Discover the interview of Rob Van Heertum in Tilburg, Netherlands
How did you become designer ?
At the moment I am running our design agency together with my father. In fact, it is the oldest design agency in the Netherlands, although I like to call it the most experienced agency, instead of oldest ;-). So, I am the “second generation” in the agency you could say. Together with a great creative team and supporting colleagues we are designing for almost 50 years now.
So, to come back to your question, you could say I grew up, knowing no better. I grew up in a creative environment and design was always around. For myself I decided to focus more on the strategic marketing behind it, though the choices in my education. But from an early age I always knew I wanted to work with my father. My first job I took outside the agency and was in international sales, to taste the commercial side and get the international know how. All perfect choices for us, since when I joined the agency, we had all the tools to take the agency to the next and international level.
How would you define your vision of design, your style ?
In today’s market, we think packaging design should be about more than just looking good. That’s why we make it our daily business to identify core brand values and use them in the design process. Creating packaging concepts that bring out the essence of the brand and help clients communicate their brand story to the consumer. Consumers are harder to reach through conventional channels, target groups (generations) are getting more divided and are changing constantly. So Packaging is getting more important in the communication mix, and really needs to connect with the consumer and needs to show it understands their target groups.
Next to strategy and creativity we also incorporate our know-how about packaging materials and production processes into the mix. Because of our Global Innovation Network, which consists of international market leaders within the packaging production industry, we have built up a great deal of technical know how, innovative material knowledge and understanding of feasible production processes. With this combination of Strategy, Creativity and Innovation, brand values come to life and tell their stories through packaging and you could say that’s our “style”.
For the future, what are your professional projects ?
At the moment we are doing a lot of Spirits & Tobacco, craft and luxury designs. At the moment we are expending into connecting markets like beers & soda, but also starting to diversify into other markets with a focus on premium brands within food and body care for example. This is what we will be focussing on the coming years.
What do you like the most in your job ?
What not ;-)…. The creativity, the diversity, the teamwork, looking for boundaries, not just following trends but creating new ones… I also have to say we are blessed with our clients. It really feels like we are all one big family and work on the most amazing creative projects. We do it together and create together. One day something has to be “instagramable” for millennials and the other day a project needs to speak to the “sophisticated gentleman”. Every day is different, some days bring real challenges and sometimes timings make deadlines stressful, but in the end, everything always comes together, and everybody has a big smile on their face when a new design hits the market. Brilliant feeling.