Vincent Kuyvenhoven


What is your passion?

I carry a strong love for everything that changes value in time. It seems all forms and expressions of life have a ‘blossom’ peak. For every philosophy, political leader, musician, war, fashion, building or invention a specific season is reserved in time. Change is a remarkable force that people somehow wish to control and direct, to preserve or to dismantle from societies constantly. The past century alone carries examples of extreme powers tha

t have risen and fallen often not to create peace but to cause disturbance. Even today in the Dutch parliament we vote for politicians likely to cause more disturbance than providing pragmatic solutions. Is there a way to temper this peculiar behavior of power? ‘In order to control the masses, you have to provide the people comfort.’ This statement by the founders of psychotherapy and public relations has been the bases for the consumer’s society we live in today. This business has conquered and exploited the entire planet over the past 70 years. But what do we mean by comfort? Todays rational are based on a 40 hr workweek, being in a perpetual state of social availability in order to keep the (debatable) demands in this second industrial era running. It is a handful of people in power that put a hold on available opportunities, causing tension in a lot of countries these days. All people want to be happy. Are there ways we could reform our standards resolving into a more altruistic society, could this be a better direction? Why is money not an expression of value? Collective slowing down for instance is an economical and foremost social goldmine we do not see and understand yet, it could make people thrive and liberate from unhealthy ways of living we better let go rather sooner than later. It will release new forms of energy like positivity and sharing. Happiness could reduce costs like medical healthcare. Complex problems for humanity today seem very large, but the impact from simple solutions is much bigger. ‘Health’ is not just a coincidence. ‘We have to hug bankers’ Joris Luyendijk says. I think this is a good first step to soften up the corporate world driven by competition, exclusion and ego, underneath this shade you’ll always find humans. Marketing strategy for instance is fundamentally targeted to make you feel shit, so the product promises to making you feel better? What a waste of potential! Are we not tired to treat ourselves like that? To be happy kills capitalism. The reality of happiness should be more implemented in the political world and the world of business. No one can be excluded. Because what happiness is, and how to be it a beautiful mystery we can research and explore more. I believe creativity is an opportunity to be free in remarkable ways. And as a creator, it is my passion to work to be happy. ‘Work is love in action’ someone told me once. 

What is important for you?

Being balanced and organized. These are not only the most pivotal qualities in order to work successfully, for me these qualities are the most challenging to accomplish, especially to keep up. After critical reflection on gained experiences and implementing improvements, finding balance and a more efficient workflow makes confidence grow, resolving into more joy to work. 

How do you Label yourself?

I don’t. 

Describe your work in one sentence without using the word ‘design’.

In general, my work is calm and playful.

How do you relate to the field of well-being?

I carry a small charge in my belly somewhere and it starts to resonate by sensing something of my interest. It is literally a physical reaction. It indicates a deeper sense of connection with things or ideas. It feels great and I can steer this rush up to other parts in my body. It was a discovery really, after walking along a cliffy coast somewhere in India. I decided in that moment I do not need to be somewhere special to feel this good, I can take it with me anywhere.

What is well-being for you?

Well-being for me is a state of ‘not needing anything else,’ having a sense of arrival in a particular moment. This does not mean to celebrate constantly or to be in a perpetual state of elation. It is a bit more profound and silent. Experiencing well-being comes close to being comfortable without using words. It is a quality. It is said there are five pillars to reach a state of well being: positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. I think ‘health’ should be used as a base for these pillars.

How does it reflect in your work?

The five pillars I just mentioned can be used as a small framework communicating with clients for instance.
1) Emotion: Express positivity and communicate more in solutions than focusing on the problems that occur during the process.
2) Engage the client pro-actively with the right intentions, never communicate being frustrated.
3) Be aware of the relationship you share with the client, always respect the line of communication when working with more people in a company, give space and be flexible but be very clear with each others expectations.
4) The reason to work is for the sake of work and not friendship. Quality is the key but giving to much leeway in reaching this creates unnecessary confusion often having clients managing your work and agenda as a result. Be firm here. Be aware when clients tell you how to do your job as a designer, you are allowed to say no.
5) Accomplishment: work by taking steps foreword only in a limited amount of time (always in relation to budget, avoid working for a set price, the less client pay, the more they ask). Process is only being made by clear decision making and excluding other directions; when clients find this scary, refer to the clients brief on the project and previous steps taken having lead to this point of the process. Advise as a designer. Keep up momentum. 

