‘So Lisa, what are you going to do after you graduate from art school?’ A question I’d rather not think about. The art academy was a safe space where I was constantly developing myself. There are no mistakes there, only your motivation for doing something. After four years at the academy we need to be more mature and spread our wings proudly. But four years fly by, and before you know it you’re standing there with your piece of paper – and now what?
For me graduation was gone in a flash. I still had to receive my diploma while I was already working at Mooi Creatie. Call it luck, or perhaps I played it smart after all?
‘When everyone does what he can and receives what he deserves.’ – Plato
In 2015 I was first introduced to Mooi Creatie during my studies in graphic design at the Cibap College of Art. It was my second internship and I still had a lot to learn. Even though I didn’t yet have the capabilities of a full employee, I wanted to become just as good, so I worked hard to leave a good impression. I had an incredibly fun and educational time here. In order to expand my creativity and discover the graphic arts profession in a completely different way, I then attended an Academy of Art. When I graduated after four years of study, I saw that Mooi Creatie was looking to expand their team. I knew straight away: that’s the job for me! Because of my internship we already knew each other well and it was very nice to be back after five years. It shows again how important internships are, but even more important how committed you were at the time. It offers opportunities for later.
Business vs Academy
When I compare my time at the academy with working at Mooi Creatie, I see it as two very different worlds. During your studies you focus on your own subject-related assignments. But keeping to a budget? That was never an issue! You work with the craziest materials and discover so many new things by experimenting. I’ve often wondered what on earth I was doing. And I guess my family asked themselves the same question. Especially the time I tied a camera under a horse… But it is so important to actually do these crazy things, as many new ideas emerge during experimentation. I also spent a lot of time racking my brains as to what exactly I wanted to say with my art. In that respect, these two worlds do overlap. A design either fails or succeeds depending on its foundational concept. The story behind the design has to be just right. And like at the academy, I am also well supervised here, only at Mooi Creatie the team spirit is much stronger. You help each other out and together you create something really cool, you work towards the same goal. In business it is no longer about grades or who gives the teacher the loveliest smile (I hated that anyway). At the end of the day, it’s all about whether your design conveys the intended message.
The life of a designer really only begins in earnest after the academy (once you have found work). The fun and the parties fade into the background, and the bottom line heaves onto view. It’s all about applying the qualities you learned at the academy to your professional field. The time pressure is more intense, the design has to stay within budget and you work for real customers. A deadline is a deadline. In these circumstances, the challenge is that, as a creative person, you keep on thinking outside the box and do not fall back on standard solutions. But when everything comes together, you get this fantastic feeling of achievement.
The most important lesson I have learned is that we can only be innovative if we experiment, keep trying and dare to make mistakes. This voyage of discovery creates new insights that I could not have come up with before. I can say with total conviction that I was lucky with this great opportunity at Mooi Creatie, as I traded the safe space for five wonderful colleagues. We help each other out and constantly try to make the most amazing creations for our customers. There is plenty of room for fresh ideas, and I still learn something new here every day.