Pieter De Kegel

5 Questions with graphic & UI/UX designer Pieter De Kegel

I was born in 1978 in Aalst, a town between Ghent and Brussels. Grew up in a small village with not a lot to do. I started going to the local roller rink when I was about 9 years old and started skateboarding when I was 10. From then on until I was about 21 skateboarding was pretty much the only thing that mattered to me 24/7. By the time I graduated high school I wanted to get out of Aalst as quickly as possible. So I went to study at the Sint-Lucas school of art in Ghent (now LUCA) and started studying advertising but hated it so I switched to graphic design, did that for 4 years and I loved it.

When did you first get involved with design?

Skateboarding got me interested in the graphics and layout of skate magazines. I would buy Thrasher and Transworld Skateboarding every month, read them religiously and stare at them for days until the next issue came out. As a teenager, I would draw the logos of skate brands like Bones, Powell Peralta, Santa Cruz, SMA or New Deal over and over. When I was 16 (1994) I got my first computer and started experimenting with Photoshop and Corel Draw. I quickly realised I liked using computers in a creative way. In 1998 a few friends and I started a hip-hop collective called Team Alosta. I would do the graphic design for it.

Is there any work you’re particularly proud of?

I’m proud of the work I do for the Red Bull Elektropedia Awards. I get a lot of creative freedom and get to work with very talented people. Another project I’m proud of is the re-brand of the children’s channel Ketnet I got to do with Eugene And Louise. A fun project for a big client, what more can you ask for. I’m also very proud of the independent magazine I publish called POSTRmagazine and finally the websites and apps I’m currently working on for VRT NWS and Sporza because those will be seen and used by thousands of people on a daily basis.

In your view, what were your biggest challenges?

The biggest challenge for me was not losing hope when I was looking for a job after I graduated. Every employer was looking for someone young –read cheap– with 5 years of experience. After searching for almost a year, I took a job at a printing company where I learned a lot. I the end I really hated the job.
Becoming freelance and self-employed in 2005 wasn’t that big of a challenge. I already had a big network of people through the work we did with the collective. After 6 months I got a freelance job at a publisher of youth culture magazines working together with a friend from college so that was nice.

What inspires you?

Skateboard culture still inspires me enormously. I also get a lot of inspiration from the beatnik and counterculture movement, music, movies, art, travelling and being out in nature.

Discover the work of Pieter

Published by

Timothy Helmer

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