An interview with Gert Van Duinen

By Ed Vinicombe on Nov 6th, 2014

Hi Gert, for those who are unaware would you care to introduce yourself ?

Hi Ed, thanks for having me here in the first place. My name is Gert van Duinen, a Dutch graphic designer from origin and founder of cresk, which is a small agency specialising in bespoke logo & visual identity design, through typography, iconography and illustration.

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Your experience in brand identity is so vast. How do you deal with coming onto a new project with an open mind and fresh ideas?

Treating a new project with an open mind has become second nature I guess. Frankly, I think I wouldn't even know how to approach a project otherwise. Every new project requires a brand new solution. The challenge to come up with fresh ideas, combined with an eagerness to maintain the quality up to the standard my clients expect, is something that still motivates me every single day.

What happens when starting a new project? How much time goes into research and conceptualising an idea even before you get to your mac?

It depends on the complexity of the 'problem' as well as the 'solution' I may or may not have in mind. It usually takes research and gathering feedback before I find it necessary to take a concept to digital. To me my work solely depends on the creative quality and uncompromising efforts that I am willing to make.

In the early stages of creating a new brand identity do you start with something that is more complex and scale it back to achieve your style?

I usually work the other way around, starting with simple abstract geometric and organic shapes, working my way up and determine what additional value a concept needs in order to work. However, I am often required to strip down my designs to the bare essentials in the end, just because I completely lost myself in the drawing process again.

This is one of my favourites pieces of your work. Could you walk us through this project. Where did you get the inspiration & if you could, how would you improve it?

To answer your first question, Patrick Monk is a graphic designer himself. which means that it wasn't too hard to convince him that my rough ideas were potential concepts. In this case we were able to skip unneeded execution time and presentation efforts, because he already had a hunch when he contacted me. Though his surname obviously didn't allow me to go wildly irrational anyway. My answer to your other question would be somewhat paradoxical. Being a passionate designer who's craft is essentially about minute examination, considering something done eventually becomes part of the game, but certainly doesn't come easy at all costs. In the case of the Monk logo design I have yet had the urge to improve it. I think it successfully identifies the business it was designed for.

What products, sites or apps have you got you excited this year?

To me I think one of the most exciting things this year was to set up a simple analogue desk in my studio. It brought back the nostalgia of creative freedom again, with the sole purpose to deviate away from all thing digital, and to keep my process as tailored as handmade design can be.

As you mentioned you do some digital painting. This is obviously so different to the rest of your work. Do you find deviating away from brand identity keeps your design mind fresh?

Yes, that's exactly what I think it does. Those digital paintings were made a long time ago and I haven't done much of these lately though. But to engage in something completely different can be a wonderful creative outlet.

Designers who have inspired you recently?

With the sheer volume of great designers, artists and other creatives, I think I wouldn't be able to pick just one or even a handful. I recently discovered and greatly enjoyed the photography works of Hannes Caspar to name one for example. I really enjoy and usually get inspired by art, design, history, science and nature. Links:

Essentials for your design process? (i.e hardware, software etc)

Nothing beats the freedom of a pencil and a piece of paper.

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