Well-being is Human Centred. How to reach people and how to connect? 

If executed work or a work process is not in the benefit for both the executer and eventually the receiver, it seems that this work has been a complete waste (of opportunity). Well-being as a definition could function as a ‘quality assurance assess tool’ throughout production processes from the products source to eventually the trashcan, but this is not where it stops. Production processes are not isolated linear trends, but they happen circular in a holistic atmosphere and environment.

We are related with one and another on a global scale by products we consume, but the system is designed to turn a blind eye for the hard reality humanity faces in the third world, people in the western society depend on. This indicates an extreme detachment. Legislation for full transparency of production methods could be a step in order to unfold global challenges that have to be taken to move forward as a whole. This can lead to a reformation of the industry, an emphatical industry. Every product represents a world vision. As a consumer, when buying a product you are giving automatically a positive vote for the existence and further development of this product. In a sense consuming itself does not have to be bad behavior, but it is a tool that is held and used in the wrong manipulative manner.

What do you do for the world & what is your input?

I have been active traveling in 16 countries the past 2,5 years. I have spent most time in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea working as a Technical Logistician in a hospital for Doctors Without Borders. This was a good experience to grow some ‘callus on the soul’ so to speak. It has always been a dream to be involved in a tribal society. I was the direct responsible for 22 local man serving a wide range of departments such as security, water management, construction, energy and waste, machinery, vehicle fleet and general maintenance. It was hard work. I have experienced there is not much romantic to say about tribal societies. Life in the region I was working was though and its people are exposed to tribal, domestic and sexual violence. Over 40.000 years, 1500 autonomous developed tribes, talking 900 different languages, having lived disconnected from one and another and are now doomed to face on the one hand: the cultures vast deviations, and in the other: dealing with globalization. Colonialism never dies. I went questioning if it was appropriate as a westerner to be there and collaborate, I left asking the same question. 

How would your work influence the future?

I don’t know. I am more focused on being able to make an impact now rather than later. I hope my career can grow in a way I can share knowledge and joy with more people in a studio or as a teacher. This question reminds me of a beautiful quote I have always remembered by Howard Truman: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs, is people who have come alive.” 

How do you explain to your family what you’re doing?

It is more often I am asking this question to them. Their providing clarity helps me seeing my process with more distance and overview. I often converse with my brother how to deal with professional issues. We do this to inspire each other individual methods and use of language. Asking advice has strengthened our relationship a lot lately.

To whom do you feel connected and target your work?

I have just returned from Vietnam, I have spent three months working with a good friend on some branding projects from sketch. This was pretty challenging for us because there where no points of reference yet. In these cases you really have to sell your concepts to clients, take a lead into the process and push for decision making before ending up working in circles. 

How do others benefit most from what you do?

I have been working a lot for my direct relations as well. Working for friends gives a bit more artistic freedom but it is often paid less. The work done for commercial clients is often more according to rules and strict planning, both the output of work and level of communication included. I like a healthy balance between the two kinds of clients to work for. I gave up doing stuff for free and I only want to do work which is substantial for my portfolio. 

What is your way of working regarding the research you do & the strategy you have to reach your audience?

Reaching an audience requires a bit more attention in my career, but I need to ground myself first again in the Netherlands after traveling so much. I feel I would love to do more ‘leisure’ projects that could blend into an exhibition combined with more designers. “If you don’t show yourself, you don’t exist” a teacher once told me. It requires a good project, a stable place and sufficient time to create work that can represent me as a designer still. It will come; there is plenty of time. 

How do you structure your life?

More and more I am selecting my activities and sharing relationships because there is only so much to give. I am most energized by going to bed around 23 max, and getting up early around 7. I love to go out and run in the morning after which I meditate a bit. Presumably I make breakfast, a list of things to do, check my emails, fire away tasks and the work begins. At night I play guitar for an hour. I do have to remind myself more to disconnect from the computer.

When talking about design what do you want to be associated with.

I don’t necessarily have to be associated with anything or anyone really. People often just call me Vinnie, which suits well enough. Authenticity is a quality of non-association.

What kind of media are you working with? (skills & programs you use)

Hand sketching, paper, wood, camera, Adobe CC, Vectorworks.

What type of assignment do you feel comfortable with?

One with a clear brief, tight planning, clear set of expectations from both parties, realistic budget, transparency in skills (and lack of), sufficient leeway for artistic thinking in combination with a pragmatic execution plan and probably most important: efficient communication.


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