Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Christiaan, 28 years old, and since 2012 I’ve been running a design studio in Maastricht. The studio takes on a broad range of assignments. We are open to anything that is aimed at connecting visually with audiences. Be it print, web or any other media. A daunting task, for which we often connect with other designers, developers and video-& photographers in the region.
My personal sincerest passion lies in graphic design. I love to see design standing out in a world where visual messages are thrown to you 24/7.
What would you consider your distinctive achievement?
My most distinctive achievement, thus far, would be having the courage to start a studio from scratch, and making it work (through hard work). This may sound a little cheesy, haha! But it’s something I am truly proud of.
What are you looking forward to?
I am looking forward to a professional landscape wherein small studios, and even freelance designers, developers and other creatives are able to tackle big clients’ assignments. The real big fish who would normally only opt for the big studios. This requires certain mechanics to gain some momentum. Creatives need to be able to find each other, need to find a way to join forces — in a very practical way, without having to yield their own identities as designers or small studios. This is something that will not happen organically and requires frontrunners (with time and energy) to push the wagon, but it can happen. I’m seeing it happen. It’s a shift in status quo I am looking forward to very much.
Which advise will you give to other professionals?
For professional designers and communicators? Know your strengths, but don’t push yourself into a niche. Be bold. Be brave. But be grounded. If you can guard the balance between overstepping your abilities VS exploring new grounds you’ve got it made. Also: surround yourself with people who are curious and passionate. And the impossible one: try to exclusively work for clients and companies you care about and can connect with.
What are the challenges that we need to overcome to make cultural entrepreneurship more accessible?
I strongly believe that if you have a certain skill set or are knowledgeable about your product (be it design, art or whatever), have some passion and perhaps even a little vision, as a cultural entrepreneur or creative —who can produce, with little means, his or her product— the challenges are equal to that of any other field of entrepreneurship. However, working in this field becomes easier (and more fun!) when you are able to quickly connect with others. Share ideas, contacts and networks. Take on big projects together. Become fluid!