5 Questions with graphic designer Matthias De Vylder

Around 14, I decided to leave the main school of the town I grew up in to go study woodworking in the city nearby. The daily train ride over there exposed me to graffiti, which fascinated me immensely. It didn’t take long before I was hooked on writing my name as much as I could, experimenting with different writing styles.

I got into graphic design after a year of photoshop class at 16. After that, I was often creating posters for some of the hardcore concerts we went to every weekend. This was mostly a fun way to get experience with photoshop while scoring entrance tickets.

Like so many other designers, my school books had more doodles than notes. It’s where I discovered my passion for sketching. Practising different tags on a small size before putting them up in ink. When I was working as a graphic designer years later, I realised that my passion for design and drawing letters could be combined.

When did you first get involved with design?

During woodworking in school, I had my first experiences with the world of design. We could choose what we would make, mostly furniture. We designed the pieces from scratch. Going through the entire process of sketching, technical drawings and finally on to creating the piece in the workshop. There are few things as rewarding as seeing a design come to life into a physical product.

Is there any work you’re particularly proud of?

One project I’m thinking of is Barque, my first font. When I designed a font for the first time it forced me to go through the entire alphabet, rather than one word. The font is online since 2014, and people are still dropping thank you comments, which is fun to see. Barque is available as a free download.

In your view, what were your biggest challenges?

As a guy who has many passions, the biggest challenge for me is to find focus every day. I have a pretty chaotic mind that loves exploring new inputs and outlets so I have to consciously decide to stick to certain paths.
 Lettering and skateboarding seem to have been the most consistent over the years.

What inspires you?

I am a curious guy, I try to cultivate this as much as possible to find inspiration. People who constantly try to find new and creative ways to do things are the ones who inspire me most. 
Anything from skateboarding or lettering or graphic design. Even things I’m not into myself, like creating music inspires me.
This way of thinking opens doors to experimentation and figuring out what works best.

Discover the work of Matthias


Published by

Timothy Helmer

Designer, curator of Let's Talk Design and founder of Creative Network.