Eerden
Jeroen van Eerden is a 29 year old Logo & Brand Identity specialist born in Amsterdam. He currently lives in Groningen and has 6 years experience in his field, he’s worked on various projects from all over the globe and he is known for his great use of clean design, grid systems and bright colours. He is also an enthusiastic coffee drinker.
What was the turning point in your life when you decided to become a designer?
For me a career as a designer came later than I hoped for. As you hear from people who have known since they were kids what they wanted to be as they grow old, I found out about my passion for graphic design when I was about 16 years old.
I first started a study called Human-Technology where I got the opportunity to follow an intern within a design agency near my hometown called Groningen (the Netherlands). Within this intern I was very new with the graphic design industry but it kind of drew me towards it since that time. After finishing the study Human-Technology I applied to an art related study called ‘Communication & Multimedia Design’. At first I worked mostly on artistic graphic design illustrations. In that time I got a lot exposure throughout sites as Béhance, DeviantArt and the current social media. I’ve been exploring around within different styles of design in that time. But fast found out that finding a job in this artistic graphic design industry wasn’t that easy.
So I’ve been sharpening my skills towards logo design for 5 years now. From the time that I got lots of positive response from the community I finally knew that this was my place to stay; a logo designer. In a short time I’ve been growing as a logo designer thanks to lots of new design communities such as Dribbble and Béhance (where I’m currently very active). Especially Dribbble has an incredible community where I learned a lot and I’ve been growing as a logo designer.
In 2013 I officially started my one-man company as ‘Jeroen van Eerden – Freelance Design’. In 2015 I graduated from the ‘Communication & Multimedia Design” study and from there I started to work as a fulltime freelance designer. Working with clients all over the world. Focusing only on logo and branding projects.
What does your day consist of?
Wake up early, meditate and eat a healthy fruit shake every morning.
Before I start working on my projects I get myself a nice cup of coffee and take the time for exploring around on the Internet for any new inspirational pages such as;
Béhance, Dribbble, Logopond and Instagram. Of course there are also real books that I read. Around 9.00am I try to start my work. It depends what projects are going on at that time but most of my days are pretty full these days with lots of logo projects. After doing the research for a project (can be online and offline) I start working on different concepts. I have my sketchbook always close to me to work out any idea within a concept for a project. Most of the time during a project I work out an idea within my Illustrator and explore around with different concepts.
Later in the day there will be moments where I can have Skype calls with clients. Most of these conversations are later in my day because of the time differences (I’m in the Amsterdam time zone). I try to end up my day around 17.00 if there isn’t a deadline to be finished.
What was the first logo you ever designed?
The first logo that I designed was for a former teacher who started a company. It was in the time that I was an intern in the company where I first started to work as a designer. It really took me almost a whole week to finish the logo and working with feedback. Probably not my best work but my teacher was happy.
Are you a Mac or a PC?
I recently bought myself a new iMac 5K. I’ve been working on a mac for almost 10 years now. You can call me an Apple addict. I need to have everything from it.. So yes, I’m that stereotypical designer I guess.
Which software do you use frequently?
All of my logo and vector work I do within Adobe Illustrator CC. Next to that I’m working with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign for other design related stuff.
What is your favourite style of logo design? and why?
I guess that would be the minimal, abstract and clever logos that I like a lot. When I work on a project I really like to simplify a logo and bring out one or two concept elements within a logo or icon design. Just like the ‘Negative Space’ effect I try to achieve some smartness within my work and don’t go for the obvious as a logo design. I like them ‘timeless’ and bold logos as in the old days.
In my works I also make sure everything is in perfect balance and I often do that with a grid system. If you take a look at my Béhance page (www.behance.net/jeroenvaneerden) there will also be some interesting projects about these ‘grid systems’ that I use.
Designing a logo that is 1, smart within concept and 2, unique and minimal is a very winning combination for me.
What is your daily inspiration when you design?
Most of my inspiration I find during projects. When doing research for a specific project I’ll take the time to collect all sort of design related Intel that will help me find the right concept and execution direction. Next to the morning ritual when I having a coffee, there are no real planned moments where I take the time to find new inspiration. Normally I’ll do this during projects and/ or when I have extra time left.
What do you reckon is the best logo you’ve designed?
