Boy Bastiaens lives in Maastricht, in the very southern part of the Netherlands, close to the borders of Belgium and Germany. From out of his little studio, he creates identities on a variety of national and international projects. In his spare time for fun, he likes to work as a guest lecturer in the Master of Architecture and the Interdisciplinary Arts in his hometown.
“To work with Boy is an extraordinary experience. His out-of-the-box approach leads to unconventional inspiring solutions and designs. He’s driven, provoking and very creative.” – Jean-Paul Toonen
Our Winning Wednesday series is all about featuring exceptional designers who have works that caught our eye in some way and our desire to share their work to the rest of the design community. From beginners who love the challenge of breaking into the industry to the experienced designers that work with design guilds, ZillionDesigns strives to showcase the most interesting designers that bring something unique to the community.
Boy Bastiaens is a designer who dabbles in several fields and consistently produces work that stands out in a crowd and creating a new spin on an older idea. He works across the fields of art direction, graphic design, illustration, packaging, product design, retail design and interactive media.
With about 27 years of experience in the industry, Boy Bastiaens shared in his interview some amazing insight about branding and the design process!
What made you go into the design business? What were your first few jobs like?
“With a background in traditional illustration, I started out working as an illustrator for clients like Playboy magazine and other assignments. Like many designers, the computer changed also my way of working from a technical point and possibilities in terms of versatility. My curiosity got me interested in packaging, interior design, animation, spatial design and other design disciplines.
Slowly, my activities turned into design-concepts in different media when I didn’t even know about the official term ‘branding’. The first branding project I did was in 1994 for the Australian Homemade chocolate & ice-cream stores. It ranged from logo to packaging to the interior design concept.”
You went to the last Let’s Talk Design conference. What was your experience like as a speaker?
“My ‘Reinventing the wheel’ talk was about creating multiple brand identities for the same kind of product. Jeans are an extremely popular product and as for all popular products: they are much alike and differentiate from each other through specifics and details.
The lecture was based around a selection of six different jeans branding projects I’ve been working on. Ranging from small independent denim labels to established brands to designer jeans. By taking this single point of departure for six different solutions, the talk gave a very clear in depth view into what branding actually can do.”
You designed a poster for your first grandson, Yoshua. You made a conscious decision to step away from clichés – why?
“I do like clichés but only when used in a different context or given a twist so that the message gets a complete new meaning or is hidden so that the design gets a layered meaning. As a matter of fact, the Yoshua poster design is a cliché in a way since it is the stereotype “its a boy” pamphlet. However, the overall image is about ‘play’ which is an essential part of every child’s life as it promotes imagination and creativity.”
What inspires your designs?
“My approach to branding is always about trying to invent a unique visual language for each assignment. Which needs to give a product its own personality. However the most important thing is communication. If the language doesn’t function the design doesn’t make sense.
Before you start designing, you first need to be a good listener and bring a keen eye to discover what a project actually brings along or doesn’t bring along. After a good research a project starts usually with the design of the logo and rolls on from there.”
Thank you for the interview! One last question: What do you see most brands failing to do when they decide to create a new visual identity?
“I guess thorough lack of authenticity, playfulness and timelessness.”
Have you ever used clichés in your designs? How did you make it unique?
All images from http://www.stormhand.com/