We want to introduce you to Hans, the first person to join the Wild Digital team back in 2019. He’s always had a passion for designing but wanted to take it to the next level by combining his expertise with branding. This is what drives him in his work. Explore Hans’s story and check out why he loves working for a small agency (hint, it’s our close-knit team which he enjoys).
How did you land a role at Wild Digital?
In 2014, I landed my first job as a designer at Supersteil, another agency founded by William Duijzer. I stayed with the company for a few years, even while it was sold and became a part of Dept. However, after a while, I missed the smaller agency feel and grew tired of the energy that comes with a large agency.
Smaller agencies allow you to work as a team continuously, meaning you can create stronger bonds both personally and professionally with the people you work with. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and ways of working, making collaborating more pleasurable and leading to higher quality results. I’m also energised by knowing every project people are on and having my hand in everything.
William and I crossed paths again at a wedding in 2019. He’d just founded Wild Digital. This felt like the perfect opportunity and career move for me.
How did you start working as a Brand Strategist and Digital Designer?
At the beginning of my career, I focused a lot on interactive design for websites and the occasional app. When that work became more routine, I started looking around for new challenges. When you've designed a contact page for the fiftieth time, it becomes a bit stale.
An area I was always interested in, even before becoming a designer, is branding. Creating a brand from scratch, which you then translate into a website, app, or marketing material makes a project ten times more interesting. I get excited about creating something new and then seeing if it holds up during the implementation phase, like buying a pair of hiking boots and then going for a hike.
Also, having a solid visual identity in place drastically impacts the quality of your work, as you can create fitting brand assets to work with.
What do you like best about your work?
The creation part. Clients often know what they want but not what they need. Convincing and exciting them of the possibilities we see for them as an agency brings a lot of energy to my work. The aim is to create brands that stay relevant by creating dynamic and holistic experiences and stories that invite you to play with them.
Working together in a small team is also something I really cherish. Spending a big chunk of the week with people who share the same interests and with whom you have a strong bond makes the work even more pleasant. Together, we’re now working on building up the Wild Digital brand, and when our efforts pay off, it’s all the more rewarding, thanks to our close-knit team.
Throughout your career, which projects/clients stood out for you? Which ones inspired you and why?
I have had the privilege of working for some really nice clients ranging from a few of the most well-known museums in the Netherlands to startups who just took off. One project that stands out in my mind is the one I tackled for “100 Years of Mondriaan” and “De Stijl” for Kunstmuseum Den Haag. It was a team effort. We went all out, and no concessions were made, which led to the end result being internationally recognised.
However, looking back at some of those projects, although the end result is beautiful and the client name is great for your portfolio, I never built a solid relationship with the clients beyond the assigned work. In my current role, we prioritise building strong relationships with clients as it allows us to truly help them reach their goals and more. Too many clients still think a website is a solution to everything when really it’s just a tool.
Almost all the clients we work with now are based on a solid relationship resulting in us being their digital partners for all things strategy, branding and design related. For example, we’ve been working with Avant sanare for almost two years now. We’ve expanded their brand, redesigned their website and helped implement a chat function. QWA will approach me to ask for my opinion on aspects unrelated to their website. And I love being involved in this manner as all of this ties back to their brands.
Do you have a golden tip or eaven two or three that you believe could help aspiring brand strategists and designers' grow?
Nike says it best. Just do it. Make sure you keep creating, especially outside of client projects. When I started out, I looked for inspiration everywhere. I copied and mixed design elements to understand why they worked. And that’s still how I work. We always start by looking for inspiration for each project, which results in vast artboards of images that match a particular idea.
I have also had the privilege of being surrounded by very talented designers, which benefitted me hugely. I would recommend everyone aim to be in the same situation. If you are passionate about design, then make sure you don’t end up in a workplace where mediocre lead designers set the bar. Update your portfolio and aim for a better place, seriously.
If you weren't a Brand Strategist, what would you be doing?
I focus on what I can do, not what could be.
We're always open to new creative talent. If reading this has left you feeling inspired, then send us an email with your portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the Team is a series of interviews where the people at Wild Digital find out more about the people they work with — the strategists, designers and creative problem solvers. It's a good way for us to get to know each other. And for you to get to know us. Thanks for reading.