My best logo that I’d designed should be the ‘Broodje van Eigen Deeg’ logo for a French bakery located in the Netherlands (my hometown). I got a lot of exposure after publishing this branding and got many publications on inspiration sites and design related blogs. It also was the first big store in my hometown that I got as a client and willing to work with me. I’ve been working for lots of clients outside the Netherlands most of the time. So after finishing this design assignment, I got a lot of positive responses within my local area. Of course it was also very cool to see a real-life store that I’ve helped with branding become a huge success. Currently they are competing to be the best store/company of The Netherlands, and that’s a big deal since they’ve only been open for a year now.
What are your top 5 favourite logos? (from all the logos ever created by mankind)
I always find this a very hard question but this will be the first time that I actually gonna try and search around to find those all starts classics:
Most of these logos are very simple. The following ingredients I’d look for in logo design the most: simplicity, smart solution to make aware of a concept element, perfect balance and beautiful colour harmonies that compliments the brand.
What’s the best part of what you do?
I don’t have to wear pants at work..!
No for real; I really love my job as a freelance designer. It really drives me to find new clients each month, get to meet new people within this industry and work on my portfolio to keep things fully updated. When I’m not very busy I like to work on my portfolio stuff and improve my skills by exploring around with concepts that went unused. Designing good design is my work but also my passion. Everyday I work on new explorations and pushing the limit to keep improving my skills.
I can say the best part is being my own boss, I decide when I start on a project and it feels really good if my work got appreciated. This work is very motivating and helps me to push forward to even greater goals.
Recently my girlfriend and I got ourselves a dog (Hugo the Corgi) and for me this is a perfect add to my daily routine for finding new inspirations, getting out of the house and interact with actual people on the road. I think as a freelancer you have to get out from time to time and seek for adventures and interaction with other cultures and humans around us. Those are the things that inspire the most.
What else do you do apart from design?
Recently I’ve been asked to give several guest-lectures at schools about my experience as a freelance designer. I guess teaching in design is something else that I do whenever I can. From time to time I like to read a book (mostly they are design-related though). I like to go to concerts with friends and go out and see a movie. Because we now have a dog it’s a lot about getting outdoors and seeking adventure. Visit friends and explore the world whenever we can. I noticed that “design” has taken over my life as a huge part. When I became a full-time freelancer, it was really to strive for success and get my monthly goals so we can pay the bills and have a proper life. Apart from design I also am an enthusiastic coffee drinker.
One thing you always carry with you?
My little sketchbook and pencils. My iPhone so I can make pictures when I’m outdoors and cool apps that I use for administration but also for inspiration and exploring.
What’s lined up for Jeroen van Eerden in the future?
I want to keep growing as a freelance designer and when the time is right start expanding with other designers (and creatives) as well. Maybe starting my own design agency wouldn’t be that bad. But for now I want to keep growing as a freelance designer, finding the right balance to fill up that monthly goal of income. Expanding will add a lot of extra benefits such as accepting bigger projects with larger budgets. But also will motivate me more when I’m surrounded with other designers who experience the same issues and/or experiences with clients to keep improving and becoming successful in my work.
Who is the most inspiring person to you?
I think that will be Aaron James Draplin. An American logo designer and illustrator, with such a fun and sober attitude. I really admire his simple but bold style and good eye for details. There are a lot more other designers (especially logo designers) that I admire at some point. I think the bigger picture for now is being part of this great community with lots of talented and experienced designers. For example communities such as Logopond and Dribbble. I’ve met a lot wonderful individuals over the years where I can share all things design related (or personal) with. So inspiration flows throughout experience as a freelance designer, meeting new people and have interesting discussions related to design/logos.
What is your message of inspiration for budding logo designers?
If you are a designer who wants to start as a freelance designer work as hard as you can and share your works throughout design related sites (Logopond, Béhance and Dribbble). I’ve learned that when you are transparent in your design process and also ask others for feedback people will appreciate that. Don’t be an arrogant person who thinks it’s the best in this field.
Be kind to others and give others also the feedback that they ask for. We are all people who want to learn and improve their skills. When you don’t look at each other as competitors it’s a wonderful community to be part of. Make sure to update your portfolio works as much as needed. Share and be positive.
Working as a freelance designer can be lonely and stressful. The secret for making it a success lies within yourself. Find motivation, keep track of your agenda properly and ask a decent fee for the work you’re providing. You are a designer who has been studying and learning for years now. This should be respected. Feed the design passion within you with wonderful people around you and the love for original and creative design and strive to be innovative within the work you do.
You can checkout Jeroen’s portfolio at www.jeroenvaneerden.nl and also follow him on instagram @jeroenvaneerden
Great insight to the life of a talented designer!
Very inspiring story!