Graphic Designer at Duoh!
Veerle
Pieters

Graphic/web designer based in Deinze, Belgium who has been blogging since 2003. Starting in ‘92 as a freelance graphic designer Veerle worked on print design before focussing more on web & UX design (since ‘96). She runs Duoh! together with Geert Leyseele.

Deinze, Belgium • October 7, 2022

What led you into design?

Since a little kid, I've always loved drawing, but as I grew up, I viewed it as more of a hobby. This might sound weird these days, but back in the 80ies, I actually didn’t know there was such a thing as a graphic designer. I never linked my hobby of drawing to a profession, because I always associated it with pure art, and I didn't see myself making a living with that.

Once I learned a bit more about ad agencies, and the world of graphic design, I knew this was it. This is what I want to become. This was a total revelation to me, and it also gave me a liberating feeling, as I struggled for a long time not knowing what I wanted to be in life.

What does a typical day look like?

I (always) wake up at 6.15 am, even on Sunday's, and always do some stretching before I get out of bed. After I've had some breakfast, I sometimes go for a bike ride in the morning. I usually do 3 rides per week, 2 long ones (around 100 km) and 1 shorter (50 km). Only during Winter and bad Fall days this is less, depending on the weather conditions.

Once back, I check my mail and get to work. During Spring and Summer, I take a daily short break (often around 5.30 pm or when most sunny if possible) for a swim if the water in our garden pond is at least 16ºC. After having a light dinner, I go back to work until about 7 pm. I sometimes also do a 20 minutes core stability exercise after work before I throw myself on the sofa to watch some TV.

What's your workstation setup?

Veerle Pieters desk set up

My shades are always open, but the sunlight was giving too much backlight to take a proper photo. My iPhone's apps aren't actually particularly sorted, I just don't put time into doing this, I just swipe, search or use Siri instead. I also always use a background that gives good contrast to the apps, so I can distinguish them properly and find fast.

  • veerle-office-shelves.jpg
  • iphonex-veerles-homescreen.jpg

Where do you go to get inspired?

This can be anywhere, really. Inspiration comes from the things I see around me, whether it's on the desk on my screen when browsing around on sites like Behance, Dribbble, Pinterest, a design book, or from nature and sceneries around my while I'm biking.

It's often from very common things really: a beautiful interior, a cool sign using an elegant typeface, a lovely colour combination of clothes someone is wearing. Simple stuff. Over the years, I have gathered what I found most inspiring on my blog on my Inspiration gallery. Browsing through these pages gives me a lot of inspiration too.

What product have you recently seen that made you think this is great design?

The mobile app from Wise. That app is really well done in all its way. Both design, with the fun illustrations and user experience, is very thought through.

Also, the app from Fastned, to charge your EV is very well done. Maybe not a WOW design, but the UX is very well done, which makes charging your EV really easy.

  • wise-app.png
  • fastnet-app.png

What pieces of work are you most proud of?

I'm most proud of my blog, because it's completely designed and fully coded by myself from scratch. Except from all the design work I share from other designers and creatives in my Inspiration Gallery, everything you see is from my hand. The fact that I did both the coding and the design makes me extra proud, and of course also because of how it grew over the years. This is version 4, version 1 dates back from 2003 already. My blog is really the foundation of everything I became professionally.

Veerle's blog - Inspiration Gallery
Veerle's blog - Inspiration Gallery

What design challenges do you face at your company?

They vary depending on the project we're working on. I find logo design work always challenging because to me it feels like solving a puzzle. Apart from the complexity of many UX design projects, it's one of the creative challenges I like the most. I recently worked on the UX design of a French forum platform.

There was this challenge on visualizing the deep structure of the comments, you know, comment on a comment of a comment etc. This platform doesn't use the typical indentation, instead it uses a carrousel approach per conversation where all comments are linked into. Eventually we also ended up using a graphic that looks like an accordion to visualize the comments located into the deeper structure of the conversation.

What music do you listen to whilst designing?

Any advice for ambitious designers?

Keep on learning and take time to experiment, sketch, and share stuff. Try also to reserve some time to do something not work related, but creative, even if it’s just 10 minutes a day or so. Keeping a good work-life balance is also important to stay mentally healthy, it'll help to keep your inspiration level high.

Anything you want to promote or plug?

One of our longterm biggest clients, Designcollectors who run an online design store, selling timeless design furniture, and accessories for your home and workplace just relaunched their site with its new design. I proudly designed the entire site and also did the full front-end CSS/HTML coding part. The logo also got a small update. It is the 3rd design since 2009. I just love how it turned out, and it's always nice if you can work with people you connect so well with over the years. Apart from that, I'd like to promote my blog and Duoh!.

interview