Jorrit van Rijt is an amazing graphic designer from Utrecht, the Netherlands. His inspirations come to life in the form of typography, posters and digital art – all infused in wonderful colors and form. This interview highlights the story and passion behind his every work. Read on and be inspired by this talented designer!
Hi Jorrit. We’d like to know more about you. Can you tell us a little bit of your background as a graphic designer? How did you get started and what were your influences?
As a child a have always loved to draw. When I wasn’t playing outside, I would grab my pencil and draw for hours, highly concentrated. It was then when I already realized that I wanted to do something creative as a grown-up. I think that’s how it starts with most of the graphic designers. Only when I was young, there weren’t so many influences from digital media as there are now. The first time I got known with programmes like Photoshop and Illustrator was during my first year at the Royal Academy of Art in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. It was also the first time I ran into Mac computers. When I went to my second year, and chose graphic design as my direction, I got my first Mac. An Imac, the first one. It gave me a lot of freedom and opportunities to create what I wanted. It was Photoshop 5 (!) in which I got my first ‘digital classes’. My Artschool really focused on the personal development as a designer. My most important lesson back then was to see as much creativeness around me as I could and to form my own opinion about what I saw. To become a better designer, you not only have to know what you like, it’s even more important to know what you don’t like and why that is. It takes time to discover who you are as a designer and what you would like to share with the ‘outside world’. It took me a couple of years before I realized that my designs got better because of the absorption of the things around me that were intriguing to me as a person and as a graphic designer. And it was only in my second ‘third year’ (I felt I needed to develop myself more before entering the exam class) when I first realized the importance of typography. So above all: personal development is the key stone to become a better designer in my opinion…
One of my first influences back then was (for example) a creative agency in London, called Tomato. I loved the way they handled typography and composition. I also loved the total atmosphere of their work. A couple of the members were also the people behind Underworld. So the artwork for their cd’s is probably something that people of my generation can recall.
I also liked the experimental type treatments of David Carson a lot. They were a great example of what was possible using typography as the most important tool to design. By the end of my graduation I was also very impressed by the designs of ‘the Stenberg brothers’ from Russia, who created amazing theatre and film poster in their Constructivist style.
But of course there have also been some really great Dutch designers who have been influencing graphic design around the world. Graphic designers such as Ootje Oxenaar (who, in my opinion, designed the most beautiful banknotes ever designed), Anthon Beeke and Wim Crouwel were also a big influence.
What is a day like for you? What usually keeps you busy?
At the moment I still have a full time job as graphic designer at a small graphic design agency over here in The Netherlands. So my day mostly starts with the alarm going off at 7 am and finding myself in the train to work at 07.50 am. About 9 am I get to my work and really start the day, with a cup of coffee. I take care of the mails that I got and start working on whatever project there is that day or week.